What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
During today’s worldwide leadership training broadcast, Elder Holland discussed the importance of the family in the church and society at large. Speaking of the ideal family, he noted the reality that there are many who do not enjoy this situation in their own lives. Cognizant of this fact, Elder Holland stated that General Authorities teach general rules, ideas, and standards. These things are then applied specifically into our own lives, as applicable.
I found this to be an eloquent and adequate way of clarifying why our leaders continually champion the “ideal” (as Elder Holland mentioned several times). The vast membership of the church is as diverse as it is large, and therefore our general leaders cannot usually speak in specifics or provide customization to gospel principles, as such an effort would then isolate all those to whom the teaching did not apply.
Instead, they espouse and promote gospel standards that are to be sought after, general rules and guidelines that apply to all of God’s children, regardless of varying circumstances and experiences.
With an increasing (and increasingly diverse) church membership to direct, our general leaders must speak a language common to all, and therefore stick to the milk of the gospel. Such fundamental truths apply to everyone, regardless of age, sex, familial circumstances, profession, and life history. Our local leaders—those who understand our culture, circumstances, and troubles—can then offer specific application and detailed direction within the general gospel framework, tailoring gospel truths to our specific needs and situations.
It’s difficult to imagine what a burden it must be to lead such a worldwide organization and be the Lord’s mouthpiece, offering counsel that will be beneficial to all. We can rest assured, in light of such an arduous task, that God is at the helm and is directing his chosen servants to pass on the messages we all need to hear.