Tomorrow morning President Russell M. Nelson will announce his presidency during a live broadcast. I don’t have particularly strong feelings about his upcoming announcement or tenure. I’m also not interested in personally condemning him. I don’t envy the mantle of the calling he will be assuming. I wish him the best, and hope he presides in love, charity, and compassion. I also hope he sets an example worth following as a disciple of Christ by keeping the greatest commandment of them all: to love one another.
Even so, I’m still inclined to express my concerns about the LDS Church being run by a patriarchal gerontocracy. This commentary is not directed exclusively or specifically toward any single individual, but rather about reevaluating an idea.
The patriarchal gerontocracy is fundamentally flawed in that it lacks diversity within the upper levels of leadership. It is specifically designed to thwart diverse participation by gender and age, and implicitly by race and orientation. It’s an institutional power imbalance built into the organizational structure.
As life expectancy increases through the emergence of life extension technologies and the accessibility of anti-aging medicines, we will need to reevaluate the usefulness and morality of the power dynamics in a patriarchal gerontocracy. In this system death becomes a gateway for institutional progression and innovation. Waiting or, God forbid, hoping for old men to die so LDS policy can adapt hardly seems like a productive or compassionate way for an organization to affirm continuing revelation.
What happens when humans are able to live to be 120, 150, or even 200 years old? What will be the effects of having a presidency and apostleship being two centuries removed from the youth of the Church? If that seem a little far-fetched, consider this: President Nelson was born in 1924—only four years after the U.S. Constitution was amended to allow women to vote. My children are almost a century younger than our soon-to-be President. Imagine how much the world has changed in that time and how that affects a person’s perspective of the world, humanity’s potential, and how to get there.
This is not an argument against elderly persons having positions of leadership. Age can also lead to patience, experience, and wisdom. What I am suggesting is that leadership should be composed of diverse ages, genders, races, and orientations which affect the human experience.
Prophets should not be empowered by the death of their peers. Nor should prophets be granted institutional power by virtue of gender, age, race, or birthright. Prophets should be empowered by the truthfulness and/or usefulness of their prophecies. They should be granted power by their ability to invoke, inspire, influence, persuade, and motivate people to live the Gospel of eternal life through love unfeigned.
Regardless of the tenure of the next President of the Church, may we all be prophets, seers, and revelators. May we all sustain one another in our efforts to elevate and improve the world through the participation of our common religion.
D&C 102:9,10 says that the president of the church “is appointed by revelation” and doesn’t mention seniority. It also says that he has the privilege of appointing two other presidents to assist him. It does not specify whether the other two presidents must be male or female, young or old.
In the current system of senior apostle automatically becoming president of the church, it seems that “revelation” does not occur when one is appointed president but when he is “appointed” an apostle. Blaire’s approach appears more in harmony with the D&C.
What a meaningless screed. You forget the fundamental core of the LDS church, that it is lead by a prophet with revelations from GOD. If GOD wants a change, then a change will happen, but I suppose Blaire believes that ‘wokeness’ is more important. Go ahead and start your own church that is governed by people where their gender and skin color is the most important determining factor.
What is your proposal for a new method to transition power, a new casting of lots – who would qualify, how to find the gifted who are fit to lead, and how would god/goddess reveal their will? How is the method we elect US presidents flawed? They don’t even have to take a qualifying exam – just meet 3 requirements, 35+, 14years resident, and US natural born and what – be the best at populist grandstanding? How will APple select a new CEO after Tim Cook or the board decides to move on? In black mirror San Junipero, the elderly Kelly has found some meaning in her relationship with yorkie in a synthetic environment through social engagement as youthful mental projections. In reality there is a great imbalance of wisdom and experience after kelly’s 40+ years with her husband – which kelly throws on yorkie as a disqualifier for a fulfilling relationship. Yet, she decides to pass on and embrace the bliss. A 200 year old could still engage with youth through this future technology. Right now the gerontocracy’s vision of heaven is what they produce here on earth. Nelson has traveled the world and worked with chinese surgeon’s yet has he ever had to report to a woman as a boss? I mean Nelson even had the audacity to quote section 132:63 in the press conference in response to a question about the role of women in the church!
I agree with all!!!