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Group Title: Rise and development of lay leadership in the Latter-day saint movement
Title: The rise and development of lay leadership in the Latter-day saint movement
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Title: The rise and development of lay leadership in the Latter-day saint movement
Alternate Title: Lay leadership in the Latter-day saint movement
Physical Description: 1 p. l., 17 p. : ; 24 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Lloyd, Wesley Parkinson, 1904-
Publisher: s.n.
Place of Publication: Chicago
Publication Date: 1939
Subject: Mormons   ( lcsh )
Mormon Church   ( lcsh )
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Thesis: Thesis (PH.D.)--University of Chicago, 1937.
Statement of Responsibility: by Wesley P. Lloyd.
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notis - ADB0645
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Church leadership in America is no longer a one-man Job.
The many-sided program which churches are conducting is in marked
contrast to the relatively simple religious life of colonial times.
This diversified program naturally places new emphasis upon indi-
vidual initiative as well as upon group activity, and church of-
ficials in all denominations are looking increasingly for laymen
with capacity for religious leadership.
In its program of leadership the Latter-day Saint movement
has depended almost entirely upon its laymen. The first century
of its history has passed with no attempt at the development of a
professional ministry. This movement presents a fascinating back-
ground and a highly developed organization of laymen. It offers
material for a significant study at the present time because of
its demonstrated ability in bringing large numbers of people to
positions of leadership and, at the same time, maintaining a unity
and solidarity conducive to a centralized program.
The problem with which we are dealing grows out of a need
for a better understanding of the real status of the laymen in
the Latter-day Saint church. In attempting to analyse the problem
of lay leadership in the Latter-day Saint society the writer has
set himself the task of presenting an historical description of
the rise and development of the phenomenon. Such a study lays a
foundation for future investigation in the field of Mormon lay
leadership and raises manifold issues and marginal problems for
future study.
The term lay leadership, as used in this study, refers to
any responsibility taken by a lay member in the interests of main-
taining or promoting his religious order. Lay leaders, then, we
shall regard as any individuals who, either with or without formal
appointment, contribute time, money, talent or initiative for the
development of the cause and who do not regard their church work
as a formal vocation. This definition makes lay leadership closely




related to, although not identical with, religious individualism.
Mormonism seems to have combined a highly authoritative pattern
of church government with a concept of the religious freedom of
the common man, and devised from this fusion a workable pattern
of layman's responsibility. This development forms the central
interest of our study.
There are few writers of Mormon history who have not over-
simplified the central issues with which they have dealt. In the
presence of the modern scientific approach to the history of re-
ligious movements no single-track explanations can be taken with
any degree of seriousness. The social, psychological, biological
and religious sciences have opened fields of information which
give new meaning to movements which grow out of any religious ex-
perience; and new norms are arising for the recognition of so-
called ultimates.
In treating our subject we are concerned not so much with
the chronological sequence of events as with the development of
ideas. Ideas and attitudes are not formed in a social vacuum but
in the welter of life, and their growth usually comes in succes-
sive stages. Antecedent and consequent cannot be overlooked in
the systematic development of a philosophy or an ideal. Although
due attention has been given to the social and historical setting
of Mormon lay leadership we make no pretense toward the view that
all of the factors in our problem have been discovered. After
the student has exhausted the common avenues of research and con-
sidered the known rules of social interaction he must allow for
the working of the principle of spontaneity within each cause
which keeps it from becoming pure mechanism with an easily pre-
dictable function.
Mormonism arose under unique conditions. It was subjected
to influences peculiar to nineteenth-century America and is one
of the few religious movements which was not traneplated from
foreign soil. Its system of lay leadership reflects, in part,
the spirit of American frontier individualism.
The present state of the development of Latter-day Saint
lay leadership represents the growth of little more than a century.
If future development persists in the direction of religious
democracy this movement may write a new chapter in the history
of religions.
In describing the rise and development of lay leadership


