There are plenty of precedents. Barrett touches on a range of leadership transitions including those of Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science), L.Ron Hubbard (Scientology), Joseph Smith (Mormonism) and the founders of Jehovah's Witnesses (Charles Taze Russell and 'Judge' Rutherford). Such transitions, it seems, are no easy thing. Worldwide's, though, was worse than most.
"The successors to the founders of Mormonism and the Jehovah's Witnesses changed emphases within those religions; the Tkachs, father and son, changed their religion fundamentally. It was the extent of that change, and how the Tkachs achieved it, that created such shock, anger, and distrust..." (p.187)So, to look ahead to the next step, what happens when the 'alpha males' who now run most of the splinter groups pass on to their eternal (or perhaps infernal) reward? I've always thought that the most interesting and fragile transition ahead will be in Roderick Meredith's Living Church of God. Barrett quotes something I wrote in 2009 on possible disintegration. In contrast John Meakin is optimistic that all things "will carry on without [missing] a beat." We're both guessing, but if I was a betting man I'd put a $50 bill down on major eruptions.
There's more to Barrett's discussion of these matters, which lead into the penultimate chapter based on feedback from COG members and ministers (and I hasten to reassure Michael Snyder that this series will indeed reach a conclusion before too much longer, but it's also likely that the next installment will be longer than most!)
If I took away one thought from this section it would be a renewed appreciation of that old aphorism about those who ignore history being doomed to repeat it.