Religion: Smooth Succession?

The leadership of the Mormon Church is a self-perpetuating gerontocracy. By tradition, the presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whenever there is a vacancy, falls to the senior member of the church's governing Council of Twelve Apostles. Last week, following tradition, the council "invited, sustained and ordained" Spencer Woolley Kimball, 78, as the church's new president. Kimball thus became the fourth "prophet, seer and revelator" of the Mormons in as many years. President David O. McKay died in 1970 at 96, Joseph Fielding Smith hi 1972 at 95, and...

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