No question they are controlling. In fact, that is the opposite of naivety (which I am assuming is the stereotype the musical is making fun of?).<quoted text>
I don't know. The whole thing seems shakier than most. Joseph Smith was a known charlatan with a long criminal record. Everything was based on his own word as far as I can tell.
The Mormons are a very powerful, controlling, wealthy and secretive group.
They are listed as the 4th largest religion in the US, so they must be doing something right.
(I read that somewhere this weekend.)
What they are doing right is that they wrestled a homeland, using violence, and continued to build up their institutions over time. Hyper-organized.