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Lessons From the Way Mormons Choose Elites

Religion is in decline in America, but there’s an exception: the Mormon church. Mormonism is growing, has strong family formation dynamics, healthy communities, good aesthetics, and strong finances.

One factor in Mormon outperformance is the way Mormons choose elites. Rather than relying on a self-selected professional leadership pool, Mormons screen for, identify, develop, and promote people who have demonstrated leadership competence and skin in the game. They also rely largely on unpaid lay leader instead of a paid, professional clergy.

A result of this has been a church whose leaderships ranks are staffed with highly talented and accomplished people. Mitt Romney, for example, served as the equivalent of a parish priest for several years while also running Bain Capital, something unthinkable in the Christian church.

While Christianity has its own theological and ecclesiastical reasons for the way it chooses elites, there are some lessons that could be learned by analysis of the Mormon case study.

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