I confess I’m a little emotionally exhausted after the whole impeachment trial, pseudo-acquittal, and McConnell speech (he was guilty as hell, but no I won’t vote “guilty”), piled on top of the endless Covid drama (there are millions of vaccines being distributed every week, yet it seems to require heroic effort to somehow get an appointment and a shot or even to decipher the rules your state or local health authorities are putting out). I find it difficult to find a topic or issue to write on that seems relevant or interesting at the moment. It’s sort of like clicking through the Netflix menu when there are hundreds of shows and nothing looks interesting. So in this moment of failing political leadership, and with a wave of the hands at the next General Conference which is only seven weeks away (April 3-4), let’s talk about LDS leadership. Is LDS leadership doing any better than our political leadership? I’m inclined to say yes, but that’s a pretty low bar to clear at the moment.
Let’s look at an article by Jana Riess over at Religion News Service, “Leadership by old men: In Mormonism, gerontocracy is a blessing and a curse.” You might think Joe Bien looks a little old in some of his appearances. He is. He is 78 years old. Now he might very well be the right man for the job of the US Presidency at the moment, a very demanding job, maybe the toughest job in the world. But still, taking on the toughest job in the world at age 78 is a lot to ask. Normally people retire well before age 78, much less take on daunting new tasks and responsibilities. But consider the LDS comparison: Joe Biden is nine years younger than the *youngest* member of the LDS First Presidency. Remember that the next time you see Joe Biden on the screen and think he’s old.
Now the truth is that the whole LDS system sort of runs itself on a week-to-week and even a month-to-month basis, so a leadership vacuum at the top of the LDS hierarchy is not as problematic as you might think. And President Nelson has been remarkably energetic and activist by LDS standards. He has changed a few things, even if the changes are relatively minor in the overall scheme of things. But age is still an issue. Here’s a paragraph from Jana’s article:
Latter-day Saints often proudly say the church is led by a prophet and apostles so these anointed leaders can speak to the needs of our particular time, but in reality the church is often dragged kicking and screaming into the present. Rather than taking the lead and speaking prophetically to counter injustice, it all too often openly resists the changes that lead to justice. In large part that is because resistance to change is baked into the system.
I doubt that “Don’t Rock the Boat” is inscribed in stone above the entrance doors of the COB, but it could be. That’s okay when things are rolling along smoothly, but it becomes a problem when change is needed. I won’t launch into any long discussion, but just consider the decades-long struggle within the LDS leadership to, for example, end the practice of polygamy or end the exclusion of those of African descent from participation in LDS priesthood and temple activities. It shouldn’t have been that hard. It’s not like there was resistance from society or government to make those changes. All the resistance was internal. It was self-generated. Sometimes the LDS leadership system creates its own problems, then struggles to solve them.
So how old is too old? What set of circumstances would lead the LDS leadership to acknowledge there is a problem that needs to be addressed and then modify the current leadership structure that guarantees leadership by an aging gerontocracy? It’s hard for me to see any set of circumstances will lead to change. Consider the recent impeachment trials (Trump 2, Trump 1, Clinton). It’s fairly clear that, at this point, presidential impeachment as an accountability tool is a dead letter. It looks nice on paper but cannot actually be properly employed by Congress. If the events of January 6th and Trump’s role in those events cannot support a conviction in an impeachment trial, then no set of circumstances will support a conviction. Impeachment is a dead letter at this point. Likewise, there have been periods, stretching to several years, where an LDS president was fully incapacitated and could discharge none of the duties of the office. But no change to the LDS leadership structure resulted. If that scenario does not motivate a change in structure, then there really is no set of circumstances that will lead to change in the LDS leadership structure. It’s not even worth discussing. Which leads to the next topic.
Second article by Jana Riess, “Mormon leaders and the erosion of traditional power.” The central point of this second article is that now not just progressive members but even conservative Latter-day Saints have started to selectively ignore pronouncements and guidance by LDS leaders. This is, she thinks, part of the generational shift away from traditional deference to leadership elites. But the process doesn’t happen in a vacuum. If particular leaders or leadership cadres get in the habit of dispensing unreasonable, unfactual, or irrelevant guidance or counsel, just repeating what was said a year ago or ten years ago or thirty years ago, that accelerates the process. Jana emphasizes how unflinchingly traditional and hierarchical the LDS system really is:
In terms of power structures, the LDS Church is more like the royal family than it is like a contemporary evangelical megachurch. There is a clear hierarchy, with a next-in-line flow chart and carefully delineated protocols for leaders’ behavior and dress. At General Conference, this protocol is on vivid display. Every male leader wears the requisite uniform of dark coat, white shirt and restrained necktie and sits in an assigned seat according to his place in the line of succession. A royal coronation could not be more conventionally ordered.
