Timely quotes on the passing scene–Part 4

Neal A. Maxwell (with a quote from Joseph Smith, Jr. that those who mis-cite him should consider):

The Lord will tend and tutor His anointed. He has His special ways, and we can trust Him to manage His leaders. Meanwhile those same leaders, whether Moses or Brigham Young, humbly and genuinely wish that every man were a prophet and each individual could have his own strong witness that this work is true (see Numbers 11:29; D&C 1:20).

Some have difficulty, however, about reposing confidence in the Lord’s anointed. Over the decades, “we have learned by sad experience” that it is better for developing dissidents to be lovingly counseled, and, if necessary, lovingly disciplined “early on.” Often, waiting means that any meekness they have vanishes. It is sad that, as their faith shrinks, their circle of influence may temporarily enlarge. From Liberty Jail, the Prophet Joseph, who had known so much betrayal and learned from so much “sad experience,” declared his determination thus: “Your humble servant or servants, intend from henceforth to disapprobate everything that is not in accordance with the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, … They will not hold their peace—as in times past when they see iniquity beginning to rear its head—for fear of traitors, or the consequences that shall follow by reproving those who creep in unawares, that they may get something with which to destroy the flock.”

A few in the Church simply don’t like to have anybody preside over them. They are like the critics of Nephi, who complained that “Nephi thinks to rule over us,” saying that power, instead, “belongs unto us” (2 Nephi 5:3). It was the same in Moses’ time. Dissidents “rose up” against Moses, complaining, “thou … make thyself … a prince over us. … Ye take too much upon you.” (Numbers 16:2, 3, 13.) Some complained then—and a few do now—”Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us?” (Numbers 12:2.)

— Neal A. Maxwell, Lord, Increase Our Faith (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1994), 92-93.

President J. Reuben Clark:

I wish to make here one observation about the First Vision.

No man or woman is a true member of the Church who does not fully accept the First Vision, just as no man is a Christian who does not accept, first, the Fall of Adam, and second, the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Any titular Church member who does not accept the First Vision but who continues to pose as a Church member, lacks not only moral courage but intellectual integrity and honor if he does not avow himself an apostate and discontinue going about the Church, and among the youth particularly, as a Churchman, teaching not only lack-faith but faith-destroying doctrines. He is a true wolf in sheep’s clothing.

— J. Reuben Clark, “When Are the Writings or Sermons of Church Leaders Entitled to the Claim of Scripture,” address given to seminary and institute teachers, at BYU, 7 July 1954, published in Church News (31 July 1954): 9–10; reprinted in Dialogue 12 (Summer 1979): 68–80.

Joseph F. Smith

Some of our good Latter-day Saints have become so exceedingly good…that they cannot tell the difference between a Saint of God, an honest man, and a son of Beelzebub, who has yielded himself absolutely to sin and wickedness. And they call that liberality, broadness of mind, exceeding love. I do not want to become so blinded with love for my enemies that I cannot discern between light and darkness, between truth and error, between good and evil, but I hope to live so that I shall have sufficient light in me to discern between error and truth, and to cast my lot on the side of truth and not on the side of error and darkness. The Lord bless the Latter-day Saints. If I am too narrow with reference to these matters, I hope that the wisdom of my brethren and the Spirit of Light from the Lord may broaden my soul.

Conference Report (October 1907): 6; address of 4 October 1907.

Neal A. Maxwell:

Sadly, there are those in the Church who try to camouflage their behavioral problems by covering up with intellectual reservations or reasons. They fool only themselves.

— Neal A. Maxwell, dictated December 1996, cited in A Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, Co., 1997), 27.

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