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Evil Speaking Of The Lord’S Anointed. When Do We Go Too Far?


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I had the privilege of seeing live the last Conference talk of Elder Bruce R McConkie. It was one of the greatest sermons I have ever heard. Even though he said things (that btw he mellowed on and moderated later in life) that upset some, he has become a favorite whipping buy non-Mormons and Mormons alike. Elder Packer has been through the same. Some have even saddled Joseph Fielding McConkie with the perceived errors of his father. Too much in academia, scripture is no longer quoted with authority (or as the final authority in an effort to seek the ‘praise of the world’. (Granted this is my opinion but I am not alone.

When do you go too far?

When are they allowed to have opinions like others without worrying about being PC?

Also, do we have the right to make apologies for what these men say when others mock?

As for Bruce R…I loved the guy. I once received a blessing at the hands of Paul H Dunn and I love him and I make no apologies. As I try to remind many…God works with flawed men because that is all he has to work with.

The only difference between them and us, is we don’t have people hanging off every word we speak, or seeking to exploit our words.

Again where is the line for those of us who promise not to speak evil of these men every time we enter the Temple?

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the line is where you draw it for yourself. I think part of the issue is so many people rely on personal opinion books written by LDS Leaders. BRM and JFM have both written things which I do not believe comport with the Gospel. BRM repudiated some of his writings/statements. Another difficulty is what is Official in terms of the Church and its leaders? There is not a clear answer, therefore everyone gets to argue that their stance is correct. Some claim everything spoken over the GC pulpit is Official others claims anything spoken must then be published by the Church to be Official, while others claim anything a LDS Authority says is free game against the speaker. All in all what happens is cunning craftiness to blind others.

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Again where is the line for those of us who promise not to speak evil of these men every time we enter the Temple?

I think if you've become a Baptized member of the Church, and taken upon yourself the name of Christ (Anointed) you are the Lord's anointed. A more narrow interpretation might be those who have participated in the Anointing rituals in the Temple.

This isn't limited to General Authorities.

Pointing out errors isn't speaking ill. Mocking and trashing them, are. I respect President Brigham Young, Elder McConkie, and President Joseph Fielding Smith, and Elder Nelson, and President Packer. I highly disagree with their views on some things, believe strongly they were/are mistaken on certain topics, but I have great respect for their callings, and for their Special Witnesses of the Savior, and for the VAST majority of their life and service.

It is very hard not to become cynical at times. But to note that an individual had an erroneous understanding of something is not to speak evil of them. To call them idiots, or to name-call or mock them for these percieved faults, however, I do feel falls into the spirit of speaking Evil. So does accusing them of malicious intent. This, I think, is the key element - accusations of maliciously intended or willfully sinful actions.

If we publicly accuse them of being liars and decievers, then yes, that is evil speaking of them. Saying they are off track in some things is not.

Edited by David T
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I had the privilege of seeing live the last Conference talk of Elder Bruce R McConkie. It was one of the greatest sermons I have ever heard. Even though he said things (that btw he mellowed on and moderated later in life) that upset some, he has become a favorite whipping buy non-Mormons and Mormons alike. Elder Packer has been through the same. Some have even saddled Joseph Fielding McConkie with the perceived errors of his father. Too much in academia, scripture is no longer quoted with authority (or as the final authority in an effort to seek the ‘praise of the world’. (Granted this is my opinion but I am not alone.

When do you go too far?

When are they allowed to have opinions like others without worrying about being PC?

Also, do we have the right to make apologies for what these men say when others mock?

As for Bruce R…I loved the guy. I once received a blessing at the hands of Paul H Dunn and I love him and I make no apologies. As I try to remind many…God works with flawed men because that is all he has to work with.

The only difference between them and us, is we don’t have people hanging off every word we speak, or seeking to exploit our words.

Again where is the line for those of us who promise not to speak evil of these men every time we enter the Temple?

No line, I love them all especially Bruce R.

I don't agree with some of the things he said, but that's ok - I don't think he would agree with all I say either.

He was a great, great, and inspired man who loved God with all his heart. I would only wish I could be like him.

Who says we all have to agree to be brothers in the gospel?

Edited by mfbukowski
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I think if you've become a Baptized member of the Church, and taken upon yourself the name of Christ (Anointed) you are the Lord's anointed. A more narrow interpretation might be those who have participated in the Anointing rituals in the Temple.