Jana then likens the LDS leadership approach to the Catholic model, and warns that the LDS group may become “a leadership that continues to make pronouncements in the manner of a traditional power structure and a membership that increasingly disregards them.” And that’s the question that we maybe should talk about in the comments: Is the LDS membership increasingly disregarding pronouncements of LDS leaders? It’s a little hard to tell with so many wards and stakes not physically meeting at the moment. But this Covid disruption is only likely to increase the distance between leadership and the membership. And consider this: Given the Trumpification of much of the LDS membership, the very reasonableness of LDS pronouncements might give rise to more disconnection. So becoming more relevant and more reasonable and more informed in their public statements might actually make the problem worse for LDS leadership. Recall how the bland LDS statement recognizing Joe Biden’s election triumph and wishing him success in office, even coming weeks after the election results were confirmed, angered many conservative LDS. This is a tough situation for LDS leadership.
I have no doubt that the LDS leadership is aware of these developments. Are they going to address the issue openly in the upcoming General Conference? Or will it be the usual offering of basic doctrinal and institutional talking points? Celebrating the timeliness of the home-focused Come Follow Me program (that many members are more or less ignoring). Talking about the wonderful ministering program (that many members are more or less ignoring). Talks on repentance and the sacrament and going on a mission. You’ve heard it all before. It just feels to me like at this upcoming General Conference the leadership really needs to shake things up a bit to get the attention of the membership. While people are still listening.
So here are some things from my rambling post that you might talk about in the comments.
- Are you emotionally burned out at all? Do you, too, find yourself thinking we’re all on a big train to nowhere at the moment? Do you think you need a vacation, then remember you don’t want to get on a plane or be in a hotel room? You can’t go to Hawaii. You can’t even get into Canada.
- How old is too old for LDS leadership? What conceivable set of circumstances might motivate LDS leaders to rethink the “serve until we die” paradigm?
- Are more and more LDS members just tuning out LDS leadership? Is this just overreacting to the difficulties of the moment, or is this really a thing?
You ask, “are more and more LDS members just tuning out LDS leadership?” I think the answer to that is a strong YES and I can think of two or three obvious reasons:
1. progressive members are accessing more alternative information options than ever before. If you are willing to look, you’ll find more podcasts and web sites than ever before. And these sources tend to appeal to the more politically liberal element among Church membership.
2. TBMs tend to trend more Trump and that mentality often competes with the Brethren. For example, you have President Nelson and others showing us images of their vaccinations and appealing to the membership to wear masks, two ideas opposed by a certain sub-group of Trumpsters.
3. So the Church is getting hit by both sides per #1 and #2 above. The Brethren are competing like never before for our attention. And thanks to the Internet and social media, it’s hard to compete and stay relevant.
“If the events of January 6th and Trump’s role in those events cannot support a conviction in an impeachment trial, then no set of circumstances will support a conviction.” This seems to ignore the jurisdictional question some of the senators hung their hats on — rightly or wrongly. The most recent impeachment trial was significantly different from earlier trials because it was not with respect to a president in office. I was also disappointed (maybe even disgusted) with the result, but it is quite possible for there to be honest and not mere smoke-screen differences of opinion as to jurisdiction, even if the majority opinion is that there was jurisdiction.
Are more and more LDS members just tuning out LDS leadership? Perhaps, but there have always in my memory back through the 60s been a majority who have selectively tuned them out — selectively sometimes by person, sometimes by topic, sometimes by specific pronouncement or interpretation. What seems clearly different to me since the internet made it easier to find others who disagree with leaders, since blogging, etc., is the extent of publicizing the extent to which such members tune them out. It’s difficult to be sure there are “more and more” such members or if they are simply more vocal.
How old is too old? I don’t know the answer to that but it’s probably 80 ish. I think the Q15 could receive revelation that emeritus status automatically starts at age X but that those currently in Q15 are grandfathered in. They could frame it that they’re doing it so that these good men can spend the twilight of their lives with loved ones, after spending decades in church service. The trigger may change only when it becomes so painfully apparent that meaningful change is not happening quickly enough.
