With the sorrowful passing of two Apostles, once again the subject of age of the leadership has been brought up. The calling of one Prophet or Apostle to replace another is accompanied by the term gerontocracy. This is the idea that the leadership is much older than the general population. Yes this is true, but the attitude expressed by those reporting it often has a critical tone. This criticism does at times become a mocking accusation that none of them are fit for the position. There is a thinly veiled stereotype of sickly isolated curmudgeon set in their ways.
Reporters and those outside of Mormonism aren’t the only ones who think negatively of the ages. Many critics inside the LDS Church, and especially those who want to see a more lenient or worldly moral and theological change, feel the General Authorities are too old. They argue that the higher ages stifle innovation and perhaps keep revelation to a minimum. Younger leadership, they often argue, would see things differently and more expansive.
A pastime for both the faithful and those who aren’t as orthodox is to guess how many years a General Authority has to live and then who will take their place, Whole charts have been developed to see who is oldest and youngest among them, and then make educated guesses who will make it to the Presidency of the Church. Death of the leadership has become something of an obsession. Continue reading