Judgment

Since the Lord reserves to Himself alone the final judgment (3 Ne. 27: 27) I think we overstep our privileges when we presume our judgment of others is our right.  In fact, the irony of judging while holding priesthood office is that the one judging may be the one really on trial.  They hold office, are given “keys” and are upheld by other saints to see whether they will execute the assignment in conformity with D&C 121, using gentleness, meekness, persuasion, kindness and love unfeigned.  If they don’t, they fail the test, and in the process establish the criteria and means by which they will be judged.

Ironically, the one judging is the one really on trial, and the one being judged will be a witness against (or for) them.

Things are different than we think.  And that is as it should be.  Otherwise the hearts of men could not be put on display here in this life, and the proving that this estate was designed to accomplish would fail.

We should be afraid to hold office over others.  We should have pity or compassion for those who are called to these positions.  Instead, we envy those who hold offices in the church. Nephi counseled against this.  (2 Ne. 26: 21.) 

Now is the great day of deception when darkness covers so much of the social order that madness reigns.  If you just turned the light on and saw our day as clearly as Nephi did you’d marvel at the abundant foolishness, vanity and errors we entertain.  To do that you only need to read what Nephi wrote and realize he’s talking to and about US; not those who will never read the book.

We’re being tested.  More importantly, I’m being tested.  So I need to “work out my salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord” just as Paul suggested.  (Philip. 2: 12.)

5 Responses to “Judgment

  • This reminds me of a story Elder Packer told in his book The Holy Temple. I read this at a time when Elder Packer being criticized in some circles and the fact that he included this story in his book gave me a whole new perspective of the man. President Vernal Willey stands out as a giant in my mind also.

    From “The Holy Temple” page 42

    “A number of years ago I served on the stake high council in
    Brigahm City. On one occasion the stake presidency and
    high counsel and their wives attended an evening
    temple session in the Logan Temple. One of the workers
    was participating in the instruction for the first
    time and did very poorly. He had difficulty in
    remembering his part and was obviously nervous and
    flustered. He mixed up his presentation in a way that
    in other places would have been considered humorous.
    He struggled through however and was gently coached
    and corrected by those who were with them. As much
    dignity and reverence was maintained as would be
    possible considering the difficulty.
    After the session was over, the bretheren fron the
    stake presidency and high council were standing on the
    walkway from the Temple, waiting for our wives to meet
    us. One of the bretheren commented in some amusement
    that he surely wouldn’t have wanted to be that man,
    that night. “He really went through an ordeal,” he
    said. “It was like he was like being put on trial
    before all those people. “
    President Vernal Willey, characteristically a quiet
    man, said with some firmness, “Hold on bretheren,
    let’s get one thing straight here. It wasn’t that man
    that was on trial here tonight. We were. “”

  • Both the leader & the member are on trial. The leader must earn the respect, trust & obedience of the members by protecting the members & leading them righteously, correctly & justly. If we have the Spirit it will be easy to tell if leaders are not leading righteously or giving correct counsel & thus protect ourselves accordingly.

    The member is also on trial to see if he has the Spirit himself to be able to tell if the Leader does or not & how he will respond if the leader does not have the Spirit, whether he will follow wrong counsel to his condemnation or follow what the Spirit is telling him to do.

    Leaders do not have any immunity from being wrong or unrighteous, for much is at stake in their positions.

    I do not envy the heavy responsibility & obligation that all leaders have in protecting & leading the members correctly & the heavy eternal consequences that will come to them if they don’t. Especially because so much of the welfare of vulnerable women & children rests in their hands, who they are obligated to protect 1st above any other responsibility.

  • Denver…

    …can you elaborate on “judge righteous judgment?” (John 7:24.)

    I have always taken it to mean what you wrote (i.e. judge not the person). Recently, however, I have some proclaim that “judge righteous judgment” would mean “judge no judgment,” given that none are righteous here on earth and all our paradigms are skewed.

    I think this “judge no judgment” is correct in the sense of judging others, a person. But, are we to believe that we can’t judge (“evaluate”) things, events, situations, teachings, etc., as well?

    What say you?

  • We necessarily make judgments daily. We have to in order to function in life. However, when it comes to deciding the righteousness of another, I leave it entirely to the Lord. I sustain others in what they are asked to do, without making it my responsibility to decide whether God approves of them or not. If they are difficult for me to abide, then I pray for my attitude to soften. If I am told they are not right before God, I ask that He do something about them.

    There are just too many things in my own life, under my control, which I have yet to master. That is where I fight daily. Inside my own bounds. The “macro” picture doesn’t matter much because of how limited an influence I have there.

    I believe very much in the principle of a “little salt” and a “little leaven” which can preserve even an entire nation. My responsibility is to become that salt, become that leaven. Such a daunting task is more than enough to occupy my time and thoughts.

  • Dear Denver,

    I know this post is old, but I just got to it! I appreciate what you’ve said in this post, and I agree with you. But I believe there is another side to this that we are typically not addressing, and our unwillingness or inability to address it in the Church is causing enormous trouble in the lives of many families and perpetuating and enabling adultery and divorce in the Church. Indeed I believe that it is a significant factor in the forces threatening the well-being of the family structure.

    We often stop short when reading or using the scriptures of looking at and dealing with the whole picture of what they are saying. One of the great and tragic classics of this is D&C 64:10. This verse on how we should forgive everyone has got to be one of the most widely quoted and used scriptures in the Church. And it should be. We do need to forgive everyone, absolutely. But how many of us have read past there to see the amazing thing the Lord goes on to say in verses 12-13:

    12 And him that repenteth not of his sins, and confesseth them not, ye shall bring before the church, and do with him as the scripture saith unto you, either by commandment or by revelation.
    13 And this ye shall do that God may be glorified—not because ye forgive not, having not compassion, but that ye may be justified in the eyes of the law, that ye may not offend him who is your lawgiver—

    Verse 13 is validating what you have said in this post — that the priesthood leader needs to be doing all that he does with compassion, also forgiving the person personally — but that should not stop him from doing what the law or revelation requires for the good of that person or family or ward or community. (Verse 12)

    I have personally experienced bishops being afraid to hold people accountable because of verse 10. This is a serious situation. When parents don’t or can’t bring themselves to hold their children accountable for their actions, when they’re afraid to let their children experience consequences for their choices, they create children who are out of control. Our whole society is out of control, and we as Mormons are no better than the rest in this. In fact, we might even be worse because we are so fear ridden that we might be “judging others” or not forgiving them if we hold them accountable.

    Of course we believe in forgiveness, but if our bishops and other priesthood leaders, our shepherds in Israel, are afraid to hold people accountable because of verse 10, then we simply enable, perpetuate, and condone the immorality and lack of commitment that is rampant in the Church today.

    It is possible and necessary that we hold people in our stewardships accountable while we love and forgive them, doing our best at all times to preserve the relationship. The ingenious and successful child discipline and parenting concept and course called “Love and Logic” is based on allowing (or where necessary administering) consequences while preserving the relationship in love and kindness.

    A Tongan man in my ward raised his hand once in Sunday School when the discussion was about not judging. I loved his comment. He said, “The Lord said we shouldn’t judge, not that we shouldn’t have any judgement.” Is not one of the greatest problems in our entire Western culture that it has become politically incorrect and socially incorrect to even have judgement? Everything is OK, “there is no sin”, everything is relative?