Friday, October 14, 2016

History Tells Us All Extraordinary Leaders Were Flawed

I have studied enough history to know that pretty much every extraordinary person who changed history in a significant way was deeply flawed in some way - or can be dismissed easily by someone who doesn't want to accept him or her as what s/he claimed to be.

Seriously, from a non-Christian perspective, without the Savior and Redeemer reinterpretation of the promised Messiah's mission, Jesus of Nazareth was an abject failure - just one of multiple rabble-rousers and would-be-reformers killed by the Romans in that era. I'm not saying he failed or that he was just another guy who got lucky by having Saul/Paul spread his message; I'm saying it is the easiest thing in the world to look at his life and laugh at the claims about him. They simply aren't supported by "the facts" - but I still have no problem believing he actually could have been God's chosen representative to save and exalt His children. I can take that literally or figuratively - or both. I love what he taught, so I accept it came from God - even as I understand the intellectual questions that can't be answered satisfactorily.

Moses was an escaped murderer; Samson's sexual obsession with an untrustworthy person led to his capture, blindness, and eventual death; David's lust caused him to conspire to murder his desire's husband and eventually led to civil strife and the death of his son; Noah got dead drunk and fathered his own grandchild; Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son to his god (which is seen only as acceptable because future generations saw a Christ-type in the story); Gandhi had some weird issues; Winston Churchill was a mean drunk; etc. 

I admire Joseph Smith, overall, even as I don't accept some of the things he did as being of God but rather being a result of his natural man. I like that he described himself as a rough stone rolling and that he was the most chastised person, by far, in the D&C.

I just wish we all accepted his self-evaluation in those times of candor. It would allow us to accept him for the person he really was, not the caricature we have created in his place.