This chapter explores the notion of “family” that pervades the institutional organization of The Church, with special attention to the role of kinship and spiritual adoption in community formation and interpersonal relationships. Because her visions, call, personality, and charismatic authority are intimately tied to the institutional history of The Church, this chapter opens with a biographical sketch of the pastor-founder. This chapter also explores gender and age as organizing principles; charismatic authority in the life of The Church; and, the role of Biblical authority in legitimizing institutional strategies. Women's leadership in The Church, with special attention to ambiguous beliefs and practices surrounding the female body and the shift from sole female leadership to power-sharing by female and male founding elders is another focus of chapter 5. Finally, this chapter identifies the major families that comprise The Church and their roles in recruiting new members, as well as office distribution patterns within families and how these patterns have changed over time.
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