in the Latter-day Saint movement it is necessary to recognize the
broad social, economic and religious background out of which the
movement arose. Lay leadership is now so much a part of Mormoniesm
that any significant issue relating to the Mormon movement is, in
turn, significant to its leadership program.
It took the Protestant Reformation in Europe, the various
dissenting elements of population both on the continent and in
England, the growth of American individualism which culminated in
the revolutionary war and the creation of a democratic political
state, the dominating influence of the American frontier with its
characteristic contributions to the new nation, the period of re-
ligious revivalism, the further struggle for democracy in the
state of New York, and the restless state of the reforming period
of the eighteen thirties and forties in America to create a back-
ground from which this system of lay leadership could develop. A
carry-over of Old Testament and early Christian theology with its
emphasis upon authority, combined with a new stress upon continu-
ous revelation, was largely responsible for holding this lay move-
ment within sufficient bounds to keep it from losing itself in
diffused fields of action.
Primitive Christianity was largely a movement among lay-
men. It was officered by laymen and for a time maintained close
contact with their problems. With the development of the ecclesi-
astical order their came into existence a class of professional
religious workers in the Christian church. The Reformation and
other dissenting movements were directed toward a return to a re-
ligious ideal in which the individual could feel a relationship
between himself and his God without the intervention of an au-
thoritative ecclesiastical order.
This expression of individualism, which seems to be an
integral part of Christianity, is not to be interpreted as an
anti-social individualism, but more as a tendency among Christians
to exercise their own agency in the arrangement of a highly social
and religious life. American Christianity breathed much of the
spirit of this new individualism. And yet people did not feel as
free in religion as they came to feel in politics. Having tasted
political freedom through the medium of the Revolution and then
realizing that religious ties with the old world had also been
severed, the people of the new nation awakened to the fact that
their independence was more than political. But religious inde-


pendence rarely meant the practice of lay leadership, since most
American churches worked diligently to train their leaders in the
The philosophy of individualism which permeated the new
nation was ideal ground for the development of the lay leader pro-
gram. Added to this were such factors as the scarcity of trained
ministers, the legal complications of the American state which
brought laymen to positions of trusteeship over church property,
the later rise of Sunday Schools, women's organizations, and the
spread of missions.2 These later movements not only provided for
lay participation but showed its growing need in American life.
Among the denominations which early showed a high degree
of lay responsibility the Methodists, Baptists, and Disciples are
worthy of mention. Among the less populous groups the Quakers
and the Moravians were highly lay active. The Disciplies had a
good deal in common with the Latter-day Saints on the Western Re-
serve and their organization shows similarities with as well as
marked differences from the Latter-day Saint group. The Disciples
made no sharp distinction between the clergy and the laity. They
maintained the spirit of democracy by assiduously declaring that
no man should be called priest. Mormonism, in the other hand,
held the leaders and the people together by declaring that every
man should be a priest.
Mormonism arose in a section of New York state where the
issues of democracy had been brought vividly before the people
through constant political and economic struggle. In 1830 central
and western New York was typically frontier. We have said that
Mormonism was nurtured under influences which were peculiar to
nineteenth-century America. These influences are expressed
largely in terms of the frontier. The present pattern of lay
leadership among Latter-day Saints was largely influenced by a
succession of frontier locations. Other religious groups which
stressed some degree of lay leadership as a convenience of fron-
tier life adjusted to systems of a trained ministry as they began

1Wesley P. Lloyd, "The Rise and Development of Lay Leader-
ship in the Latter-day Saint Movement" (Unpublished Ph.D. disser-
tation, University of Chicago, 1937), pp. 18-19.

2bid., pp. 28-32.


moving in more settled areas.1 Mormonism had no such opportuni-
ties. Through a process of group migration it moved from one
frontier to another until finally, in its latest home, the forces
of a more settled civilization overtook it. This situation made
it possible for the pattern of lay leadership to become embedded
in the group during a period covering three quarters of a century.
Constant religious revivals had swept the country so thor-
oughly by 1830 that the people were quite awake to the issues that
dominated the religious world of that day. In the first half of
the nineteenth century America was truly articulate. In no sec-
tion was she more critically aware of issues than in central and
western New York which was not only a battleground for political
democracy but a hotbed of religious revivalism and a hatchery for
almost any type of reform. Prominent among the topics of popular
debate were temperance, communistic ideas, Adventism, and Indian
origins. Out of this period came the only indigenous and typi-
cally American religions. Mormonism, deriving from these rich
antecedents of American influence, is typical and perhaps the
most expressive of its time. It found answers for vital questions
of the day and found itself moving in fields which attracted
thousands of followers in Europe as well as in America.

