From Library Journal
Quinn's first volume of The Mormon Hierarchy (The Origins of Power, Signature, 1994) was a landmark in Mormon studies. This latest volume demonstrates the ways and methods by which the leadership maintains and applies its authority. Some believers may not be pleased with the portrait Quinn paints, but his documentation is so thorough and indisputable that few will be able to challenge his arguments. Some chapters are case studies in the rise to leadership of particular individuals, most notably Ezra Taft Benson (13th president/prophet of the church and Eisenhower's secretary of agriculture), and their employment of power. Other chapters look at the means by which power is exercised in governance. The biographical and chronological appendixes are worth the price of the book. Quinn, now an independent scholar, is unquestionably Mormonism's leading historian. A magisterial study; recommended for all libraries with collections in American history.?David S. Azzolina, Univ. of Pennsylvania Libs., Philadelphia
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The Mormon church today is led by an elite group of older men, nearly three-quarters of whom are related to current or past general church authorities. This dynastic hierarchy meets in private; neither its minutes nor the church's finances are available for public review. Members are reassured by public relations spokesmen that all is well and that harmony prevails among the brethren. But by interviewing former church aides, examining hundreds of diaries, and drawing from his own past experience as an insider within the Latter-day Saint historical department, Michael Quinn presents a fuller view. His extensive research documents how the governing apostles, seventies, and presiding bishops are strong-willed, independent men (much like the directors of a large corporation) who lobby their colleagues, forge alliances, out-maneuver opponents, and broker compromises. Quinn's The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions Of Power reveals clandestine political activities, investigative and punitive actions by church security forces, personal "loans" from church coffers (later written off as bad debts), and other privileged power-vested activities. The Mormon Hierarchy considers the changing role and attitude of the leadership toward visionary experiences, the momentous events which have shaped quorum protocol and doctrine, and day-to-day bureaucratic intrigue from the time of Brigham Young to the dawn of the twenty-first century. -- Midwest Book Review