Mormon Theodemocracy : Theocratic and Democratic Elements in Early Latter-day Saint Ideology, 1827-1846
University of Iowa
It is the province of this examination to point out the democratic and theocratic elements of Mormonism's mixed system of authority and to indiate the character and relationship of these features in early Latter-day Saint thought and life. I will identify and define both the democratic and theocratic ingredients in early Mormon faith and practice, and contend that assumptions or claims that Mormonism is unqualifiedly anti-democratic, on the one hand, or univocally democratic, on the other, are simplistic and untenable. I will conclude the study with a discussion of aspects of the relationship of these seemingly incongruent elements of Mormonism's complex theodemocratic system of authority, although it must be admitted at the outset that often these dual elements were dealt with and integrated more pragmatically than self-consciously or systematically. I will render this system of authority as accurately, and as much within the terms and images of early Latter-day saints themselves, as possible.
Tangentially but relatedly, I will assert that the issue of authority was the central religious concern of the early Latter-day Saints, and I will argue that this conception of authority and its dual dimensions were manifest in rudimentary fashion as early as the Book of Mormon.