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Dear Gramps,

I am struggling with the concept that all leaders are called by inspiration. I have had experiences where I have witnessed the behavior of the Bishops and Stake Presidents in my life to wonder about them. I have seen some incredibly insensitive statements and actions during my years in the church. The one that has always stuck with me is the Stake President who made the statement that he didn’t care what happened to me or my family because I had once called Salt Lake City concerning an issue that I couldn’t get answered locally in my ward. He later was called to be Regional Representative. I could never understand how that could happen other than those that called him didn’t know of his attitude. My Bishop here has told me how he knew someone who was called to be in a high position of leadership who was dishonest in his business dealings with others. My question is, How can this be if inspiration is the only way that one is called? Surely the Lord knows that the man is dishonest! Therefore I conclude that the person’s outward service was the main influence in his call.

Anonymous

 

Answer

 

Dear Anonymous,

Apparently you are of the opinion that the Lord only calls people without any faults to positions of leadership in the Church. If that were the case, the Church would be without leadership, for there are no people without faults.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8).

The Lord calls people to service in His kingdom for two reasons- one, to bless the lives of those whom they have the honor to serve, and two, to learn and grow in the gospel from the opportunity of serving others. I would imagine that at least fifty-one percent of the reason for practically every call in the Church is the latter. We grow more from serving, than from being served. Brigham Young said,

With all the rest of the good that you can commit to memory, be sure to recollect that the Gospel of salvation is expressly designed to make Saints of sinners, to overcome evil with good, to make holy, good men of wicked, bad men, and to make better men of good (Discourses of Brigham Young, p.448 – p.449.)

If we are consumed with criticism for the faults of others we make ourselves bitter and unhappy. Often those of whom we are critical have no idea of our attitude, so the only person we hurt is ourselves. When I was in basic training in Shepard Field, Texas in 1942 I went to Church in a little branch of the Church in Wichita Falls. It happened to be some sort of a conference, and Elder Harold B. Lee, of the Council of the Twelve, was the speaker. During his talk he made a simple statement that somehow touched my heart in such a way that I have never forgotten it. He simply said, “Be kind, forgiving and overlook the faults of others.”

The burden of a bishop is a heavy one. He needs all the support that he can get. We needn’t demand that he be without fault, or that all his judgments and decisions be impeccable. Let him pursue his administration according to the dictates of his own conscience. If we have raised our hands to sustain him as bishop, we are obligated to the Lord to do all we can to aid, support, assist and help him to succeed in his calling. We don’t need to agree with his decisions or his direction, but discretion would dictate that we keep such differences to ourselves to ensure that we don’t promote disunity in the Ward. Then, if we are faithful and serve where we can with diligence, the Lord may call us, with all our faults, to be the bishop.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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