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Orson Scott Card, Column: The Gifts of Conference

March 23, 2015

It’s the constant lesson of Church history: This happened, and the Church is true. There are errors and misjudgments in Church government; mistakes are made. But we learn from the mistakes and move on. We strive to do better. And yes, those mistakes are made by those in a position to make decisions, which shows us, not that the Lord is not guiding the Church, but that the Lord has respect for the free agency of every one of his children — even, or especially, the ones who are charged with guiding the kingdom of God on earth.

We sustain them in their imperfections, as we sustain each other in our wards and stakes. We sometimes blow it — but we are not immediately released from our callings because we made mistakes. Instead, we are taught or we learn, and gradually we become better at serving in each position we hold.

This process does not stop because someone has reached the lofty position of General Authority. Remember that the real model of Church government is not a hierarchy, but a building of which Christ is not the capstone but the cornerstone; a community in which the greatest of us is the servant of all.

We can’t apply the world’s ideas of “greatness” to the Brethren called to lead us — that is unfair to them and to us. If we attribute perfection to them, then when they are not perfect we can be disillusioned or damaged. But if instead we see them as dedicated servants, doing their best to do good to all who are placed within their charge, then we can absorb their mistakes — or actions that seem like mistakes to us — without even a moment of disillusionment.

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