Petty3

Sustaining leaders

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I read this.   "Sustaining leaders involves more than just a raised hand—it means that we stand behind them, pray for them, accept assignments and callings from them, hearken to their counsel, and refrain from criticizing them."

Do you agree with it?  What if you know things that certain leaders have done that are wrong or unethical?  

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I think if we know that a leader has done something seriously wrong, or unethical, we need to report it to the appropriate authorities.  If we "stand behind them" that means supporting them in acting in RIGHTEOUSNESS.  If they are straying from that path, we can best help them (and those they may be hurting) by reporting them.  

I believe this phrase was meant to answer the question of what sustaining means.  Generally speaking, it is correct.  But it was not intended to be a blanket statement to cover every single situation that might arise.  For example, Judas betrayed Christ....could the disciples of that time have sustained Christ and Judas at the same time?  No.  Judas was not following the Lord.  One does not become instantly perfect when they are called to a leadership position.  They are still human, and I would guess that Satan puts extra evil pressure and temptation on them because of the damage one wicked leader can do.  

In a recent General Conferences, Elder Neil L. Andersen said, "A prophet does not stand between you and the Savior. Rather, he stands beside you and points the way to the Savior."  
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2018/04/the-prophet-of-god?lang=eng

This can also be applied to all our leaders.  

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7 hours ago, Petty3 said:

I read this.   "Sustaining leaders involves more than just a raised hand—it means that we stand behind them, pray for them, accept assignments and callings from them, hearken to their counsel, and refrain from criticizing them."

Do you agree with it?  What if you know things that certain leaders have done that are wrong or unethical?  

Yes, I agree with it. Leaders have leaders too, and if there are moral concerns these can be shared with them.

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IMO, it's not a simple "yes, unless" issue, and an awful lot hinges on what "wrong" or "unethical" means, on what calling we're talking about, and how the "wrong" act impacts the calling.  Even more hinges on how we came to our knowledge, and whether "wrong" is our conclusion or objective fact (it's amazing how easy it is to wrongfully conclude "that's wrong" while at the same time being certain we witnessed objective fact).  The details make a huge difference here and make it almost impossible to discuss theory.  For the sake of this post, let's just remove criminal activity (thus we've removed things like a primary teacher abusing children, or a bishop extorting sexual favors, or a clerk stealing cash).

Every person on the planet sins.  It is probable that every person on the planet, at some time or other, has been unethical in some way.  If we decide that we should only sustain those who don't sin and those who are 100% ethical all the time, none of us is getting sustained.

7 hours ago, Petty3 said:

"Sustaining leaders involves more than just a raised hand—it means that we stand behind them, pray for them, accept assignments and callings from them, hearken to their counsel, and refrain from criticizing them."

I cannot imagine a situation wherein we should not pray for someone.  It seems unlikely there's a good reason to criticize a person in the performance of their calling - even if they are sinning - and never in public.  If a person is doing something which warrants your action, your action should likely be to go find the appropriate priesthood leader and speak to them.  It's possible that you should speak to the wrong-doer and offer assistance.

Accepting callings/assignments and acting on a person's counsel depend on a zillion variables.

Perhaps I've talked myself into some general principles:

  • Study the gospel and gain your own testimony of the truth and ability to be guided by the Spirit
  • Use your brain
  • Recognize that no matter what the calling is, the person in it is human and capable of both inspiration and error
  • Forgive others, don't judge unrighteously, pray for and help your fellow humans to do right
  • Don't gossip or betray confidences; criticism should be kept to yourself (and perhaps a priesthood leader in a position to counsel the wrong-doer)

Meh.  Too hard to talk about this kind of thing without details.  Do what brings you and others closer to Christ.  That seems like a good rule of thumb.

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3 minutes ago, zil said:

Meh.  Too hard to talk about this kind of thing without details.  Do what brings you and others closer to Christ.  That seems like a good rule of thumb.

Yes!  I agree.  

Because I am a survivor of childhood abuse, I know a lot of women (and men) who are survivors as well.  My abuser was NOT LDS, but for some of my friends their abusers were LDS were serving in some calling or another.   This question about sustaining leaders is a hot topic among them right now, and I suspect that is what Petty is referring to.

I agree with you that this is a VERY broad topic.  For example, one of my kids mentioned that a (previous) Bishop of ours texted while driving.  I was not happy to hear about that since my child had been in the car with him.  But that is a matter to talk to him about personally, not to report to the Stake President or the police, or even to gossip with a friend about.  If I saw my Stake President walking into a grocery store on Sunday, I would assume he has a very good reason and not mention it to anyone.   In cases of abuse, I would report it to the police.  So yeah, there's a full gambit here.  