Are members disregarding leaders? It certainly seems like it to me. It seems that both the right and the left leaning members are finding reasons to more often say that a particular statement doesn’t apply. My parents are both temple workers and pride themselves on their unflinching obedience, but they ignore mask instructions and the suggestion from the Q15 to social distance during the holidays. I was very surprised.
Part of me is happy that we collectively feel more free to use our agency, but part of me is disappointed that we’re not listening to prophets. After all prophets aren’t supposed to be popular, but they are unpopular for the wrong reasons IMO. The general catholic model of revering but often ignoring the pope seems to be where we’re headed and it doesn’t seem to function well.
How old is too old for LDS leadership?
I think God looks at this differently than we do. We look at managers through the lens of our American business environment, which indicates a time to retire. But for most of our world history, people held tenure (think of fathers, chiefs, and kings) until they died (or were overthrown). So I am okay with life tenure for the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve — there are several of them and they can cover for each other.
ji: I agree with you that there is a difference between the corporate model we look at and the king model the Lord has used historically. The problem is, we seem to want to have it both ways in the Church: we follow the “king” model in that office holders are in power until death, but we otherwise follow a very corporate model of governance. The Church is literally a major corporation and behaves that way except for the leadership at the very top. Strange combination in my opinion.
Great thoughts. I definitely see a pattern of decreasing relevance. Just look at members’ dismissal of the leaders during the pandemic and the recent election. The leaders tell members to wear masks, limit church services, and enforce mask and social distancing guidelines. And yet, anti-mask sentiment and coronavirus denial persist strongly among the rank-and-file membership. Leaders congratulate Biden for his victory upon the Electoral College ceremonially certifying his clear win. And yet, many of the rank-and-file members deny that Biden won. A few years back the leaders came out in favor of relaxed laws against undocumented immigrants and the rank-and-file, who otherwise treat the leaders as practically infallible, ignored and dismissed their actions and even sometimes criticized them for it. The further embrace of Trump and Trumpism (a man and philosophy that represents lying, cheating, racism, and sexual immorality all of which the church leaders strongly and regularly denounce) by the rank-and-file membership is another sign of the increasing irrelevance of the leaders.
How old is too old? It’s different for every person, but there comes a season in every person’s life where they become more of a burden than an asset to an organization. I’ll grant that most people will never personally know the rare challenge of leading a global church worth hundreds of billions of dollars, so there is no way to predict exactly when a leader will outlive his usefulness in that context. This is why I recommend granting a voluntary emeritus status to apostles, where the apostle can choose to honorably retire when he feels the time is right (not unlike Pope Benedict, or more accurately, SCOTUS justices) rather than set a specific age limit. I wonder if there are some worn-out senior apostles right now who would love the opportunity to bow out gracefully, but are still serving for the rest of their lives because they feel obligated to, or because there is simply no modern precedent allowing for retirement or honorable resignation.
It seems like when we have enfeebled or incapacitated senior leaders, we build up a charade of functionality around them and keep their full condition a secret from the membership, while the other apostles have to carry their weight (which in turn slows down the work of the Church). Why not just let them retire while they still have dignity left, fill their vacancy in the quorum right away, and let the Church move forward?
Are you emotionally burned out at all? Yes, even though right now I’m less “active” in Church than I ever have been at any point in my life. The lack of in-person church meetings has been liberating in some ways, but at the same time I recognize how little the Church has done to help us make sense of and navigate the challenging circumstances of the last year. They have done nothing to stem the tide of Trumpism among the membership (and in some cases, tacitly encouraged it) and have added nothing substantial to our national conversations about race and racism (and in many cases, ignored or dismissed the issue). Even the Church’s response to the global pandemic has been largely reactionary and often times misguided. For a Church that bears the name of Jesus Christ, I don’t really see Him in it right now, and that gives me a feeling of frustration that sometimes overshadows the feeling of freedom that comes from having Sundays to myself.
While I am okay with life tenure for senior church leaders as noted above, I also regret the truth in Jack’s statement: “It seems like when we have enfeebled or incapacitated senior leaders, we build up a charade of functionality around them and keep their full condition a secret from the membership…”
Gerontocracy is only part of the problem. The other part is how those elderly men came into power to begin with – which was by being inside-the-box, obedient company-men. I’m all for younger ages but, I mean, Bednar is one of the younger ones and he’s hardly progressive. I imagine there are plenty of wise elders out there we should be paying attention to but they are — like prophets of old — generally speaking from the margins, not running a 100B institution.
