(June 6, 2015)
Understanding where to follow the Church, and where to follow the Lord, is a simple question in theory but a complex and difficult one to deal with in practice. We know and understand that the Church represents the
on Earth. We also know that the Priesthood authority is
the authority to act in His name, and that this authority has power even when
mistakenly used. Kingdom of God
At the same time, we understand that the Church is led by imperfect people. They make mistakes. There are doctrines that we hold, and assumptions that we make, that are almost certainly wrong. If we are not careful, the Church can actually become a stumbling block rather than an asset in our progress towards Eternal Life. If we allow the Church to supplant the Savior, we run the risk of being damaged by the mistakes made by our imperfect leaders.
The simple answer is that we follow the Church expect when the Lord tells us otherwise (which, of course, He does not often do). The Church has at its purpose to lead us to Christ, but it does not take the place of Christ. It is possible to have a relationship with Christ and not to have a relationship with His Church, just as it is possible to have a relationship with Christ’s Church and not have a relationship with Him.
What is key for each of us is to recognize the power and authority of the Priesthood (and its importance), to understand that the Church hierarchy has an important role to play in bringing us to Christ, but also to never let the Church displace the Savior in our lives.
The Lord healed on Sunday, when the policy of the Church (the Lord’s Church, mind you) was that such things should not be done. Nephi killed Laban when the policy of the Church (the Lord’s Church) was that whosoever killed should be put to death (and he killed an elder of the Church). We do not show respect for the Lord if we ignore His Church – we follow their counsel strictly, unless the Lord says otherwise. But if we are not open to revelation to direct us, we have allowed the Church to displace the Lord and that is not the plan, either.