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date: 01 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

The relation between authority and dissent in the Mormon Church cannot be adequately understood from formal statements in official handbooks or public statements by church leaders. Individual cases of dissent are affected by given sociological contexts, which include historical and demographic developments, ecclesiastical imperatives, and both formal and informal relationships, not only within the hierarchy but also between leaders and dissenters. Opening with the celebrated excommunication case of the “September Six,” this chapter traces the developments that culminated in that case, especially the ecclesiastical retrenchment process during the second half of the twentieth century. A relaxation of retrenchment has been apparent during the new century. Several empirical generalizations can be inferred from the relationship between authority and dissent across the entire past century.

Keywords: authority, dissent, excommunication, September Six, hierarchy, retrenchment

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