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7 hours ago, Petty3 said:

I read this.   "Sustaining leaders involves more than just a raised hand—it means that we stand behind them, pray for them, accept assignments and callings from them, hearken to their counsel, and refrain from criticizing them."

Do you agree with it?  What if you know things that certain leaders have done that are wrong or unethical?  

Yes, I agree with it. If we know of evils done by certain leaders, then we have seen their human weaknesses. If those evils are germane to their leadership position, then our obligation is to let their presiding authorities know; for example, if the evils we know of are evidence of rank hypocrisy. Similarly, if those evils are illegal in nature, it is perhaps our duty to report that to law enforcement.

But if they swore at us once, or we witnessed them kick their dog, or they treated our children unkindly six years ago, then perhaps it's our duty to forgive them and sustain them in this new chapter of their lives, assuming they are trying to put all those petty evils behind them in accepting new responsibilities.

Here is the blunt truth: If only the perfect hold leadership positions, then the Church will go leaderless.

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3 minutes ago, LiterateParakeet said:

For example, one of my kids mentioned that a (previous) Bishop of ours texted while driving.  I was not happy to hear about that since my child had been in the car with him.  But that is a matter to talk to him about personally, not to report to the Stake President or the police, or even to gossip with a friend about.

Will you report me if I confess the thoughts I have when I witness a driver staring at their cell phone?  My thoughts might include images like these:

Vplow_truck.jpg

M1A1-Bagdad-RunningOver.jpg

(My GPS - yes, I use a plain old GPS device for long trips - lets you pick the image you want to represent your vehicle.  I picked the tank. :D )

hqdefault.jpg

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9 hours ago, Petty3 said:

I read this.   "Sustaining leaders involves more than just a raised hand—it means that we stand behind them, pray for them, accept assignments and callings from them, hearken to their counsel, and refrain from criticizing them."

Do you agree with it?  What if you know things that certain leaders have done that are wrong or unethical?  

Along with that :

 

"Any person who raises his hand to sustain the President of the Church, or any other officer, and then goes straightway and criticizes or condemns, that man is a covenant breaker, for it is a covenant we take when we raise our hand and pledge our support."

  • J. Reuben Clarke

One of my favorite lines of all time, it always sticks in my head when I have situations like you are mentioning.

I don’t follow the President Nelson because of all the good he has done, I follow him because of his calling as a Prophet of God.

Now this may get a little tricky when you know a certain person is not living up to their calling, but that is THEIR issue. If my bishop makes an ill informed and uninspired decision, I will still follow him in it (assuming it doesn’t directly conflict with acommandment). If a man i know is commuting adultery and is teaching the ward about the importance of the Law of Chastity, I will choose to clean up my thoughts rather than cry “hypocrite!”. I won’t let other’s sins get in the way of my repentance and commitment to follow my leaders.

On a side note, even if I don’t agree with something the church puts out, it doesn’t change its truth or importance. A moto I go by is “If the church has a stance I don’t initially agree with, I must do everything in my power to get myself to agree with it”

Edited by Fether

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11 hours ago, Petty3 said:

I read this.   "Sustaining leaders involves more than just a raised hand—it means that we stand behind them, pray for them, accept assignments and callings from them, hearken to their counsel, and refrain from criticizing them."

Do you agree with it?  What if you know things that certain leaders have done that are wrong or unethical?  

Yes, I agree with the statement provided. This is a principle by which the Lord has given for us to govern ourselves. In relation to all principles we have the following counsel in the Book of Mormon, "O be wise, what can I say more"? A principle doesn't remove our moral agency, as it doesn't remove our intelligence. All gospel principles are governed through righteous principles and laws. If a leader begins to break the covenants he has made, I am under no obligation by covenant to follow him.

This principle is given in faith believing that the chosen leader will act in righteousness in his calling. Even though Christ was perfect, look at how often certain Jews found imperfection within perfection. So, what do you mean by "wrong" or "unethical" is the true question? Another question, why do we as humans have a tendency to immediately jump to the negative?

On my mission a ward was dissolved, and all ward council members were brought under church discipline. In part, because no one stood up against what was happening. The principle of sustaining, as other gospel principles, are governed by and through righteous principles. So, I honestly do not understand the follow through with sustaining of "What if you know things that certain leaders have done that are wrong or unethical?" You do what is right. Report wrongs or unethical decisions to the stake president or to local authorities if actions are severe enough.

