Correlation and the Home, circa 1968

By August 13, 2013

Fugal Priesthood Correlation

This is from John Fugal, A Review of Priesthood Correlation (Provo: BYU Press, 1968). There are any number of interesting points about correlation we can derive from this image, but most fundamental is this: though contemporary Mormons often speak of correlation as the formative era of the modern church, there is much that is foreign to present-day Mormons about material like this.

I want to make two related observations, though I’m sure there’s far more than that we can pick out.

1) Note the names of things. “Priesthood home teaching;” “Priesthood welfare;” “Priesthood missionary work.” Though correlation is often assumed to be somehow ‘secular’ – insofar as it is a form of bureaucratic reorganization and many Americans, steeped in Protestant notions of liberty, tend to find bureaucracy and the sacred a difficult reconciliation – there is intense linguistic effort here to interpret the institutional efforts of correlation as expressly religious. Indeed, according to its advocates and this chart, the purpose of correlation was to reinvigorate those aspects of church organization considered “sacred” – namely, the priesthood hierarchy. Notice how marginalized the auxiliaries are. Correlation was less, then, purely a secularizing force than a reorganization of ideas about the sacred and the secular in Mormon life, a narrowing and focusing of whence the sacred might come.

2) That process also may go a long way, I think, toward explaining the male paternalism of the correlated church. Another striking aspect of this image is its incorporation of the “home” into the structure of the church as another priesthood organization, like the Quorum of the Twelve or the ward. Centering correlation upon priesthood leadership necessarily exalts the status of men in the church, and the way this diagram reads the home is an excellent example.

Article filed under Categories of Periodization: Modern Mormonism Cultural History


Comments

  1. Nice find, Matt! And I think you have construed its significance exactly right. So construed, it has been an INTEGRAL PART of the process I call retrenchment, and not merely an instrument or means of retrenchment, borrowed from the outside.

    Comment by Armand L. Mauss — August 13, 2013 @ 11:51 am

  2. Interesting artifact, and observations. I sat through some leadership training during the late 70’s and early 80’s as a young member of an EQ presidency or as ward executive secretary, and I recall that at least even then, “correlation” was rarely used by itself without the linked word “priesthood.” As to marginalizing the auxiliaries, i also remember the specific statements that all auxiliaries are “appendages to the priesthood,” and under the direction of the the priesthood. No question that it emphasized the role of male priesthood holders, and was meant to minimize the autonomy of auxiliaries.

    Comment by kevinf — August 13, 2013 @ 11:55 am

  3. Good stuff, Matt. I have a “Priesthood Home Teaching” handbook from the era that I have never gotten around to reading. I think currently these ideas are expressed withing the various bureaucracies of the church. E.g., information might come down a Public Affairs channel to local PA directors, who then might wait for the same information to come down through the “priesthood” to the Stake President, who then needs to be at least discursively responsible for making whatever happens happen.

    Comment by J. Stapley — August 13, 2013 @ 11:58 am

  4. I would be so fascinated to see how the church would construct a similar graphic today.

    Oh wait, I found it:

    http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormon-lay-ministry

    Comment by EmJen — August 13, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

  5. Although arguably the above doesn’t take into account the non-lay ministry of General authorities and auxiliaries.

    Comment by EmJen — August 13, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

  6. EmJen, the color-coded gender representation in that infographic is fascinating.

    Comment by Jennifer — August 13, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

  7. It’s interesting how the First Presidency is represented as circumscribing the Church and ultimately the home. I wonder if today a similar graphic wouldn’t put the FP at the center, and then show lines of authority radiating outward to stakes, wards, and families.

    Comment by Grant — August 13, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

  8. Thanks, all –

    Armand – absolutely; one of the things I appreciate most about your work is the connections you draw between institutional and ideological reform.

    Kevin, Stape – I think this is a good illustration of the ways in which even as much of correlation is still very much with us, certain of its features have receded. The linguistic markers are only the most obvious, I think.

    EmJen, Jennifer – Indeed, and Grant’s observation here is telling. This is one of the ways, I suspect, that correlation has been altered over time; the gendered language of the sixties and seventies has receded somewhat even as the organization hasn’t been altered much.

    Comment by matt b. — August 13, 2013 @ 3:25 pm

  9. Very cool find, Matt. Like EmJen, I immediately thought of the more recent infographic put out by the Church. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Christopher — August 13, 2013 @ 5:41 pm

  10. This is great, Matt.

    I think your observations are useful but confess that the first thing that jumped out at me is that the graphic shows four “missions” of the church unlike the three of the 80s and 90s.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — August 13, 2013 @ 7:08 pm

  11. Matt, How interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Joy Buhler — August 14, 2013 @ 8:50 am


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