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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Church Leadership Corruption: Discussion 8 Conclusions and Solutions

Since local Church leadership is lay leadership, local Church leadership is us – YOU and ME. My intent in writing this essay is so people can evaluate their own behavior, not label or malign others. It also assumes that local Church leadership at the stake and unit level is the only Church leadership corruption that needs to concern ordinary members today. Corrupt Church leadership ABOVE the stake level IS NOT addressed.
Please do not email the content of this blog to others. Send them the link to it, so they can read it here. It is the only way to avoid things getting altered.
Disclaimer: If anything I say violates scripture, modern revelation or current Church guidance like that contained in the Handbook, I withdraw it. I do not have direct access to all these materials, so I cannot be completely certain that what I am asserting is currently accurate. I hope the reader will absorb my general points and not pick at the details. Most of the details are for illustration purposes only.

These series of postings will consist of eight parts and be posted every three days according to the schedule below.
Discussion 8: Conclusions and Solutions -- Saturday, July 31


A.   Conclusions and Solutions

We can keep ourselves and our own houses in order.

Elder Donald L. Hallstrom tell us:

If you feel you have been wronged—by anyone (a family member, a friend, another member of the Church, a Church leader, a business associate) or by anything (the death of a loved one, health problems, a financial reversal, abuse, addictions)—deal with the matter directly and with all the strength you have.

He adds later:

Never let an earthly circumstance disable you spiritually. Donald L. Hallstrom, “Turn to the Lord,” Ensign, May 2010, 78–80.

We do not have control over what we are subjected to; but we can use our own power, authority, influence, money or information righteously. And, we also have control over how we react to what is imposed on us.

We are in charge of whether we walk the road of apostasy. In order to do His Will; we have to know what it is, then we have to do it.

We should avidly seek to implement authorized changes and to fear God more than we fear men. It is crucial that we be honest in all our dealings.

Making seemingly innocuous or unimportant changes in how the Lord has instructed his Church to operate is as much apostasy as making momentous changes. The only difference is the speed with which the changes take place.

We should seek to be inclusionary in all our Church responsibilities. Social cliques, generation gaps and other distinctions are not of God and have no place in his Church.

We should faithfully seek to serve and seek to make our service, in the Church and of the Church, anonymous, so far as we are able. Those that do not have already received their reward. (Matthew 6). 

We must also be humble. 

Real corruption in others is not for individual members to expose, identify or correct outside of official channels. Corruption in the Church is corruption in Church members, by its very definition.

This is a top down organization, not a true hierarchy, and should not be made into such. A democracy is a bottom-up system where the government gets its power and authority “from the people.” This is not where the Church’s power and authority comes from. It is appropriately a top-down organization and will always remain such.

Unfortunately, the Lord has had to constantly designate outside prophets to call corrupt people and corrupt Church leaders to repentance. This is what Lehi and Abinadi did.

There may have been others testifying against corruption at the same time, the difference would be that instead of being “called of God” they were called by themselves. I count myself among them. These blog postings are mine and this blog is a personal one.

I would caution you not to discount my ideas; just because you consider yourself faithful, have a current temple recommend and are worthy to hold Church callings. Wickedness or unrighteousness is not the absence of religion. It can be quite the opposite. Priestcrafts generally exist under the guise of religion. Communities such as the Zoramites and Amulonites built Churches, had Church leaders and some semblance of religious worship, despite their extreme wickedness.

The Church itself will not apostatize, so we can be confident that our leaders at the top can be relied on. But individuals are just as prone to apostasy as they ever were. We must guard against it by focusing on the scriptures, revelation from modern prophets and the guidance and counsel we receive from righteous Church leaders.

Sadly, I suspect much of the fallout from this series of blog postings will consist of nothing more than “shoot the messenger”, even if people can get past a knee-jerk reaction to the title and actually read what I have posted.

Only in a time of extreme apostasy, would it seem radical, controversial, or cause me to be labeled a trouble maker; because I advocate following the scriptures, modern Church prophets and their policies, guidelines and procedures.

I have one last suggestion to make that I have not covered previously: We should not fail to realize when a moral decision is necessary.