As far as not following the prophet – I think overall there is a declining respect for authority in western culture. Oddly enough, even though Trump was an authoritarian, his supporters were also expressing their disrespect of authority in electing him – get rid of the old guard politicians, oh and also we’re not going to trust experts like the CDC and doctors. Liberals just distrust different kinds of authority. So Church leaders really aren’t going to be able to rest on their authority and never do or say anything interesting. If they want people to think they’re prophets, they’ll need to start acting like them and start having ideas worth following.
Of course, anything big they do will meet with resistance from one side or another – so perhaps it’s time to just do what is right, let the consequence follow, cause they can’t please everyone anyway.
I wonder if the “how old is too old” question might be answered once we have a Q15 member who inherits the top spot and is already incapacitated. Certainly we’ve had recent instances of men *becoming* incapacitated after inheriting the office, but if one were already incapacitated when he inherited, it might make the issue more immediate in a new way.
I really like Jack Hughes’s idea of allowing Q15 members to voluntarily retire. I suspect that if the norm were established, several of them might retire in short order. I am a little concerned that such a policy would lead to more reasonable men retiring while the hardliners hold out, but I’d be okay with that just because it would be a step toward involuntary retirement at some age, which I think would be so much a better policy than we have now.
On the Q15 and Trump, I’ve also been surprised at how many conservative members who spent decades telling those of us on the fringes to “follow the prophet” when Ordain Women or pants to church or Prop 8 happened are now happy to acknowledge the fallibility of the Q15 when they (horrors!) acknowledge Biden’s win or advocate masks or vaccines. I wonder if the GAs would ever consider the Trumpists a lost cause and just double down on such ideas and let the members leave where they may, but my guess is that they’ll try to tiptoe around them as much as possible for as long as possible since they represent such a committed group of Church members. Or at least they have in the past.
Maybe “How old is too old” is not a really useful way to look at it. For one thing, it varies a lot from individual to individual. Life throws curve balls. Pat Summit (for some time, the winningest coach in college basketball) died of early onset Alzheimer’s disease at age 64. Go Lady Vols!
Just winging it here, but maybe something more like keeping leadership fresh. Give more people an opportunity to contribute. Could leadership for life make things a bit stale? Does it create an echo chamber? Is there peer pressure to conform?
The problem with voluntary retirement is that members of the Q15 would have to give away their chance to become the most powerful leader – the prophet. If you have been waiting in the wings for years to become prophet it would be hard to throw that away. I feel that these are honorable men, but nevertheless the power structure of senior leadership is so strong that it is very difficult to walk away. Each member of the Q15 knows the exact order of who become prophet – and each one has the potential to rise to the top.
“We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” (D&C 121:9). Could this unrighteous dominion include waiting around for your turn to be the senior leader?
There is a precedent on the age. Then9 nephites said
We desire that after we have lived unto the age of man, that our ministry, wherein thou hast called us, may have an end, that we may speedily come unto thee in thy kingdom.
3 And he said unto them: Blessed are ye because ye desired this thing of me; therefore, after that ye are seventy and two years old ye shall come unto me in my kingdom; and with me ye shall find rest.
The retirement age for Apostles, as specified by Christ is 72.
But as Elisa says there is also a problem with who they are, and how they are called. The nephites were called by Christ, ours by? Who knows them to be obedient?
I would like to see women called at same time as 72 is introduced. But if the women are also chosen on obedience?
One of the comments on Jana’s article made a great point. It said that once Eisenhower left office in 1961, every US president from that point forward was born in the 20th century. Then pointed out that the LDS church couldn’t make that same claim until 1994.
Given the salaries (or whatever they want to call their paychecks) currently provided to apostles, long term financial stability for themselves and their families may be a consideration in the decision to retire. Maybe a pension plan would help the decision making process.
EJ, I wouldn’t be surprised if there already is a pension plan. Does anyone know if emeritus 70s continue to receive their “stipends” after retirement?
For a shockingly large percentage of LDS membership, Donald Trump is now de-facto prophet. Latter-day Saints and Evangelicals in particular are highly susceptible to toxic charisma, either because they were genetically susceptible in the first place (descended of long lines of devout forebears) or long indoctrination into lizard-brain varieties of authoritarianism have damaged crucial functions. These types of mass delusions are not uncommon in human history. This one in particular is glaringly obvious.
Wondering: I suspect but don’t know that they do get a pension. Back in the early 2000s there was a leak that included someone’s widow submitting expenses that the Church paid. So I assume surviving spouses are being paid based on that leak.
