(October 30, 2015)
I want to start this thought with a pair of stories – both on a similar theme.
The first of these was when I was riding in the car with a notable politician of some acclaim. He was speaking on the phone with a reporter, and I was amazed at this little peek behind the curtain at the political process. When the telephone call was finished, I turned to him and told him that I didn’t think I could ever do what he did. He began to explain to me that it wasn’t that hard, and started on the ins and outs of the political process. I then stopped him and told him that he had misunderstood me – I didn’t think that I could ever comfortably exercise that much power over people’s lives. The fear of the accountability and being called upon to account for my handling of such a stewardship would simply be overwhelming to me. He paused and then responded that he had never thought of things in that way.
The second story was shortly before my father left
West Virginia. He had been a staple in the Church for a
very, very long time (being in countless Bishoprics, being a Branch President,
and being on the High Council). They
were reorganizing the Bishopric and my father was being released. He stood and said:
“The scriptures say that a man who covets after the office of Bishop covets after a worthy thing indeed. I say he who covets after the office of Bishop is too damned dumb to have the job.”
There was silence after this (and you would have to know my father to know just how shocking it was that he would say ‘damned’ at all, much less from the pulpit in Sacrament meeting.
Here’s where both of those stories come together. The Lord, in Section 70, explicitly says that He will judge the leaders of this Church based upon their performance of their duties within their stewardship. I can only imagine how overwhelming that responsibility would be. Those who covet after Priesthood office (or power or leadership or anything of the sort) only could do so because they misunderstand what that leadership role is and intend to use it for exercising unrighteous dominion. No person, in my opinion, who understands the Priesthood aspires to Priesthood office.
So when our Priesthood leaders make mistakes (and they do – sadly I have been on the receiving end of some of those mistakes), may we extend the cloak of charity to them. I wouldn’t want their job, I wouldn’t want to face the Lord for making mistakes while in their office, and I hope that, to the extent that my opinion matters, they won’t have to face judgment by the Lord for the mistakes they have made in reference to me.