This isn't limited to General Authorities.

Pointing out errors isn't speaking ill. Mocking and trashing them, are. I respect President Brigham Young, Elder McConkie, and President Joseph Fielding Smith, and Elder Nelson, and President Packer. I highly disagree with their views on some things, believe strongly they were/are mistaken on certain topics, but I have great respect for their callings, and for their Special Witnesses of the Savior, and for the VAST majority of their life and service.

It is very hard not to become cynical at times. But to note that an individual had an erroneous understanding of something is not to speak evil of them. To call them idiots, or to name-call or mock them for these percieved faults, however, I do feel falls into the spirit of speaking Evil. So does accusing them of malicious intent. This, I think, is the key element - accusations of maliciously intended or willfully sinful actions.

If we publicly accuse them of being liars and decievers, then yes, that is evil speaking of them. Saying they are off track in some things is not.

On the other hand, what fully constitutes "evil speaking"?

Disagreeing? Not to me!

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Again where is the line for those of us who promise not to speak evil of these men every time we enter the Temple?

I would say that when it is profoundly immoral, wicked, and depraved, especially when regarded as a supernatural force. So the threshold depends on how much light we possess, which is where the "supernatural force" comes into play.

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me personally - it is difficult. I fear I cross that line at times. I do not try to speak evil of them but I also feel for me it hard to discuss tough issues at time without at least putting them in context of who shared the view or comment or experience and the reason it causes a frustration... not justifying in any way.... like I said I likely go to far to get my point across.

Edited by reelmormon
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I have noticed in life that people can justify any action or statement they make against the Church, the General Authorities, or the Savior Himself. But really in the whole scheme of things it does not really matter what those who become "accuser's of the brethren" say... when the Lord comes those who have been wise and taken the Holy Spirit for their guide will not be decieved... whereas those who constantly point their mocking fingers at those partaking of the fruit of the tree of life will perish in that great and spacious building when the pride of the world finally tumbles to the earth as Nephi said:

"And it came to pass that I saw and bear record, that the great and spacious building was the pride of the world; and it fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that shall fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb." (Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 11:36)
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On the other hand, what fully constitutes "evil speaking"?

Disagreeing? Not to me!

Nope. But insulting someone or calling them an idiot or apostate or the like because they disagree with you, however, would probably fall into that category. Also, insinuations that they are intentionally lying to prove their point. I think it involves giving a benefit of the doubt in intention and desires.

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Nope. But insulting someone or calling them an idiot or apostate or the like because they disagree with you, however, would probably fall into that category. Also, insinuations that they are intentionally lying to prove their point. I think it involves giving a benefit of the doubt in intention and desires.

Sounds reasonable.

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The only difference between them and us, is we don’t have people hanging off every word we speak, or seeking to exploit our words.

If there is a problem with the members of the Church expecting too much from the Apostles and Prophets, and "hanging off every word" they speak too much, it is a problem of the Church's making.

LDS don't wake up one morning and say "Hey, today I'm going to pick a group of men and put way too much stock in what they say", and randomly pick who they're going to over-esteem.

No, we focus on their words and expect them to not get stuff wrong because we have been taught our whole lives that this is what we're supposed to do. It's the apologists that constantly tell us that we need to temper our consideration of their words with personal revelation, science, and common sense. You won't find the Church actually teaching that anywhere.

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If there is a problem with the members of the Church expecting too much from the Apostles and Prophets, and "hanging off every word" they speak too much, it is a problem of the Church's making.

LDS don't wake up one morning and say "Hey, today I'm going to pick a group of men and put way too much stock in what they say", and randomly pick who they're going to over-esteem.

No, we focus on their words and expect them to not get stuff wrong because we have been taught our whole lives that this is what we're supposed to do. It's the apologists that constantly tell us that we need to temper our consideration of their words with personal revelation, science, and common sense. You won't find the Church actually teaching that anywhere.

