Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Michael K. Freeman


Matthew L. Sanders


Susan A. Turner


Max L. Longhurst


Steven O. Laing


An organization’s leadership theory acts as a collection of primary guiding characteristics which influence its identity and direction. Developing leaders has always been important for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Historically, the Church has promoted leadership ideals for all its members through various aspects of its doctrine and organization. This study provides an analysis of multiple leadership texts produced by the ecclesiastical and educational wings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The study helps to reveal how Latter-day Saint leadership theory has developed over time. This study considers the unfolding of Latter-day Saint leadership theory from 1900 to 2017. The analysis provides greater understanding of how ecclesiastic leadership theory relates to leadership theory provided for the Church’s religious educators. Additionally, this study considers how themes in Latter-day leadership theory developed in relationship to other contemporary historical and theoretical trends. Data derived from this analysis are used to answer the following three questions: (1) How has the idea of leadership changed over time in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and in its educational system? (2) What are the enduring themes and distinctive concepts of Latter-day Saint leadership theory? (3) What differences exist between the leadership constructs provided for ecclesiastical leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and those of its educational system?