A friend of mine, an investigator, discovered the relationship that the convicted killer, Mark Hoffman, had with Gordon B. Hinckley during the time Hoffman was selling forgeries to President Hinckley and the Church. The missionaries teaching the investigator at first denied that President Hinckley had ever had a relationship with Hoffman, then couldn’t very well deny it when a non-Mormon friend of the investigator presented Salt Lake Tribune Articles from the Internet to her in the presence of the missionaries. My friend first asked me the question, “did Gordon B. Hinckley have the same power as the Apostle Peter had in New Testament times.” Good question. If so why was Hinckley deceived by a murderer?
Apostolic power is not the same thing as being a perfect being. Only Jesus Christ was perfect. Can Prophets and Apostles make mistakes? Of course. Half of the Doctrine & Covenants seems like the Lord was rebuking someone – including Brother Joseph – for pride, being deceived, etc.
Let us read in the Doctrine & Covenants 107:23 about the Apostolic office:
23 The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.
38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.
However, when an Apostle or Prophet is being “just a man”, he is able to make mistakes just like the rest of us.
Even Peter denied the Lord three times. Was Peter perfect in all things? No. He had his doubts too.
Does this information and event cause us to possibly doubt our leaders and possibly our faith? Of course it does. If everything was perfect and proven in the Gospel, it would be too easy to believe. There is always a reason to doubt. That’s why it’s called faith. That’s also why we are counseled to:
8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.
9 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong;
Always remember that we are to follow the Lord, and study the words of the Prophets. There is a difference. We are not to blindly follow any man, save Jesus Christ, as mortal men and women can make mistakes and possibly even deceive. We are to follow the Lord and listen to the Holy Ghost to know the paths and learn the truths we need for our lives and our eternal salvation.
Hope this helps.