Despite the fact that church leaders remind us constantly that the Lord is at the head of the church, Uchtforf’s refreshing frankness here clarifies that it’s really men running things, and not the Lord. Once you see it, it’s clear that church leaders are merely men doing their best and stumbling along. They are not led by an all-powerful and all-knowing deity. If they were, how would they be making such basic mistakes?
Sometimes questions arise because we simply don’t have all the information and we just need a bit more patience. When the entire truth is eventually known, things that didn’t make sense to us before will be resolved to our satisfaction.
Sometimes there is a difference of opinion as to what the “facts” really mean. A question that creates doubt in some can, after careful investigation, build faith in others.
And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.
I suppose the Church would be perfect only if it were run by perfect beings. God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us—His imperfect children—and imperfect people make mistakes.Come, Join with Us, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Too many people think Church leaders and members should be perfect or nearly perfect. They forget that the Lord’s grace is sufficient to accomplish His work through mortals. Our leaders have the best intentions, but sometimes we make mistakes. This is not unique to Church relationships, as the same thing occurs in our relationships among friends, neighbors, and workplace associates and even between spouses and in families.God Is at the Helm, Elder M. Russell Ballard
Uchtdorf and Ballard admit that leaders are not perfect, that they make mistakes, and even that there “have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles.” He brushes over the mistakes and excuses these mistakes because none of us are perfect. We should expect imperfect people to make mistakes. This flies in the face of the claims that the Lord is in charge of this work and the ultimate authority.
God is at the helm. Never doubt it.God Is at the Helm, President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, April General Conference 1994
Now brethren, let it be understood by all that Jesus Christ stands at the head of this church which bears His sacred name. He is watching over it. He is guiding it. Standing at the right hand of His Father, He directs this work. His is the prerogative, the power, the option to call men in His way to high and sacred offices and to release them according to His will by calling them home. He is the Master of life and death.God Is at the Helm, President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, April General Conference 1994
The principles and procedures which the Lord has put in place for the governance of His church make provision for any such circumstance. It is important, my brethren, that there be no doubts or concerns about the governance of the Church and the exercise of the prophetic gifts, including the right to inspiration and revelation in administering the affairs and programs of the Church, when the President may be ill or is not able to function fully.
The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles, called and ordained to hold the keys of the priesthood, have the authority and responsibility to govern the Church, to administer its ordinances, to expound its doctrine, and to establish and maintain its practices.God Is at the Helm, President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, April General Conference 1994
This is the stone cut out of the mountain without hands that is rolling forth to fill the whole earth. And what we see today is but a foreshadowing of greater and more marvelous and wonderful things yet to come. I have only one regret, and that is that I am so old. But it will come—because it is the Lord’s work and he is at the helm…
Don’t worry. The Lord is at the helm. This is his church. He has made provisions for it to go forward under any set of circumstances that might face it.The Lord Is at the Helm, Gordon B. Hinckley, Of the First Presidency, March 6, 1994
These two mindsets and ideas are mutually exclusive. If the Lord is at the helm, we can trust the leaders and follow them with full confidence. But if leaders make mistakes too, how much confidence can we place in their leadership? We can’t have confidence in the church leaders when they admittedly make mistakes. Can we trust them? They desperately want our trust
You keep your eyes riveted on the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We will not lead you astray. We cannot. Let me tell you why. Every week that I am in town, I attend a meeting of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve on the fourth floor of the Salt Lake Temple. If you could see the process by which decision and direction comes from that meeting, you would have a deep sense of confidence and comfort that the will of the Lord is being taught by the leaders of the Church. So keep your eyes riveted on the leadership of the Church. While individuals may falter, the body of general Church leadership will remain steadfast and true. If someone tells you that they have received revelation that the First Presidency and the Twelve have not received, run away from them.When Shall These Things Be? Elder M Russell Ballard, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, March 12, 1996
Elder Ballard Claims Church Leaders Can Not Lead You Astray
Ballard claims church leaders can’t lead the church astray and that if anyone could see them at work in their meetings they’d see the Lord is in charge. But leaders also vaguely admit to making mistakes (no specific mistakes of course), but also challenge that we should never point out their mistakes because even criticizing them tears down the church.
They can’t have it both ways, either the Lord is at the helm, or imperfect men are in charge. If the Lord is at the helm, then he’s directing the church and leading everything. The Lord is omnipotent and perfect, so He would know what is coming and all the consequences of every action. He wouldn’t flounder or make administrative mistakes or reversals. The Lord wouldn’t claim to be offended when the church is referenced incorrectly.
Is the Lord there leading the church or are men in charge? Simple, plain men who hopefully are doing their best, but are imperfect, and sometimes make mistakes (even if they don’t apologize). Are they simple and well-meaning? Are they smart and deceitful? Do they want to retain their power, authority, and fame? What are your thoughts?