Ah, would that some GA would cite this statement of Good old Parley Pratt in General Conference: An understanding of Theology comes as "gathered from revelation, history, prophecy, reason and analogy" - Parley P. Pratt, A Key to the Science of Theology

Elder Oaks came close: There are "threefold sources of truth about man and the universe: science, the scriptures, and continuing revelation" - Dallin H Oaks, Fundamental Premises of our Faith

Edited by David T
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I think that the only authority we have in the Church is the authority (the responsibility) to administer the ritual ordinances with which individuals in the community renew their Covenants in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit of Wisdom, who we elected by Common Consent before the foundation of the world (cf. Articles of Faith 1:5). Having authority bestowed upon us by the laying on of hands does not suddenly grant us infallibility or immunity from exterior scrutiny; to the last day of his life, I think Joseph Smith was pondering and searching and yearning for more wisdom, studying things out in his mind and learning line upon line, precept upon precept. I'm certainly glad my Elder's Quorum class doesn't walk on eggshells trying not to offend me just because I've been called and sustained as their teacher and they're worried they'll be excommunicated if they disagree with one of "the Lord's Anointed" on an obscure doctrinal or historical or scientific issue.

D&C 107 speaks of us Anointed Ones having the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, the mysteria, the "secret rite or doctrine" which I interpret as the Temple Drama which opens the Heavens to us and forms a Template out of a Sacralized History to give context to our lives. D&C 84 teaches that the "greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest. And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh." [Emphasis added.]

This has nothing to do with "authority" in the sense of unquestionable infallibility; as D&C 1:24 teaches, "these commandments are of [God], and were given unto [His] servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding. [Emphasis added.] And inasmuch as they erred it might be made known; and inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed; and inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent; and inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time."

The weak servants -- the entire Church, from the lowliest ward clerk to the President -- are in the process of coming to an understanding of Godliness. It's a continuum, where we're all at different points along our evolution of eternal progression.

It's all about the Keys to the Drama which frames our lives by Endowing us with Knowledge. "Power" is to be able, to be potent, to effect change. It's not "Use The Force, Luke"; the structure of the Church allows us the organization needed to bind people together. D&C 138 teaches that when we are "clothed with power and authority" we are being ordained as Messengers, "angels" who are "commissioned [...] to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness."

We have the privilege of communing with the general assembly and the Church of the Firstborn. From this larger overarching Priesthood, we split off into our separate offices which take on various mundane responsibilities and tasks, but they're all subsumed as appendages to that highest eternal cosmological Priesthood which is without father, without mother, and without descent.

In this organizational structure, we hold various Keys in which we are authorized to administer Blessings by acting as Spokespersons, presiding and officiating as Mouthpieces working on behalf of the community. Blessings are not, to my mind, mystical magical powers, they're the true power, the deeper magic of love and mutual service. We pronounce Blessings on each other not the way that spells are cast in Harry Potter by tapping into arcane metaphysical energies, but rather by speaking words which communicate intelligence.

It's a reshaping of perceptual reality that's the true power. It's speaking kind Words as a trusted member of the Divine Council with the authority of sincere Truth which commandeth the "unclean spirits" to come out of the people the Anointed One healed. As D&C 128 states: "it may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of -- a power which records or [in other words] binds on earth and binds in heaven." "Binding", "recording", "sealing" -- these are ways of forming links between people, bridging the subjective distance between individual Uncreated Intelligences.

Only when these things are done "faithfully" do they have any power in them. The Church exists as a vast interconnected network of promises linking and binding individuals into an enormous web in which they give worth to each other rather than fragmenting and flying off into the outer darkness. In Helaman, that's how Nephi and Lehi "had power and authority given unto them that they might speak, and they also had what they should speak given unto them." 1 Nephi 10:22 shows how it is Nephi's faithfulness which allows the "Holy Ghost [to] giveth authority that [Nephi] should speak these things, and deny them not."

At the same time, Joseph Smith was very clear that it don't prove a man isn't a good man just because he errs in doctrine, and the minute we try to compel others to believe as we do, our supposed "authority" is withdrawn. Our leaders are not exempt from this. As D&C 134 says, "we do not believe that any religious society has authority to try men on the right of property or life, to take from them this world’s goods, or to put them in jeopardy of either life or limb, or to inflict any physical punishment upon them." To try to destroy man's agency is the plan of every Accuser. As Proverbs 29:2 says, "when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn," meaning that -- clearly -- mere "authority" is not synonymous with "righteousness", and the people are perfectly justified in making up their own minds.

Indeed, the Book of Mormon is constantly and consistently proclaiming that authority means nothing if the works of Justice are destroyed. God would cease to be God if He behaved unrighteously, and that's not an idle threat or mere rhetoric. Some of the worst offenders in the Book of Mormon are those who seek after authority; for instance, in Mosiah 24:8 we are shown how "it came to pass that Amulon began to exercise authority over Alma and his brethren, and began to persecute him, and cause that his children should persecute their children." He exercised authority, and used it to do bad things. The threat of apostasy from true teachings is not idle.

