Matthew Bowman, writing at the Religion in American History Blog, has a fascinating piece on Stephen Covey, one of the leading motivational/self-improvement writers of the past generation. Covey, who recently passed away, was the author most famously of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Bowman: It is perhaps no coincidence that Covey’s interpretation of Mormon theology appeared when it did, because Mormonism in the mid to late twentieth century was dominated by a process called “correlation,” which rationalized and streamlined the organization of the church according to the model, the style, and the language of the American corporation. Dark suits, white shirts, and conservative haircuts appeared on Mormon men; committees, mission statements, and data collection became the basic currency of church organization. . .This form of Mormonism was remarkably optimistic about human potential to achieve, and tended to speak about salvation and blessings as things gained through effort, downplaying traditional Christian notions of sin and grace. Covey’s work is perhaps the most popular expression of this serious and strenuous variety of Mormonism.