Beginnings of Latter-day Saint Lay Leadership

Laying claim to the title, "The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints," this religious movement has always exerted a
powerful influence over its converts and has furnished a genuine
religious driving power. This study does not attempt to show
that in the growth of Mormonism the principle of religious de-
mocracy was nurtured without the influence of a governing priest-
hood. The very existence of a theological belief that the church
presidency and apostles are prophets, seers and revelators,would
seem, on the surface, to contradict any contention that real gov-
erning power could exist among the laity. The early period of
Mormon church history demonstrates the way in which these two
seemingly contradictory principles each acceded with good grace
to the common weal and thus produced a new phenomenon in American

1The Baptists, Methodists and Disciples are good examples
of this transition.


Building upon a belief in continuous revelation and
identifying itself with the older religions of Israel and primi-
tive Christianity, the Mormons presented a theology which was rich
in its satisfying values. This theology was vitalized by the
group experiences which brought the people into conflict with
every other group which they met in both their temporary and per-
manent homes.
Latter-day Saint government was delegated to the people
through the official confirmation of the priesthood upon every
worthy adult. This priesthood was not to be an instrument in the
hands of a hierarchy. Its function was not that of centralization
of power in a few individuals, but a kind of decentralization in
which each member felt that he had received the call to action,
and could therefore act with a divine sanction equal to that en-
joyed by any other holder of the priesthood. Neither the Catholic
hierarchical priesthood nor the members of the select Protestant
ministry felt any greater call than did the lay members of the
Latter-day Saint group.
A belief in eternal progression, the commission to gather
the tribes of Israel from the nations of the earth, and the call
to prepare Zion for the Second Coming of Christ all had their ef-
fect in making the Saints an especially active and socially re-
sponsible rather than a passive and isolated group. One of the
outstanding characteristics of the Mormons was that they took
themselves seriously. People who had been "chosen" the instru-
ments through which the souls of the earth were to be brought to
the truth had a far greater calling than even the kings, whose
power at most was but temporal. This approach is undoubtedly very
important in analyzing the power of the Mormon movement. Lay
leadership was fully expressed from the first. Every member was
a missionary. Converts were so numerous that the task of supply-
ing trained leaders would have been hopeless even if desired. Lay-
men were called to office and felt themselves highly favored at
the opportunity for service.
Before the movement had gone far the problem of diversion
of function between layman and prophet was encountered. The first
real test of the power of the prophet ended neither in the estab-
lishment of theocracy nor complete church democracy. The members
voted to let the voice of the prophet, when he spoke through revel-

1Lloyd, op. cit., pp. 57 ff.

action, be the principal guide to the body of the church. The
dangers of uncontrolled revelation in the hands of individuals
became evident and resulted in its limitations.1 In this incident
there is a clear acceptance of democratic action by the people and
at the same time a recognition of an authoritative revelation for
church government. Since this early time these ordinarily con-
flicting ideas have continued to be manifest together without
great friction in Latter-day Saint government.
The chief power of the first Mormon prophet seems to have
been in the field of theological interpretation. There is little
evidence to show that laymen did not exercise freedom in deciding
for themselves matters of church government. The material in-
crease in the prophetic prestige came largely in the later periods
of church history. Among a people who exercised strong faith in
the prophetic power of their leader little danger could be experi-
enced in giving laymen high power and official offices. The or-
ganization of the quorum of the twelve apostles was perhaps the
most important step in the elevation of laymen to prominent po-
sitions in the church. These apostles and also the later council
of seventies retained their status as laymen and pursued their
regular occupations.
Lay leadership in the Mormon movement has been a necessity
as well as a matter of choice. From the first this type of leader-
ship seems to have been taken for granted. It was not decided
upon as a consciously projected plan but merely accepted as it
came along. The low economic level of many of the Latter-day
Saints must be kept in mind. Mormonism was truly a religion of
the "disinherited," and in such circumstances lay leadership was
especially desirable. It seems that a large part of the success
of Latter-day Saint lay leadership lies in the fact that in gen-
eral the members are not well-to-do. Their economic status keeps
them, as a class, interested in service to the church. This at-
tachment makes any program which provides for economic betterment
a vital issue with church laymen. Provided with an opportunity
for social expression the layman works with an alacrity found only
among groups who are driving hard to satisfy fundamental human
needs. When thus expressed religion takes the center of life and
activity rather than becoming an ecclesiastical shell or an empty