(Alma 60:28: "Yea, behold I do not fear your power nor your authority, but it is my God whom I fear; and it is according to his commandments that I do take my sword to defend the cause of my country, and it is because of your iniquity that we have suffered so much loss." It is the influence of various Accusers who stir "up of the people to do all manner of iniquity, and to the puffing them up with pride, tempting them to seek for power, and authority, and riches, and the vain things of the world.")

In the end, the best demonstration of how the power of Heaven really works is the utterly mindblowingly revolutionary tenets described in D&C 121, where perfect love casteth out all fear:

"Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson -- that the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness."

"That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man. Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God."

"We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. Hence many are called, but few are chosen. No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile -- reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; that he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death."

"Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever."

Persuasion is only effective when it's undertaken without compulsory means? Actions are only effective insofar as the principles of righteousness are adhered to? The only authority, in the end, is truth, is righteousness, is love. This is not authoritarianism, this is sheer glorious Enlightenment philosophy. This is the Renaissance. This is the Restoration of the infinite dignity and worth of humanity. We're taught true principles in order to govern ourselves.

Edited by JeremyOrbe-Smith
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Vocabulary is very important if we want to communicate to the general membership. A word to the wise from an old guy.

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Nope. But insulting someone or calling them an idiot or apostate or the like because they disagree with you, however, would probably fall into that category. Also, insinuations that they are intentionally lying to prove their point. I think it involves giving a benefit of the doubt in intention and desires.

Which no one has done here thankfully.

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No, we focus on their words and expect them to not get stuff wrong because we have been taught our whole lives that this is what we're supposed to do. It's the apologists that constantly tell us that we need to temper our consideration of their words with personal revelation, science, and common sense. You won't find the Church actually teaching that anywhere.

I think this board has gone a long way in showing how the Chrurch does tell us to do these things.

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I think that the only authority we have in the Church is the authority (the responsibility) to administer the ritual ordinances with which individuals in the community renew their Covenants in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit of Wisdom, who we elected by Common Consent before the foundation of the world (cf. Articles of Faith 1:5). Having authority bestowed upon us by the laying on of hands does not suddenly grant us infallibility or immunity from exterior scrutiny; to the last day of his life, I think Joseph Smith was pondering and searching and yearning for more wisdom, studying things out in his mind and learning line upon line, precept upon precept.

As the scriptures point out Christ did as well. Joseph was not great because he did not have weaknesses, but for all he did dispite those weaknesses.

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Not much towards the General Authorities. However, it has been done and continues to be done on many occasions by Church members to other Church members on this board.

True enough...sometimes by just dismissing out of hand what another says. Others may ingnore just because they do not believe you are worthy to address. We all have a long way to go!

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I think this board has gone a long way in showing how the Chrurch does tell us to do these things.

This board = "apologists"

LDS.org = "The Church"

If you want to make the case that The Church is open to the idea of us tempering the words of the Prophets and Apostles with personal revelation, science, or common sense, you need to provide support from Church published talks and curriculum.

I'll save you some time and tell you that it just isn't there. The Church teaches us (constantly and consistently) that we should always believe the Prophets and Apostles and do what they say. We may also be told to pray about it and get personal revelation, but that is only to get a confirmation of their words. The possibility that we might get personal revelation telling us that the Prophet or Apostles were wrong is never acknowledged, nor are we told what to do should this happen.

There are too many examples of the Church teaching this for me to even scratch the surface. But here are some good places to start:

The Gospel Principles lessons on "Prophets" and "Obedience":

Prophets of God

Obedience

Elder Andersen said it very clearly in this talk:

When the Lord called twelve disciples in the Americas after His Resurrection, He taught the people this: “Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants” (3 Nephi 12:1). In our day, in a very difficult time, the Lord promised the Saints, “If my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place” (D&C 124:45).

This is the Lord’s pattern. He calls 15 men from “the ordinary pursuits of life”7 and endows them with the keys and power to guide and direct us. We are not forced to obey; there is no compulsion. But if we will be attentive to their words, if we will be responsive and willing to change our behavior as the Holy Ghost confirms their counsel, we will not be moved out of our place—meaning we will hold fast to the iron rod and will forever remain safely on the path leading to the tree of life.