The male FP3 members are three generations removed from my oldest grandchildren and almost 4 from my youngest. That doesn’t work for me. There needs to be a way for females and younger males to be involved in the decision-making process. Otherwise, the Church leadership will continue to make PR and legal miscues.
An excellent example is the $100B. Squirreling away that kind of money is inexcusable. Particularly when there is such need in the world. Yet they brag about giving meager sums away. Their involvement in Utah politics has also been a disaster. The leadership tragically deals with nickel-and-dime issues, and ignores the major ones. I hope the ark doesn’t hit an iceberg.
I heard a podcast several years ago (long enough that I can’t give specifics) in which the guest talked about a study he had done regarding mental and physical capacity of the Church President. Back in the day, when a prophet missed general conference due to health, they almost always died before the next conference. Now, thanks to modern medicine, some are going years in poor physical and mental health.
Greg Prince wrote in his biography of David O. McKay, that there were serious discussions by senior apostles about breaking tradition for Jos Fielding Smith because of his mental decline prior to becoming president, but they decided to not upset the apple cart.
I was thrifting with my daughter today – OK, she was thrifting and I was paying. We saw a funky American Flag belt. She said, I’m afraid when I see an American flag. I said me too. I see it now as a sign of extremism – people claiming to be the true patriots.
She’s my youngest (and is Black). I told her how we used to always have a flag stand attached to the porch and flew flags at every holiday. Now I don’t want to be painted as an ultra right guy. That’s really sad to me.
I’ve wondered why the Lord has kept prophets in place who were not able to perform their duties due to the effects of old age. He must have a reason though. Plenty of prophets have been up to the task into their 80’s and 90’s, including of course Pres Nelson. Heck the earliest prophets served into their 900’s! 😉
What if instead of looking at age limits we looked toward a democratic method of governance? That would naturally result in younger and more diverse leaders. Perhaps a model more similar to what our Community of Christ neighbors are using? They have thoughtfully and ethically been finding ways to deal with many of the issues that have vexed both of our groups.
In 1976 when RLDS Prophet-President W. Wallace Smith announced he’d be retiring in two years after a preparation period for his son, Dr. Wallace B. Smith, to succeed him, it was a somewhat controversial move. True, he was continuing the Smith family lineage, which no doubt assuaged some folks. But he was, at the same time, breaking with the tradition of serving until death as his two half-brothers (Israel A. Smith and Frederick M. Smith), father (Joseph Smith III), and grandfather (Joseph Smith , Jr.) had done. After serving about two decades, Wallace B. Smith named a non-relative, W. Grant McMurray (one of his counselors, former Church Secretary, and assistant to the Church Historian) to succeed him.
Grant McMurray served just a few years before abruptly resigning for health and personal reasons (his Parkinson’s disease, btw, has progressed aquite a bit since then). But he did not name a successor. As a result the Council of 12 Apostles led the church in a churchwide spiritual discernment process, which eventually led to the naming of then C-12 president, Stephen Veazey, as prophet president.
During all those decades there was a growing push for more democratic governance of the church. One result of that were national conferences in the US, Canada, British Isles, and Australia to deal with LGBTQ issues. They engaged in spiritual discernment processes, focused listening, and a voting procedure seeking consensus rather than majority rule. That is why individuals with LGBTQ orientation in those jurisdictions can now serve in the priesthood and participate in the sacrament of marriage.
It all started, of course, with one church president who prophetically dared to break precedent. Now, the hierarchy and culture of the LDS church is quite different from today’s Community of Christ. LDS general conferences are held to sustain the leadership and provide counsel to priesthood and members. CofC world conferences (and the rarer national conferences)occur infrequently (every 3 years for world conferences–the next one in 2022, covid pandemic willing) to consider and pass legislation, experience diverse and uplifting worship experiences, and sometimes receive inspired documents from the prophet president for inclusion in the Doctrine and Covenants. The recent trend in regard to the latter is for a document to be presented at one conference and considered at the next so the entired faith community can engage with the message.
Anyway, comparing the two churches in regard to this topic may result in a classic apples-and-oranges comparison. A key question, though, appears to be: Is there a willingness to break with tradition and long-accepted practice?