Ibid., pp. 50 ff.


The Mormon Missionary System as a Device
for the Development of Lay Leadership

Lay leadership among Latter-day Saints does not neces-
sarily imply totally untrained leadership. Although formal train-
ing in schools of divinity is practically unknown among them the
Mormons have developed a means of practical training which is de-
voted primarily to the making of better Latter-day Saints. One
of the most important agencies of this training has been the mis-
sionary system. The church furnishes no financial remuneration
for the missionary and the acceptance of the mission call is moti-
vated by considerations that are not related to immediate finan-
cial gain.
The proselyting project has been closely related to the
concept of "the gathering."1 The revelation which told of the
location of the new Zion in western Missouri, as a place for the
gathering of Israel, gave renewed enthusiasm to the missionary
enterprise. This incident is typical of the function which was
exercised by the practice of continuous revelation in providing
new projects and visions for the future among a people who could
really believe. And the Mormons believed. Faith was not to over-
come action but to stimulate it. New revelation appeared at
pivotal points and kept the Saints imbued with the magnitude of
their tasks.
The mission is a practical training school for the lay
leader. Until recently formal missionary training courses were
not held.2 The layman was taken as he was and his task in the
mission field was often to learn the gospel as well as to learn
to teach and preach it. After spending from two to five years in
the field the missionary returned home and assumed active leader-
ship responsibility.
The success of the church in marshaling its laymen behind
the missionary program has been largely the result of the power
of the "call." This device is at the center of all lay leader
responsibility. The power of the "call" is, of course, dependent

IIbid., pp. 72-74.

2At the present time two weeks of formal training is
given before the missionary goes to his field of labor.

upon the belief among church members that their officers are
divinely inspired in the direction of church affairs. This is a
significant factor in the promotion of the present and future lay
leadership program among the Latter-day Saints.
The missionary policy of the church has undergone various
phases of adjustment in response to changing needs. The general
drive, however, has been constant. Church members today are be-
ginning to recognize the limitations as well as the opportunities
of their proselyting system. Changed methods and a new approach
to the message are in evidence in the present program.
The Mormon missionary system is vital to the lay leader-
ship program of the church in a number of ways. It involves at
least three important phases, namely: the missionary as a messenger
to the world, the mission as a training school for lay leaders in
the church, and the proselyte as a type of the future lay leader
in the church. Viewed from these angles the contribution of the
missionary system to future lay leadership must depend largely
upon the type and training of the missionary who goes to represent
the church. If the mission were nothing more than a device for
the education of prospective leaders it would be most important
that these persons be carefully selected and that the mission be
more than an intensive conversion experience. In the field of
education the mission furnishes a prime opportunity for schooling
in the presence of an on-going life situation. The elder is close
to the vital issues of life and may be skillfully directed in the
techniques of social control and personal religious counseling as
well as in teaching and administering practical church affairs.
The Mormon missionary system today is becoming more selective in
its personnel and a consistent attempt at formal missionary edu-
cation is in evidence.

