My uncle–an LDS international political consultant-once mentioned to me that he thought the LDS Church today was like the Soviet Union. He was speaking of problems with having an 80+-year-old leadership base, but I think the analogy goes deeper.
The Soviet Union started with a bold revolutionary, was consolidated by a shrewd, ruthless, pragmatist, and perpetuated by those who were fully indoctrinated into the established order.
Mormonism also began as a bold, revolutionary movement. Joseph Smith was Mormonism’s Lenin, Brigham Young, its Stalin, perhaps Wilford Woodruff was its Khrushchev.Today it is an institutionalized ideology controlled by a small group of older men who are steeped in allegiance to the party line– much like the final Soviet regimes.
Like the Soviets, Mormon centralized authority has allowed the Church to accomplish amazing things that similarly sized religious bodies simply cannot. Russians and their centralized economy kept up with the U.S. in weaponry, space flight, and world dominance. Mormons are rich in resources, talent, and good culture, and the leadership focuses these resources relatively successfully on growth.
Just as with the Soviets, the Latter-Day Saints seek to spread their ideology through the world. It is inimical to the established creeds and religious order. Just as with Soviet Russia, Mormonism has been in a Cold War since its inception, waged by the established churches–i.e. the “whore of all the earth,” “the very mainspring of all corruption.”