When Opposition Is Not ‘Loyal’


Over the course of years I have listened to and followed, not always exact, but certainly with support, the brethren who have been called to preside over me. Sometimes it is not always clear as to the “whys” of the directions given but I have taken it in good faith that they are inspired and at a minimum, called of God to lead. I certainly have expressed my opinion on matters when asked, before final local decisions have been made. This however is not the same as openly questioning in public the leadership of the church on a local, regional or national level. To do so, to me, is an act of disloyalty and breeds disharmony. James E. Faust addressed this matter a number of years ago in one of his conference talks.

“In some legislative assemblies of the world, there are some groups termed the “loyal opposition.” I find no such principle in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Savior gave us this solemn warning: “Be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” (D&C 38: 27)

He continued- “Free discussion and expression are encouraged in the Church…However, the privilege of free expression should operate within limits. In 1869, George Q. Cannon explained the limits of individual expression: “A friend … wished to know whether we … considered an honest difference of opinion between a member of the Church and the Authorities of the Church was apostasy. … We replied that … we could conceive of a man honestly differing in opinion from the Authorities of the Church and yet not be an apostate; but we could not conceive of a man publishing these differences of opinion and seeking by arguments, sophistry and special pleading to enforce them upon the people to produce division and strife and to place the acts and counsels of the Authorities of the Church, if possible, in a wrong light, and not be an apostate, for such conduct was apostasy as we understood the term” (Gospel Truth, sel. Jerreld L. Newquist, 2 vols., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974, 2:276–77).

Faust then stated this- “There is a certain arrogance in thinking that any of us may be more spiritually intelligent, more learned, or more righteous than the Councils called to preside over us. Those Councils are more in tune with the Lord than any individual persons they preside over, and the individual members of the Councils are generally guided by those Councils.” (“Keeping Covenants and Honoring the Priesthood, Oct. 1993, GC).

Sometimes in our desire to be “broad-minded” we can be tempted by the teachings of the world to go against the council of the brethren who have been called to preside. This is a huge mistake and it’s ramifications not only affect our personal lives, but also that of our children, grandchildren and others. Our expressed opinions do matter and more people are listening to our words than we think. Pride often gets in the way of our faith. To be humble and submissive are attributes of Christ that help brindle our pride, while allowing us freedom of thought and expression.

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