Growing an ideology : how the Mormons do it
Chalverus, Marshall F.
Thomas, Michael A.
Everton, Sean F.
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A fundamental characteristic of human interaction is the manifestation of ideology, which, as we define it, transcends religious, political, cultural, and national realms. Differing ideologies among groups can create friction, and often incite violence. This study seeks to understand how groups adhering to particular ideologies grow, for understanding ideological promulgation is an imperative step in understanding conflicts arising from conflicting ideological principles. We accomplish this by exploring one of the fastest growing ideologically distinct organizations today, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). In doing so, we propose that the LDS's institutional framework enables not only efficient resource collection, but also frames and promotes a socialization structure that enables ideological growth. This supports empirical evidence which suggests that ideology plays a secondary role in an ideological organization's growth. Implicit in this argument is that to promote an ideology, one should focus on socialization rather than the ideology itself; likewise, effectively countering an ideology requires a focus on social bonds and not necessarily a counter-ideological message.
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