Rich Brown: “Is there a willingness to break with tradition and long-accepted practice?” I’m sure your question was rhetorical, but in short, no. Within the CoJCoLDS, tradition and succession ARE the authority they are protecting. Without that unbroken “stability,” their own authority is called into question. There is always going to be a tension in any LDS offshoot (including CoJCoLDS) between prophetic authority and personal revelation / discernment. The changes in governance that you’ve described connote a respect for personal discernment and small p prophecy being a gift within the Church membership, broadly shared by all. While this is certainly part of doctrine for all LDS offshoots, Mormonism has been distancing itself from it for the past few decades. We talk about everyone having discernment, personal revelation, and the ability to (small p) prophesy, but the real weight has all been on the side of elevating the Q15 to “prophets, seers, and revelators” and teaching Primary children to “follow the prophet,” rather than to “obtain personal revelation.” I can still remember when I learned as a teen that counsel from the Q15 was general for all, but personal revelation would trump that for you as an individual given your own circumstances. Somewhere in the 90s, that definintely changed to “if your personal revelation contradicts what the Q15 have said, you’re wrong. Ask again.”
@Angela, DHO made a one-time [?], feeble, likely-limited-by-context effort to change that back: “I only teach the general rules. Whether an exception applies to you is your responsibility. You must work that out individually between you and the Lord.”
But, it would take a great deal more from multiple GAs and changes in curriculum and Primary song(s), etc. to effectively change it back for the Church culture.
@Wondering DHO also said this in 2017, so I give him zero points for the quote you mentioned:
“If we get an impression contrary to the scriptures, to the commandments of God, to the teachings of His leaders, then we know it can’t be coming from the Holy Ghost. The gospel is consistent throughout.”
To illustrate his point, Mr. Oaks told a story about some church members whose LDS parents claimed to have received a revelation which stated that they no longer were required to tithe or attend church. When asked to comment, Mr. Oaks said, “Well, I don’t question your parents’ revelation, but they got it from the wrong source.”
Angela: Yes the question was largely rhetorical. I’ve learned enough about the CoJCoLDS (btw, what an annoying monstrosity those intials are–much worse than RLDS) to know it’s pretty well all about “the way we’ve done it before” (even if “always” isn’t a part of that statement).. I wonder if our pandemic year has unleashed the idea among church members that maybe it’s not so bad to put our butts somewhere other than in a pew every Sunday. Once folks have had a taste of doing something else on Sunday, who knows where that might lead? Leadership probably is worried about how people answer that.
Elisa, Yes. If I were in the points business, I don’t think I’d give DHO any points for it either. But the quote is nevertheless sometimes useful in local member discussions. (Not that it couldn’t be countered with the ones you pointed out, of course!) I’ve sometimes wondered if (a) he changed his mind, (b) got slapped down and told to change his mind, (c) spoke as carelessly as all including GAs sometimes (often?) do.
In the now distant past there were hints of a “respect for personal discernment and small p prophecy being a gift within the Church membership, broadly shared by all.” President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., of the First Presidency once addressed a summer session of Seminary and Institute Teachers at Brigham Young University on the subject, “When are the Writings or Sermons of Church Leaders Entitled to the Claim of Scripture?” His remarks, delivered July 7, 1954, were published in the Church News, July 31,1954, including:
“I do not know if this ever happened, but I say it illustrates a principle—that even the President of the Church, himself, may not always be “moved upon by the Holy Ghost,” when he addresses the people. This has happened about matters of doctrine (usually of a highly speculative character) where subsequent Presidents of the Church and the peoples themselves have felt that in declaring the doctrine, the announcer was not “moved upon by the Holy Ghost.” How shall the Church know when these adventurous expeditions of the brethren into these highly speculative principles and doctrines meet the requirements of the statutes that the announcers thereof have been “moved upon by the Holy Ghost”? The Church will know by the testimony of the Holy Ghost in the body of the members, whether the brethren in voicing their views are “moved upon by the Holy Ghost”; and in due time that knowledge will be made manifest.”
I expect the first quoted clause is not entirely straight-forward and that Pres. Clark knew perfectly well even in 1954 that the body of the members had essentially rejected BY’s Adam-God theory. I would be surprised if the principle he alludes to – “the testimony of the Holy Ghost in the body of the members” — didn’t have something to do with the reversal of the POX and what some see as a repudiation of the January 2016 claim of revelation with respect to the POX. But to get back to anything like the acknowledgement Pres. Clark made, let alone expand and clarify or implement it, would take a massive effort I don’t even know how to imagine.
The women are changed out every 5 years. Why not the men?
Joseph Smith didn’t found a gerontocracy. The church became one after his death only because Brigham Young lived so darn long.
“They’re Not Getting Any Younger”
Well there’s a surprise. Just checking in to see of W&T is still here.