The enormous increase in life expectancy that medical science has achieved in the past century has been a mixed blessing. Declining function has been a particular concern for three Christian churches whose top leaders had traditionally served until death.
In September 1857, the church that now fascinates a nation experienced one of its darkest moments. At Mountain Meadows, deep in southern Utah, a group of Mormon militiamen slaughtered 120 unarmed non-Mormon emigrants.
Jeremiah Wright's sermons about a black Jesus killed by white Romans nearly derailed his former parishioner Barack Obama's candidacy. The white Jesus of Mitt Romney's Mormon culture, by contrast, has raised no cultural firestorm. It is hardly even noticed.