I will not and cannot follow someone down a path that I believe is highly destructive and morally wrong, even if that person is my mortal leader. At some point, that becomes a slippery slope and, with the wrong leader or command, suicidal. In other words, to cite our Article of Faith, in the end I simply must follow the dictates of my own conscience. I believe in following and obeying God, completely and without reservation; I believe in sustaining, supporting and respecting mortal leaders. People are not yet gods, and my "submission" to both is different in nature, just as they are different in nature.
Proposition 8 for California members was a
perfect example of this, in my opinion. Many members could sustain and support their leaders
but refuse to contribute their time and/or money to the campaign, while others sustained and supported their leaders by contributing. Sustaining and supporting does not have to mean walking in lock step to every mortal request as if it was eternal, divine command.
It's important to me to remember that the heart of
Lucifer's plan was, "I will make them do whatever I say, and I will
bring all of them back to you - in the exact same condition as they are
now, with no growth or progression." It's also important to remember that nothing should be commanded and obeyed solely "by virtue of the Priesthood". Growth and progression are found
in the lessons of both victories and defeats, success and failure - and
those have to be my own lessons to be most beneficial to me. I have to
"muddle in the middle" to a degree and find my own path, and I can't do that by
reflexively following OR not following other people. I have to walk my
own path amid the paths of my faith community - and that sometimes
includes doing things or not doing things contrary to the desire and/or
expressed request of my leaders. I can't treat my leaders as if I want them to enact Lucifer's plan - ceding the responsibility to exercise my agency and conscience - shutting down my mind and heart and asking or allowing them to treat me as a robot. I can't follow anything solely by virtue of the Priesthood or because they are my leaders.
I have to live with myself and
the choices I make (and who I become as a result), so I have to make those choices carefully and intentionally.
Lacking strong feelings otherwise, I support my leaders by doing what
they ask me to do, and there have been multiple times when my first reaction was negative but I accepted and followed anyway (either because those issues were not critical in my mind or because I came to agree upon further consideration) - but I don't do so when I feel strongly and deeply that I
must do differently.
Edith Russell: Associate Editor
7 hours ago