Ushering ‘Authority’


It is an interesting thing to watch a man’s authority “go to his head.” I witnessed such a scene this a few summers past at a Orioles baseball game. According to his usher badge his name was “Bob.” He was in charge of the lower section of the stands where we sat to see the baseball game. It was a bit comical to watch as throughout the game he strutted around his assigned sections looking for something, anything, by which to exert his authority over the crowd. One fan stood up and cheered only to be reprimanded by “Bob” for blocking the view of other fans. The thing was, it was clear that the fan wasn’t blocking anybody’s vision of the game. The man protested and a somewhat heated conversation ensured. But “Bob” had made his point, he was in charge. I watched as he marched around the sections telling fans to put their feet down from the row in front, or other “dangerous” activities. It appeared to me that Bob really enjoyed his work. But it seemed that what he most relished about his job was the power he held over the fans. Yes, it appeared to me that Bob loved his job a little too much. Watching him “enjoy” his job reminded me of a scripture. It is found in the Doctrine and Covenants of the church, section 121, which says in part:

“We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as son as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” (vs. 39)

I don’t know why it is, but from my experience there is no truer statement. As the old saying goes, “power corrupts” and absolute power’ absolutely corrupts! You can see it in business, politics, the entertainment industry and in the sports arena. This “exercise” of unrighteous dominion has existed long before the foundation of this world. The history of the world is replete with examples of such abuse of power. From the beginning of time there have been wars between men over “wanting” of this authority. The desire by some to “exercise” unrighteous power over others has existed long before the foundation of this world. We even had a war in heaven over the desire of Satan to exercise dominion over us.

The scriptures state, regarding power:

“Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly, then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews of heaven” (D&C 121:45). When we live this way the great promise of the Lord is that:

“The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall slow unto thee forever and ever. (vs. 46)

How wonderful it is that those who use their “authority” righteously, will have an everlasting dominion. And it didn’t require any compulsion, just Christ-like characteristics of “persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness and meekness, love unfeigned. By kindness, pure knowledge and without guile.”

In watching “Bob” that night at the ballpark, I learned again, how careful we need to be in using whatever authority we have been given. May we remember to use it righteously in our homes, jobs, and at church.

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