I’m reading President Henry B. Eyring’s biography. I’m not far into it, but I like it. Of course, there is a section of two on his parents, Henry and Mildred and how their lives and faith impacted young Henry (“Hal”) who would eventually serve in the leading quorums of the church.
“I like contradictions. I like a little bit of a mess, and I am glad when one of the brethren says something that I think is little bit foolish, because I think if the Lord can stand him, maybe he can stand me. So that’s it, and I think that maybe there’s a certain stumbling block that some of us have: we expect other people to be a kind of perfection that we don’t even attempt to approach ourselves. We expect the brethren or the bishop or the stake president or the General Authorities to be not human, even. We expect the Lord to just open and shut their mouth, but He doesn’t do that — they are human beings; but they’re wonderful, and they do better than they would if it weren’t for the Lord helping them.” (quote from Henry Eyring, I Will Lead You Along, 29)
I like a number of things here:
1. The leaders of the church don’t attempt to, and don’t have to, be perfect.
2. We often expect others to rise to a level of perfection we’d never ask of ourselves.
3. The Lord doesn’t just open and shut the mouths of our leaders (like I pictured when I was very young).
4. The implied idea, which I believe to be true with all of my heart, that the Lord is still working in and through those He has called.
“Clearly, my problem and your problem is to hear the word of God from and through imperfect teachers and leaders. That is your test and mine. And it is our opportunity….God has said that if we are going to make it home again, we must not only hear his voice privately by our own effort, but also through the voice of his servants who, when they speak by the power of the Spirit, speak as if it were his voice.” (Henry B. Eyring, “Listen Together,” BYU devotional, September 4, 1998)
President Eyring is right; this is the test, your test and mine. I’m thankful for opportunities to take the test each week–each day, even. I love the Lord and I love those He has called in the last days…
As I have continued to read President Eyring’s biography, I’ve come across a related thought and quote. President Eyring taught:
If you will wait upon the Lord the next time you listen to the General Authorities of the Church, if you will forget about them as human personalities and listen for the Lord’s voice, I promise you that you will recognize it in the words spoken by his servants. You will have a quiet assurance that those human beings are called of God and that God honors their calls. (Henry B. Eyring, “Waiting Upon the Lord”, BYU fireside, September 30, 1990)
Maybe a key here is to know that the leaders of the church are imperfect humans, allow them to be imperfect humans, and then forget that they are imperfect humans while listening for the Lord’s voice in their voices…