This post is a more in-depth response to the question I posed in last Friday's post:
On one hand, many people in the Bloggernacle would love it if church leaders stopped setting standards for lots of things – especially doctrinal and cultural standards that all must follow in order to be considered believing Mormons; on the other hand, there are lots of statements saying those same leaders should speak more forcefully about issues where problems are perceived.
At the heart of it all, I believe the real issue is whether we want leaders who dictate to us and squelch opposition by speaking out about everything or leaders who teach principles and allow people to govern themselves – or exactly where on that line we want them to be. My sense is that most people want leaders who will forcefully speak out about those issues that are important to those people – but shut up about those issues with which those people would disagree with what is said. In other words, generally speaking, we want leaders who agree with us and will change things to how we want them to be.
Some people want all apostles to be Elder McConkies or Pres. Youngs; others want all apostles to be Elder Wirthlins or Pres. Uchtdorfs.
Some people might hear only one instrument in their own ward or branch and stake – and they might get so attuned to hearing only that one instrument that they have a hard time hearing the others, but I believe there are FAR more unique instruments playing FAR more unique counter-melodies and harmonies than most people realize – largely because most of them play much more softly than the piercing piccolos. I also think that's true to a greater degree among apostles than most people realize - and I really like that.
I want our apostles, collectively, to be diverse enough to speak to all members, collectively. I want Elder McConkie and Elder Wirthlin - Pres. Smith(s), Pres. Young, Pres. Hinckley - Elder Tanner and Elder Maxwell, Pres. Brown and Pres. Packer - Paul, Peter, James and John. That can be uncomfortable for members who want to live in an echo chamber and hear only what they would say, but it is the only way of which I am aware to hear inspired messages I would not speak naturally - and I believe it is only in those moments of uncomfortable or unnatural recognition of my own current limitations that the most profound growth is possible.