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Question

 

Dear Gramps,
I have been struggling with the concept that everything the bishop tells me is from the Lord. I have been a member for over 40 years and had various bishops. It appeared to me that some were more in tune than others. I had one bishop tell me that he favored the the women’s side during counseling as he felt bad about the way he had treated his wife. I also was told by a member of the high council that at times callings are made more because of political reasons than by inspiration. I cannot understand how this all plays when we are told that people are called by inspiration. The only solution I have had to keep from being affected is to have faith that the Lord allows things like this to happen because of the gift or free agency. Also I know that the gospel is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet. Without this knowledge, I would have a harder time dealing with these issues. Can you explain how things like this can be explained?
Peter, from Oak Harbor, Washington

 

Answer

 

Dear Peter,
If you know that the gospel of the Mormon Church is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that you understand the gift of free agency, why do these other things bother you at all? There has been only one perfect man to have lived on the face of the earth. It would seem unfair to expect perfection from others merely because they have been called to positions of responsibility in the Lord’s kingdom. There is a little couplet that may well apply in this situation—

Authority must always be conferred; it can never be acquired.

Experience must always be acquired, it can never be conferred.

Someone said on one occasion,

“The Lord makes some people bishops just to see if the people can stand them.”

So, let’s relax a little. Allow others to be as imperfect as we are, realizing that they will grow from their experience. Another little couplet that may be worth repeating is that—

Good judgement comes from experience;

Experience comes from bad judgement.

With all, the Lord is at the helm. This is His Church, and it is His training ground for those whom He is calling to positions of the highest responsibility in His eternal kingdoms. The true philosophy of calling people to serve in the Church is not to ask,

“Who would be the best person to fill this position of service?”

but

“What would be the best position of service for the growth and development of this person?”

Nephi quoted well the concept of incremental growth through service—

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have (2 Ne 28:30).

 

Gramps

 

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