Elitism is probably the single strongest natural (wo)man tendency that exists. Therefore, it probably is the single hardest natural (wo)man tendency to eradicate. Therefore, it is the single most deeply rooted "bitter fruit" that corrupts the vineyard. (Jacob 5)
On the other hand, self-esteem and divine potential are necessary, wonderful, empowering principles. They are the only way to fight the opposite of elitism - defeatism. (and that's not an intuitive juxtaposition of opposites) Therefore, we simply MUST be taught that we are of infinite worth.
Mormonism is a fascinating combination of foreordination and universalism (UNIQUE chosenness among the chosen ALL) - perhaps the most fundamental paradox that exists within its theology. We are special, but just like everyone else. There is great need for the Church and the Gospel in this life, but those who don't have it here will have a chance to have everything later.
I don't think "The Church" encourages elitism; I think mortality encourages elitism, and "The Church" is a product of mortality. I think "pure Mormonism" discourages elitism - but it's SO hard to get rid of that blasted natural tendency to separate us and distinguish us and lift ourselves at the expense of others.
It's motes and beams and pruning trees.
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