Lay Leadership in the Various Periods
of Latter-day Saint History

The activities of most religious movements have radiated
from a relatively constant central location. The Mormon group has
developed in a very different manner. The location of its central
body has been changed five times and each of these geographical
locations has left its specific contribution to the development of

Lloyd, op. cit., pp. 84 ff.


lay leadership.
During the history of this movement in New York its mem-
bers were imbued with the spirit of democratic self-expression
and the rights of the common man, a philosophy which at that time
permeated the country and found its center of emphasis in central
and western New York. In this new religious movement old dogmas
which had stressed the punishments of God and the depravity of
man were rejected in favor of doctrines which emphasized human
worth and the progress of personality.
Individualism was so prominent in this period that the
new movement found difficulty in maintaining a semblance of au-
thoritative control by which the group could be held together. In
the course of this first period the infant organization experienced
test cases in group control. The issue was one relative to the
use and correct channeling of revelation. In these incidents the
central problem was that of avoiding priestcraft within the church
and the outcome was a statement of policy for the division of
function between the prophet and the laymen. The word of the Lord
through the prophet soon became the unifying force which brought
control and group solidarity. When the people voted to accept the
word of the prophet as the symbol of central unity there was no
thought of limiting religious democracy or lay initiative. This
period witnessed the beginning of a system in which pure theocracy
and democracy were to operate together. The bond of union was the
faith of the member in his prophet.
From 1831-1839 church laymen directed every effort toward
the establishment of Zion. Principal centers of activity were
Kirtland, Ohio, and western Missouri. At this time the missionary
system was given added emphasis and economic and social programs
which involved a consecration of economic goods brought new lay
responsibilities. Because of the fact that activity was centered
on two fronts almost a thousand miles apart, the real responsi-
bility for pioneering success rested upon the laity themselves.
From governmental frictions which were in evidence between these
two bodies there developed a system of general church supervision
which superseded the local units. The power of the presidency and
the apostles was strengthened and the procedure for authoritative
succession of the church councils was determined. Each priesthood
quorum could now be recognized in its proper place. Although the
validity of prophetic revelation was not questioned by loyal mem-

bers the laymen retained their democratic status by initiating
church projects and, on occasion, even called the prophet to ac-
count for his actions.
The development of power in the ecclesiastical councils
during this period is not to be understood as a surrendering of
the influence of the people. It should be remembered that the
priesthood was conferred upon all worthy men of the church and
their duties in church councils were performed in connection with
their status as pure laymen. The Mormon group has always been
opposed to a paid priesthood. In the growth of centralized gov-
ernment in the church it was expected that officers continue to
earn a livelihood through an outside vocation. Thus the voice of
the people continued to be the dominant note in church government.

Lay Leadership in Illinois
The story of the way in which the people of Illinois wel-
comed the Mormons, after their dramatic expulsion from Missouri,
is a good study of political strategy mixed with philanthropic
sentiment. The point of real interest for our purpose is that
the state of Illinois provided an asylum where these exiles could
renew their spirits and recognize new hopes for the building of
their Zion. During this period the Latter-day Saints had the
opportunity to carry on for a time an unmolested religious life
during which a number of their growing theories could be put to
practical use. The building of Zion went on with a temporary
change in its location as the chief alteration and the missionary
enterprise expanded and became better organized. Left for a few
years relatively undisturbed by their enemies the Saints delegated
high powers to their leaders. This increase in power of the cen-
tral authority was manifest in civil as well as ecclesiastical
government. The two fields of government were for a time closely
interrelated with the chief power resting in the hands of the
One cannot disregard the prominence of open congregational
action which accompanied the highly centralized power of this
period. Although the power was almost absolute it was a willingly
designated absolutism. A leader had spoken. His notes were so
satisfying to his followers that they were willing to follow with-
out question and with the hope that no cause for doubt might arise.
The further development of priesthood quorums and councils was