Now, I have heard of people writing eight page letters to stake presidents of all the faults of their bishop. I honestly do not understand this either. Human weakness is not something that should prevent our sustaining. If so, please make sure you are never in a leadership position, because your human weakness will show itself also. And if you are one that is constantly focused on weakness, rather than strengths of leaders, than don't be mad when others focus solely on your weakness either. ("you" being used generally, speaking to myself also).

In light of mission experience, moral agency, and my own intelligence I follow these simple rules of sustaining:

1) Good doctrine, the doctrine being taught and shared is sound.

2) Hand Book of Instructions, are they ignoring the handbook or are they following the Handbook as given by the First Presidency and Apostles of the Church.

3) Is it good? All things good come from God. Even if it isn't a choice I would make, if good, I will follow/sustain my leader.

4) Don't expect perfection from imperfection. Even Christ who was perfect, the people still found fault. As people are no different then, as today, I am pretty sure there are church members who would have found fault with Christ as they do his modern servants.

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13 hours ago, Petty3 said:

I read this.   "Sustaining leaders involves more than just a raised hand—it means that we stand behind them, pray for them, accept assignments and callings from them, hearken to their counsel, and refrain from criticizing them."

Do you agree with it?  What if you know things that certain leaders have done that are wrong or unethical?  

Maybe i am reading too much into your question.  

i know a lot of very tender, pure people who, when forced to reconcile what they are told ought to be right with what they know is not right will conclude that they either must force themselves to do what they know isn't right, or believe they are bad for not doing what they are were raised to believe they should.  And those things can be big or small.  Even the small ones can have big impacts on a person's sense of worth and goodness.  i think you almost have to follow your own conscience and just keep an open heart and mind.  God and Jesus can always work with that.

There's one quote that i think gets at what i am attempting to say.  

Though again, maybe i'm reading something into your post which isn't really there.  If i am, i sincerely apologize.

Neither let thy conscience receive any word as light because another calls it light, while it looks to thee dark. Say either the thing is not what it seems, or God never said or did it. But, of all evils, to misinterpret what God does, and then say the thing as interpreted must be right because God does it, is of the devil. Do not try to believe anything that affects thee as darkness. Even if thou mistake and refuse something true thereby, thou wilt do less wrong to Christ by such a refusal than thou wouldst by accepting as his what thou canst see only as darkness. 

- George MacDonald, Light: A Sermon

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24 minutes ago, Sunday21 said:

So if your stake president behaves badly how would you go about finding his superior?

Area Authority, they usually visit during stake conference, thus you would at least know a person you can contact who then would be able to direct you further if not him.

Edited by Anddenex

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6 minutes ago, Anddenex said:

Area Authority.

Area Seventy?

You know it is not that easy to find out who your area seventy is and then to find the email is that not easy.

Our Stake president behaved badly over a period of several years. nothing sexual mind you!

We collectively decided to forgive him but we had a bit of a strike with respect to stake callings. We have decided to forget about it..but you know if we had had a serious problem, I dont know what we would do. Collectively emailed the stake? All bishops and counselor with politely worded protests until they sent someone to deal with us? I guess that would have been our next step. 

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12 minutes ago, Anddenex said:

Area Authority.

That tells the position, it doesn't tell how to go about contacting the person in that position.  Personally, I have no clue whatsoever how to find the person in that position - and I'm in Utah.  Before I got the calling I'm in, I couldn't have told you I was even in an "Area" that had an "Authority".  The space between "Stake President" and "Apostle" is a big black hole for a fair number of members.

28 minutes ago, Sunday21 said:

So if your stake president behaves badly how would you go about finding his superior?

I would go to my bishop, unless that was a problem too.

Edited by zil

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Oh well. We have all decided not to kill each other so all’s well that ends well. Mind you that stake president has surely suffered. I can imagine that some of those temple recommend interviews were pretty exciting. Good thing it’s Canada! 

Edited by Sunday21

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22 minutes ago, Sunday21 said:

You know it is not that easy to find out who your area seventy is and then to find the email is that not easy.

Our Stake president behaved badly over a period of several years. nothing sexual mind you!

We collectively decided to forgive him but we had a bit of a strike with respect to stake callings. We have decided to forget about it..but you know if we had had a serious problem, I dont know what we would do. Collectively emailed the stake? All bishops and counselor with politely worded protests until they sent someone to deal with us? I guess that would have been our next step. 

