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.
Not often but over the years some sources have suggested that the Brethren are out of touch in their declarations, that they don’t know the issues, that some of their policies and practices are out-of-date, not relevant to our times.
As the least of those who have been sustained by you to witness the guidance of this Church firsthand, I say with all the fervor of my soul that never in my personal or professional life have I ever associated with any group who are so in touch, who know so profoundly the issues facing us, who look so deeply into the old, stay so open to the new, and weigh so carefully, thoughtfully, and prayerfully everything in between. I testify that the grasp this body of men and women have of moral and societal issues exceeds that of any think tank or brain trust of comparable endeavor of which I know anywhere on the earth. I bear personal witness of how thoroughly good they are, of how hard they work, and how humbly they live. It is no trivial matter for this Church to declare to the world prophecy, seership, and revelation, but we do declare it. It is true light shining in a dark world, and it shines from these proceedings.
—Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Prophets in the Land Again”, October 2006 General Conference
That right there, ladies and gents, is by far my favorite quote from this General Conference. Elder Holland’s power and presence convey his message so much the better while watching the video rather than simply reading the transcribed words. I was flabbergasted when I heard this message. To hear an Apostle of the Lord openly declare the awareness of he and his colleagues to the issues facing the world was reassuring, comforting, and inspiring.
Many people have felt that the church leadership has outdated policies, with these elderly men being too conservative and traditional for our world today. But it matters not in which direction the world goes—the Church and its leaders must remain constant, steadfast, enduring to the end. They cannot “drift” with the world. Nor can we.
Some have also felt that the church leaders are not fully aware of the current political situations, secret combinations within and without the government, and the status of the wars and rumors of wars in countries near and far. Elder Holland boldly declared that such is not the case.
They are well aware of what is going on. They know. And I find comfort in that.