important in the delegation of power from congregations to lay
officials. The women of the church were given a place of impor-
tance almost equal to that of men, thus extending lay influence.
When, at the death of the prophet, the crisis of select-
ing new leadership came to the people they chose a somewhat inter-
mediary position of government through the apostles'quorum in
place of selecting a prophet leader or theocratic guide.1 Although
this left government largely in the hands of councils they were
layman's councils and as such divided the new group responsibili-
ties so that lay expression was felt in all phases of the group
This period clearly demonstrates the way in which the
central power of the church developed as a companion of rather
than in opposition to its lay leadership, and opens an era for
the development of the higher councils which were so influential
in the early Utah period.
From the time of the beginning of the migration to Utah
the Mormon picture is greatly changed. With the realization that.
they had been unprotected by a country which did not accept their
religious code they now could recognize but one significant loyal-
ty. That loyalty was to their religion. Upon their arrival in
the great Basin they were in no mood to question the leadership
of the man who had been most instrumental in bringing them to
safety. Instead of leaving Brigham Young merely as president of
the twelve apostles they unanimously sustained the suggestion
that he be made president of the church. Under the new conditions
of pioneer life a strong hand was necessary to marshal the forces
of diffusion that were operative. Brigham Young took complete
charge of the situation and the church body witnessed a new era
of central control. This control, however, had its roots deep in
the thinking of the people who found sufficient opportunities and
challenge to their individuality in the exigencies of colonizing
activities and of pioneer life in general. Even though a new note
of authority was struck there was also an accompanying chorus of
pioneer individualism. It will be remembered that all of the
leaders were laymen and were still active in their vocations. The
ideal for building Zion took on new vigor and there was work for

1Comments of the Illinois press of this period are well
presented in Cecil A. Snider A Syllabus on Mormonism in Illinois
from the Angle of the Press (University of Chicago, Church His-
torian's Research Fund, 1936).


In this period problems of group control were left more
and more in the hands of the leading councils. The presidency of
Brigham Young covered a period which was characterized by rela-
tive isolation of the Mormon group. He wielded an influence and
power which was, for a time, appropriately theocratic. The early
Utah period can be described as one in which frontier life placed
its premium upon local lay initiative and leadership while at the
same time authoritative control necessarily assumed the dominant
place in general church affairs.
With the completion of the transcontinental railroad and
the improvement in general communication Utah was no longer a
separated society. New conditions were met by new leaders whose
policy it was to place added responsibility upon local leaders
rather than to continue to build in the direction of centraliza-
tion. This program gave opportunity for a further development of
initiative among the people and laid a basis for a type of indi-
vidual thinking and acting which was in complete accord with the
earlier Mormon pattern and without which progressive lay leader-
ship was impossible.

Present Status of Lay Leadership Among
Latter-day Saints

The practice of lay leadership is still a dominant char-
acteristic of Latter-day Saint local government and it reaches
far into the central offices of the church. This type of leader-
ship has reached a high stage of development in the Mormon move-
ment because of the group acceptance of a philosophy which recon-
ciles a divinely appointed authority with the concept of religious
democracy. Earlier religious movements, which have attempted to
attain both of these concepts, have experienced difficulty and
have found it necessary to emphasize but one of them. Mormonism
up to the present time has been disinclined to drop either, and
the combination has produced a unique culture which has made pos-
sible the present lay leadership program. The "call" remains to-
day of sufficient force within the church to keep its leadership
program functioning with some degree of efficiency. Laymen in
large numbers rally to the service of their church and carry the
burden of its government.
In this system, which depends so much upon the confidence


of its people, authority is not expressed today in coercive terms.
An examination of circulars and other messages sent from presid-
ing officials to local officers reveals that in spite of a clear
and unquestioned attitude regarding the order of church govern-
ment the spirit of suggestion and counseling dominates the com-
munications in place of formalized and authoritative decrees.
Affirmative responses to the requests and suggestions of officials
are still relatively high. In this two contributing factors seem
significant. The first is the popular concept that church lead-
ers receive divine inspiration in the regulation of the affairs
of the people. The second is the subtle and immeasurable power
of social approval.
A functional analysis of the number, type, and nature of
leadership positions offered to laymen in the church shows that
from the time when a layman first becomes interested in the or-
ganization he is expected to carry some responsibility for its
welfare. With a complete ward organization demanding a minimum
of about one hundred rotating positions of leadership every avail-
able member is called to do his part. The number of ward positions
increases with the growth of membership. These responsibilities
range in nature from those of executive status through business
and clerical work, teaching, counseling, and recreational leader-
ship. They fall into two groups which might be represented roughly
as general priesthood leadership, and leadership within the auxili-
ary associations.
Leadership education among the Mormons is taken care of
chiefly by providing laymen with actual practice of leadership
within the organization, by theological education derived from
church meetings and gospel conversations, through conferences and
conventions, by instructions through correspondence and publica-
tions, and by formal educational institutions such as seminaries,
institutes, colleges, and the church university. A combination
of these approaches works continuously throughout the week as well
as on Sunday and is raising perceptibly the standard of Latter-
day Saint lay leadership. The church program for week-day religi-
ous education has some unique characteristics and is becoming sig-
nificant to the history of education in the United States.
When viewed in its relationship to the individual member
an extensive program of lay leadership might be either beneficial
or detrimental. It is self evident that lay leadership may be of


