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Authoritarianism - Site Map subfolders 

Religious Authoritarianism exist protected, but in contradiction to the principles of democratic societies where it resides.   It is characterized by a centralization of power that is generated and maintained by excluding intellectual challenge and potential challengers, and that creats allegiance through various means of socialization. It mobilizes people around group goals.  Its followers demand certainty and unity.  Characteristically:
1) An absolute truth claim is made to being right.
2) All important decisions are made by officials behind closed doors.
3) A hierarchy puts church interest ahead of concern for members it purportedly serves.
4) A leadership is self-appointed, cannot be displaced, and has indefinite tenure.
5) A disregard of civil liberties or tolerance of meaningful public opposition is the norm.
6) A tendency is to respond to challenges through tighter control.
7) A closed court system controls internal opposition and dissent.
8) A pervasive bureaucracy is screened for obedience and loyalty.

The result is a society weakened by lessoning the sense of individual responsibility.  Individuality is submerged to group goals, expectations, and conformities.  Freedom to create groups or publicly advocate ideas that compete for power or question the decisions of leaders is suppressed by the church, which instead attempts to impose controls on virtually all elements of the religious community.  And if allowed, expand controls into the larger society through force of law.


What happens when authoritarian followers find the authoritarian leaders they crave and start marching together?  [Bob Altemeyer's - The Authoritarians]

Dr David P Wright was an assistant professor of Hebrew and Near Eastern Languages in the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages at Brigham Young University.  His account of intolerance and Church disciplinary action is recorded in Case Reports of the Mormon Alliance, Volume 3 Chapter 23 & 24.

By Bob McCue:  Mormonism (and many other religions that use the same system) are all about the details of daily living, and result in such a busy day to day existence that there is no opportunity to think about where the train is headed.

This is not the result of the plan of some evil men sitting around in the Salt Lake Temple. Rather, this is how human social organizations of all types to some extent function. They spontaneously organize to protect themselves, find the resources they need to flourish, etc. The reason that the rules of modern democracies are so important is that they run against the hierarchical gain of human groups, and so force human organizations in an unnatural direction. This requires leaders to account to members; this restrains the natural direction of power; this requires information about how and why leadership decisions are made to be disclosed to the members. Perhaps the clearest lesson from human history is that absent the constraints that democracy imposes on the power of those at the top of the social pyramid, power will be abused.  [The Mormon Curtian]




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