(October 1, 2014)
I am often reminded of the joke that the Catholic Church teaches that the leaders are infallible and nobody believes it while the Mormon Church teaches that leaders are fallible and nobody believes it. But fallible leadership is a constant throughout the history of the
on Earth. There are those who, like Joshua, make
mistakes while trying their best. And
there are those, like the priest having oversight of the chamber of the house
of God, who deliberately chose evil for personal gain. Kingdom
Neither the mistakes nor the evil choices of high leaders of the Church make a difference in whether the Church is true or not. Many have attacked Joseph Smith over the nearly two centuries since the First Vision. Most of their attacks are illegitimate or false, but a portion are legitimate and true. But even if every hostile word ever said about the Prophet were true, it would not matter. The only question is, is this God’s Prophet? Or, put another way, if Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God, then judgments as to his personal righteousness are no more relevant to us than judgments about the righteousness of our bishop. If this is God’s work (and it is), we should not depart from it because occasionally our fellow-servants are either weak or evil.