Contents of One-Minute Answers
Did Church Leaders Have Weaknesses?
Question: How can Latter-day Saints believe the LDS Church is
true in view of the weaknesses of the early Church leaders?
LDS critics are fond of revealing examples of
character weaknesses occasionally exhibited by our Church leaders. The
purpose of their accusations is usually an attempt to discredit the person
in order to discredit the message he proclaims. This oft-used ploy is a
form of hypocritical judgment that all Christians have been commanded to
avoid (Matt. 7:1-5).
As we examine the scriptures, we find that when God has a work to be
done, he sometimes chooses individuals whom the world might consider the
most unlikely people to perform his tasks, i.e., David the shepherd boy,
Matthew the tax collector and Saul (Paul), the persecutor of Christians.
The Apostle Paul observed:
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men
after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath
chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath
chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty
(1 Cor. 1:26-27).
The weaknesses of God's servants are not hidden. It is by divine design
that they are preserved for our benefit. For instance,
God's latter-day choice of servants compares favorably with his early day
selection. Those who would point to a man's weakness to discredit his message
or calling have either not read the Bible or have chosen to ignore what
they have read. Let he who is "without sin" be the first to condemn God's
servants for being imperfect. In doing so, these critics may wish to remember
that "with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged" (Matt. 7:2).
Noah lay naked in a drunken stupor (Gen. 9:21), and yet Noah is described
as "a just man and perfect in his generations" (Gen. 6:9).
Moses, whose violent actions led to the death of an Egyptian (Ex. 2:11-14),
and who later would be prohibited by God from entering the promised land,
was God's choice as the redeemer of Israel.
Jonah, who fled from God's presence (Jonah 1:3), was nevertheless the man
whom God chose to deliver his message to Nineveh.
Peter's pitiful denials of the Master (Luke 22:54-62) didn't prevent him
from becoming the leader of the fledgling church.
Anti-Mormon detractors would do well to recall, also, that during the
past several decades numerous nationally known televangelists, preachers,
priests, and other church officials from among the ranks of "orthodox Christianity"
have been publicly exposed, defrocked, removed from office, and in some
instances sent to jail by civil authorities. Does their unseemly behavior
automatically make their churches false?
In the light of Paul's profound observation that "all have sinned, and
come short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23) all denominations are compelled
to recognize that neither their members nor their leaders are completely
blameless individuals—God does his work through imperfect people.