 

21 minutes ago, zil said:

That tells the position, it doesn't tell how to go about contacting the person in that position.  Personally, I have no clue whatsoever how to find the person in that position - and I'm in Utah.  Before I got the calling I'm in, I couldn't have told you I was even in an "Area" that had an "Authority".  The space between "Stake President" and "Apostle" is a big black hole for a fair number of members.

Ask the stake president who is the area authority. If he asks why, simply say, "Great question. I want to know who our area authority is. I like to know who they are like I like to know who the apostles and prophets are."

Also, a call to Church head quarters should be helpful, I would think, but don't know. I know who my Area Authority is, so I wouldn't have the need, and I know who he is due to stake conference and trainings.

Looking a little further to see if I can be of more help.

For our area Utah: Fifth Quorum: Idaho, North America Northwest, North America West, Utah North, Utah Salt Lake City, and Utah South Areas

This links provides all the area authorities in one area, now trying to discover if I can tie it down further through Church resources. Looks like LDS Church Map may have updated some of their items. I used to be able to see Bishop and stake president name (at least from what I remember), not seeing it anymore. Found again how to see bishop, but not stake president. And sadly, yep, not easy to find the area authority serving in the area.

Edited by Anddenex

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Having had to deal with toxic people pretty much my entire life, I just walk away if I truly can't stand a person. If it is causing me so much stress and anguish I will just take my sacrament and go (if at church) Especially if it is just a personality thing. Sometimes there really isn't anything you can say or do that will make things better. Sometimes you just drive on and keep dealing with it also. When I reach my limit, I reach my limit.

I would rather take my chances with God than with a toxic leader. Also after my breather I pick right back up and get going again. Being offended and bitter can also be just as detrimental. Need to find a happy balance and know your limits. Some personalities you can just take in small doses. It is part of being mortal.

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Well, I have personally decided not to put all my eggs in the same basket. I need a social group outside the church. I will still hold a calling and do my ministering but that’s it. I am putting limits on my church activity. 

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1 hour ago, Sunday21 said:

Well, I have personally decided not to put all my eggs in the same basket. I need a social group outside the church. I will still hold a calling and do my ministering but that’s it. I am putting limits on my church activity. 

Totally can understand needing some room outside of callings

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2 hours ago, Sunday21 said:

Area Seventy?

You know it is not that easy to find out who your area seventy is and then to find the email is that not easy.

Our Stake president behaved badly over a period of several years. nothing sexual mind you!

We collectively decided to forgive him but we had a bit of a strike with respect to stake callings. We have decided to forget about it..but you know if we had had a serious problem, I dont know what we would do. Collectively emailed the stake? All bishops and counselor with politely worded protests until they sent someone to deal with us? I guess that would have been our next step. 

My understanding is as follows:

The stake presidents report directly to the apostles, as far as line of Priesthood authority and reporting goes. This is how it was in the early Church, and how it was when I was a child. In practice, I believe that today this duty is assigned to the General Authority Seventy instead of the apostles. Area authority seventies exist to provide relief to the burdens of the General Authorities; they consult with and train the stake presidencies and other stake leaders, and carry instructions to the stake presidents. In this sense, they would be similar to high priest group leaders, in that they're intimately involved in running the Church and function more or less as virtual presidents, but don't actually hold Priesthood keys for the work they do. (Anyone remember high priest group leaders?)

Now I could well be wrong. It seems like an area authority seventy (not a member of the first or second quorums of seventy) presided at a stake conference instead of the stake president. This would seem unusual if the area authority seventy didn't hold keys of presidency, suggesting that maybe he does. I invite correction from anyone who has better knowledge in any of the areas mentioned above.

In any case, if you had knowledge of a stake president acting in an unworthy manner such as being adulterous, you could contact Church headquarters in Salt Lake and talk to any General Authority. I would think such a condition would be exceedingly rare.

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10 hours ago, zil said:

 

(My GPS - yes, I use a plain old GPS device for long trips - lets you pick the image you want to represent your vehicle.  I picked the tank. :D )

 

Literally this vehicle:

 

upd.jpg

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45 minutes ago, mirkwood said:

Literally this vehicle:

upd.jpg

What, your GPS lets you add a photo? (That's kinda cool.)  Or just by fluke it's got your SUV?  With police stuff painted on?

Meanwhile, not that long ago I learned something that never occurred to me before - is it true that those of you who don't wear glasses (contacts either?) don't see lights "star" like in above photo when looking at them at night?  (For me, lights don't do that during the day, but all lights do it at night.  I've worn glasses since 5th or 6th grade, so the "star" effect was always "normal", didn't consider it might not be normal until someone mentioned the difference.)

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