little advantage to a group unless the layman is a growing and
progressive type. Latter-day Saints must face this issue squarely
and recognize the advantages which might accrue from a profes-
sionally trained leadership. In its historic setting lay leader-
ship was a prime necessity and today its advantages seem well
enough established to justify its continuance. We cannot overlook
the opportunity it provides for democracy in church affairs. Nor
can we disregard its important place in furnishing a dominant
task and purpose around which many Latter-day Saints today are
finding new personal integration.
From the standpoint of the Mormon movement itself the
financial advantages of lay leadership seem certain. There is at
least a great saving in salaries, which can be turned toward the
stabilizing of the church in other directions. Just to what ex-
tent lay leadership is effective in increasing the income of the
church is yet an open question.
In its transition the leadership program faces new issues.
The church meets the problem of holding its more educated laity
in the line of leadership duty. Its chief emphasis in this field
is an attempt to promulgate, through its system of education, a
program which will provide for the preparation of leaders, and at
the same time cement their loyalties to the group. Theological
stress is not placed so much upon fundamentalist interpretation
of doctrine as upon the practical value of the religious ideal.
Mormonism has emphasized always the importance of learning and of
formal education. As it now meets an educational world which is
dominated by naturalistic approaches and the scientific method
there is a tendency for large numbers of the educated laity to
accept new interpretations of theological concepts. In a system
which stresses lay leadership so much it is imperative to retain
the most widely educated and best trained people so that they
will be available for the high type of leadership desired.
This study has shown the way in which lay leadership and
individual initiative have developed in connection with a phil-
osophy of divinely delegated authority. This development is
rooted in a time when Mormonism was a religion of the "disin-
herited." When the people were constantly on the move, and were
losing their property with each new location lay leadership was
their only choice. The new test for this type of leadership comes
as Latter-day Saints develop large numbers of people who attain


high social status and financial respectability. Such conditions
make new demands upon the organization. The call comes for bet-
ter preaching, for more dependable local counseling, for skill-
fully directed church services, and for leadership in fields where
secular agencies cannot compete. These demands put a special
strain upon lay leadership, and if this leadership is to retain
its place laymen must feel an obligation to accept types of edu-
cation which will train men to carry some specific type of religi-
ous leadership in a skilled manner. The mere donation of services
will not answer the need. These services must be performed with
recognized efficiency if the Latter-day Saint movement is to con-
tinue its present program. There are indications that the lay
leadership program is adjusting to the new demands, and that the
extent to which it is falling short is at least no more conspicu-
ous than in religious bodies which employ a professional ministry.
In summarizing the extensive lay leadership program in
any church the least that can be said is that such a plan places
the church in the center of its people where it can keep abreast
of their needs and desires. The extent to which these needs are
filled may be closely related to the degree of power which the
layman holds. Lay leadership is, moreover, good insurance against
the separation of the church from its people. Latter-day Saint
lay leadership is a fit companion for the democratic type of gov-
ernment in which it grew and will flourish only to the extent that
religious democracy continues to be the dominant ideal of the
It seems appropriate to mention a few of the more signifi-
cant marginal problems which this study has met and which might
form the basis of future investigations. Most of these are func-
tional and will require for their valid description an extensive
field survey. A knowledge of the educational, financial and vo-
cational status of lay leaders in the Latter-day Saint movement
would be an important index to the type of leadership being given.
A knowledge of the age distribution of leaders would be of use in
showing the degree to which the church is a young people's or an
older people's organization, The effectiveness of missionary work
in progressively preparing leaders should be measured. A func-
tional study of the needs of rural as compared with urban com-
munities would be helpful in the formulation of local church pro-
grams for the various types of church communities.

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