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Dear Gramps,

On the question of inspiration to call leaders who may not be truly honest or worthy in their lives, they can use that opportunity to repent and mend their lives to follow the Lord. If they don’t correct themselves or until they do, are they worthy temple recommend holders? If they are not worthy, is the temple desecrated by their patronage?





Dear Anonymous,

There seems to be a penchant for demanding perfection on the part of our leaders, while, I imagine, allowing all sorts of liberties for our own behavior. Let me see if I can clarify the situation somewhat.

1) There are no perfect leaders–or followers. The Savior is the only sinless person.

2) Leaders are called by inspiration of the Lord from among the pool of people He has to work with.

3) The Lord honors and respects the authority that He has delegated to those who hold keys of the priesthood.

4) Those who hold the keys, i.e., who may call others to positions of responsibility, are responsible to Lord for the choices they make and for their own deportment while in office.

5) If those in office commit gross improprieties, they will be removed from office by the proper authorities. Until they are removed from office, their administration will be honored and accepted. –Let me give you one small example. The father of an eight-year-old child has committed a sin for which he will be excommunicated. At the time, his sin is unknown by the authorities and he is authorized by the bishop to baptize his child. After the baptism the sin comes to light and the father is excommunicated. Does the child have to be rebaptized? No! The father at the time held the requisite authority, and it is recognized by our Heavenly Father. Will the father be held accountable for his actions in sinning in the first place, in not confessing when he should have, and in performing a priesthood ordinance, knowing that he was unworthy to do so? Absolutely!!

6) If a priesthood authority who has committed a gross sin goes to the temple before it has become known and performs a vicarious ordinance, will that ordinance be valid? Yes!

7) Will the temple be desecrated by his presence? If so, it will be desecrated in commensurate degree by every person who enters, because no one who enters the temple is without sin.

8) When we raise our hands to sustain our leaders, that act is the sign of a covenant we make with the Lord that we will SUSTAIN them so long as they are in office. We are commanded not to judge others. “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:1-2).

If we demand our pound of flesh, requiring that others always act above reproach, we have condemned ourselves to the same harsh judgement that we impose on others.

How much better would it be if we all had forgiving hearts, and tried to help and uplift those who are struggling rather than censuring them for inappropriate behavior? The observance of inappropriate behavior should be a signal for help rather than a signal for condemnation. Someone said, “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heal that has crushed it.”





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