Yes, you have authority and power to do something, but should you? Should you have this activity? Should you have this event? Should this be done this way? Should we teach in this manner? Should we treat a person or persons this way?

We should be constantly asking ourselves these questions and more. We should not just kick into automatic pilot, doing what we have always done or others have always done. We need to examine the moral implications of all our actions and behaviors.

We should not cede this moral decision making responsibility to our leaders. We cannot say to ourselves that they are our leaders and we can let them decide what is right and what is wrong. I suspect that many of the people who took part in the Mountain Meadows Massacre assumed their local stake and unit leaders were acting properly and relied on this as a comfort. We should not make this mistake.

If a stake or unit leader told me to do something I knew was wrong, I would not do it. In fact, I have refused on occasion, and requested I be released as a result. I will not do something I know is counter to the Scriptures, instruction by prophets or against the policies and procedures of the Church, primarily the Handbook. I refuse to violate any of them even if I know a stake or unit leader will let me.

Elder Koelliker makes another statement we need to take to heart:
Studying and applying the righteous patterns of leadership, service, and worship taught in the scriptures will help our homes become sanctuaries of safety and fortresses of faith for our precious loved ones. May we have the wisdom in our leadership roles to shun our own reflection and instead seek to radiate the light of the Savior. 
It is our choice. We have the ability to act. Let us choose humility, a broken heart, a contrite spirit – the opposites of pride. I will close with further quotes from Elder Benson’s address on pride.

God will have a humble people. Either we can choose to be humble or we can be compelled to be humble. Alma said, “Blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble.” (Alma 32:16.)

Let us choose to be humble.
We can choose to humble ourselves by conquering enmity toward our brothers and sisters, esteeming them as ourselves, and lifting them as high or higher than we are. (See D&C 38:24; D&C 81:5; D&C 84:106.)

We can choose to humble ourselves by receiving counsel and chastisement. (See Jacob 4:10; Hel. 15:3; D&C 63:55; D&C 101:4–5; D&C 108:1; D&C 124:61, 84; D&C 136:31; Prov. 9:8.)

We can choose to humble ourselves by forgiving those who have offended us. (See 3 Ne. 13:11, 14; D&C 64:10.)

We can choose to humble ourselves by rendering selfless service. (See Mosiah 2:16–17.)
We can choose to humble ourselves by going on missions and preaching the word that can humble others. (See Alma 4:19; Alma 31:5; Alma 48:20.)

We can choose to humble ourselves by getting to the temple more frequently.
We can choose to humble ourselves by confessing and forsaking our sins and being born of God. (See D&C 58:43; Mosiah 27:25–26; Alma 5:7–14, 49.)

We can choose to humble ourselves by loving God, submitting our will to His, and putting Him first in our lives. (See 3 Ne. 11:11; 3 Ne. 13:33; Moro. 10:32.)

Let us choose to be humble. We can do it. I know we can.
I know we can too. I hope we do.

This series is now complete.


1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to thank-you for this series. I really needed it. We have had a situation in our unit and pride has been the source of all of it. My husband and I have left the unit and are attending another unit, with permission, and we are moving so we can go to the other unit now.
    Our problem had to do with sexual abuse and PTSD issues for me because a convicted sexual molester, not going through the proper priesthood channels, was allowed to bless the sacrament. It has been a horrible experience. Secrecy, stubborness, gossip and pride have made the people that I love in our unit turn into monsters.
    WE must as a people, be humble followers of Christ and serve each other, not just favor one member over the other, and not shun others if they voice a differing opinion or voice concern if the repentence process is not being followed. Satan is the father of all lies and force. If you feel you are being forced to conform to something that is clearly wrong and your local leaders aren't listening, because the someone who is in the wrong is in a clique or the power structure you need to find someone who will listen. We were blessed to have gotten some priesthood assistance help from someone outside our unit and stake, to get out of the pride loop that was going on in our unit and they are helping us now.
    We all have personal revelation and the holy ghost to guide each of us. We are in the last days and I truly feel that we all must be guided by the spirit, especially in the church itself, because that is where Satan will start. We are told that only the "Prophet of the Lord will not lead us astray". We must be careful not to follow blindly just because we sustain our local leaders. Thank-you again for this and may the Lord bless you for it!! :)

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