This is one of those areas where we've created an alternate reality on the internet, but it bears no relation to what the Church is actually teaching.

Edited by cinepro
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This board = "apologists"

LDS.org = "The Church"

If you want to make the case that The Church is open to the idea of us tempering the words of the Prophets and Apostles with personal revelation, science, or common sense, you need to provide support from Church published talks and curriculum.

I'll save you some time and tell you that it just isn't there. The Church teaches us (constantly and consistently) that we should always believe the Prophets and Apostles and do what they say. We may also be told to pray about it and get personal revelation, but that is only to get a confirmation of their words. The possibility that we might get personal revelation telling us that the Prophet or Apostles were wrong is never acknowledged, nor are we told what to do should this happen.

There are too many examples of the Church teaching this for me to even scratch the surface. But here are some good places to start:

The Gospel Principles lessons on "Prophets" and "Obedience":

Prophets of God

Obedience

Elder Andersen said it very clearly in this talk:

This is one of those areas where we've created an alternate reality on the internet, but it bears no relation to what the Church is actually teaching.

The Church has always taught that we should receive our own confirmation of the Spirit for what the General Authorities teach - as you quote here. The Church does not teach that we should blindly believe what we are told without understanding through the other witnesses we have been given - include the Spirit, our own intellect, and what we observe in the world around us.

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The Church has always taught that we should receive our own confirmation of the Spirit for what the General Authorities teach - as you quote here. The Church does not teach that we should blindly believe what we are told without understanding through the other witnesses we have been given - include the Spirit, our own intellect, and what we observe in the world around us.

If our Church is led by Apostles and Prophets who may, from time to time, stand at the pulpit and say something that is incorrect and shouldn't be followed, and Church members are able through The Spirit or some other means to detect these errors, then that would be something very important to acknowledge.

Even more importantly, the Church should tell the members what the proper course of action would be in such cases.

So, if that is the case, can you show me where the Church has acknowledged this possibility and helped us to understand what we should do?

To the contrary, this is a pretty clear example of what the Church wants the members to hear:

Some might call our actions blind obedience. But we have the Lord’s personal promise that the prophets will never lead us astray.3 Knowing this helps us hear their voices as we would hear His own (see D&C 1:38).

We’ve also learned that living prophets typically invite us to do things; they don’t often use words like command or exhort. Their way is kind and gentle, but that doesn’t give us an excuse not to follow. When Shelley and I have taken invitations as commandments, we have always been blessed.

We have also learned to discern their direction by listening for such phrases as “I’ve been pondering …” or “Something that has been on my mind is …” or “I feel to tell you …” or “Let me offer some counsel about …” or “It would be my hope that …” These and similar phrases are clues to help us know what is on the minds and in the hearts of the Lord’s anointed servants.

One other thing that helps us hear the Lord’s voice as we listen to prophets and apostles is to pay especially close attention when they quote other prophets or apostles. The Lord has taught that He will establish His word by the mouth of two or three witnesses (see 2 Corinthians 13:1; D&C 6:28).

Also this:

Obedience is a fundamental law of the gospel. It is not only the demonstration of our faith but also the foundation of our faith. But the philosophical standard of the world holds that unquestioning obedience equals blind obedience, and blind obedience is mindless obedience. This is simply not true. Unquestioning obedience to the Lord indicates that a person has developed faith and trust in Him to the point where he or she considers all inspired instruction—whether it be recorded scripture, the words of modern prophets, or direct inspiration through the Holy Ghost—to be worthy of obedience.

When our leaders say we don't have "blind obedience", it's not because sometimes we should be faithfully disobedient. It's because they are saying that our obedience is because of "faith", and if we have faith we aren't "blind". So it's an issue of semantics, not an acknowledgement that sometimes we can figure out for ourselves that our leaders were wrong.

Edited by cinepro
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A challenge:

Considering the dearth of discussion on this subject actually published by the Church, and the importance of this topic, I propose that any of the faithful LDS on this board help remedy the situation by submitting an article to the Ensign describing the doctrine of "fallible leaders", and sharing a time when they were told by the Spirit that an Apostle or Prophet was in error, and what happened as you declined to follow the erroneous counsel.

If, in reading that challenge, you chuckled at the idea of any such thing being published in the Ensign, then you know whether or not such and idea has any place in LDS culture.

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