Verily, verily, I say unto you, Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother: Let me pull the mote out of thine eye—and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye. — Jesus Christ
In the Doctrine and Covenants, we read:
The teacher’s duty is to watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them; and see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking; and see that the church meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty. (D&C 20:53-55)
Cease to contend one with another; cease to speak evil one of another. (D&C 136:23)
Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor, nor do him any harm. (D&C 42:27)
And in the temple of the Lord, we are put under covenant:
We are required to give unto you the law of the gospel as contained in the Book of Mormon and the Bible; to give unto you, also, a charge to avoid all lightmindedness, loud laughter, evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed, the taking of the name of God in vain, and every other unholy and impure practice; and to cause you to receive these by covenant.
Latter-day saints have taken this charge to avoid evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed and perverted it. Here is what evil speaking actually means, from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
EVILSPE’AKING, n. [evil and speak.] Slander; defamation; calumny; censoriousness. 1 Pet.2:1 (“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings”.)
1. A false tale or report maliciously uttered. and tending to injure the reputation of another by lessening him in the esteem of his fellow citizens, by exposing min to impeachment and punishment, or by impairing his means of lining; defamation.
Slander, that worst of poisons, ever finds an easy entrance to ignoble minds.
2 Disgrace; reproach; disreputation; ill name.
DEFAMATION, n. The uttering of slanderous words with a view to injure another’s reputation; the malicious uttering of falsehood respecting another which tends to destroy or impair his good name, character or occupation; slander; calumny. To constitute defamation in law, the words must be false and spoken maliciously. Defamatory words written and published are called a libel.
CALUMNY, n. Slander; false accusation of a crime or offense, knowingly or maliciously made or reported, to the injury of another; false representation of facts reproachful to another, made by design, and with knowledge of its falsehood; sometimes followed by on.
Neglected calumny soon expires.
1. Disposition to blame and condemn; the habit of censuring or reproaching.
2. The quality of being censorious.
Evil speaking, then, in the scriptures, is the malicious use of a lie (in the form of a false report, false tale, false accusation or other falsehood) in order to harm the reputation, work or livelihood of another. Not only are such deeds against the law of God, but they are also against the laws of men.
How the LDS pervert this principle
The LDS have twisted the commandment and covenant against “evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed” into any spoken saying or written word published that brings the leadership of the church into disrepute, regardless of the truthfulness of the saying or writing. (Since I’m quoting definitions, disrepute is a “lack or decline of good reputation : a state of being held in low esteem.”) Thus the LDS have changed the meaning of both “evil speaking” as well as “the Lord’s anointed.”
To speak the truth about someone is not evil speaking. If such must be labeled, it can only be called good speaking. The saints of God are commanded to always tell the truth and never tell a lie, therefore, they must call a sinner a sinner, even if that sinner is a hypocritical leader, garbed in the priesthood and presiding over them. To understand why saints must do this, we first must review who is authorized to call people to repentance.
Who can make the call to repent
There are two groups of people who need repentance: those who belong to the church of Christ, but aren’t yet sanctified, and those who do not belong to the church of Christ.
In the case of those who do not belong, it appears that all saints are under commandment “to persuade all men to repentance” (2 Ne. 26:27.) Also, all saints who possess the priesthood (except teachers and deacons) are under commandment to preach the gospel to those who do not have it, which includes telling them to repent of their sins.
In the case of those who belong to the church, who have not yet been sanctified, it belongs to the high priests of the church to regulate the church, calling them to repentance. But high priests can only do this if they themselves are sanctified, as they are supposed to be. (See Alma 13:12.)
It takes a saint
Only saints, meaning sanctified people, are authorized to call people to repentance. The reason is that sanctified people cannot look upon sin except with abhorrence. In other words, when they see sin, any sin, they shrink with horror, disgust or dislike of it. This means, first, that saints can recognize what is and what is not sin, by this recoiling, shuddering, excessively repugnant reaction they have to it, and secondly, that they will not shut their mouths at the sight of it, but will naturally seek to eradicate it. Saints are like the Lord: they cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.
A non-sanctified person is unable to recognize every sin. Some “very great” (as they suppose) sins may cause non-sanctified people to shiver and bristle at their appearance, but not so with all the so-called smaller sins. They may witness such sins and not experience any extreme detestation to it or they may not even know that what they are witnessing is sin. Or, if they do observe a sin and are able to recognize it as sin, they are capable of just saying, “That is just a minor thing. I will let it slide and leave them to themselves without opening my mouth.” Another thing these people will do is charge someone with transgression when they have not transgressed. This comes from not being able to recognize sin from righteousness, so that the two become confused, righteousness being called sin, and vice versa.
For these reasons, non-sanctified people are useless to the Lord when it comes to calling people to repentance. Only sanctified, purified, justified people (saints) will do for this particular labor.
The general authorities and leaders of the church
Many people are afraid of speaking out against any hypocrisy they see among the general authorities and leaders of the church because of the following scripture:
Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them. But those who cry transgression do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the children of disobedience themselves.
And those who swear falsely against my servants, that they might bring them into bondage and death—wo unto them; because they have offended my little ones they shall be severed from the ordinances of mine house. Their basket shall not be full, their houses and their barns shall perish, and they themselves shall be despised by those that flattered them. They shall not have right to the priesthood, nor their posterity after them from generation to generation. It had been better for them that a millstone had been hanged about their necks, and they drowned in the depth of the sea.
Wo unto all those that discomfort my people, and drive, and murder, and testify against them, saith the Lord of Hosts; a generation of vipers shall not escape the damnation of hell.
Behold, mine eyes see and know all their works, and I have in reserve a swift judgment in the season thereof, for them all; for there is a time appointed for every man, according as his works shall be. (D&C 121:16-25)
We are taught by our leaders that speaking evil against the Lord’s anointed is a very grievous sin and that members that do this are in apostasy. Thus, because of this false interpretation of “evil speaking,” even if hypocrisy is perceived in the leadership, the LDS will shut their mouths and leave the matter in the Lord’s hands.
And so the leadership of the church, and more specifically, the general authorities, are given free sway to pretty much do what they want and say what they will, all of it being ascribed as speaking and working by the power of the Holy Ghost, all by virtue of their office and calling as general authorities and the second anointing which they receive in the temple.
Of course, such an interpretation wrests these scriptures, for the Lord was not speaking of any earthly anointing. When the Lord says, “Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed,” and also, “Wo unto them; because they have offended my little ones”, and also, “Wo unto all those that discomfort my people, and drive, and murder, and testify against them,” His anointed and His little ones and His people are all the same group of people, even those who are sanctified, justified and purified, known to us as saints and little children.
In this scripture, the Lord uses the same wording that he used in His warning against offending little children: “It had been better for them that a millstone had been hanged about their necks, and they drowned in the depth of the sea.” The reason the warning is the same is because a saint (a fallen man who has become sanctified) and a little child (who is alive in Christ and thus already sanctified) are both innocent before God. As long as they endure in their sinless, sanctified, and purified state, they will inherit eternal life.
Little children are not anointed in any earthly ordinance, yet these scriptures equally apply to them as much as they apply to adult saints. So, when the Lord says, “mine anointed,” He is not talking about an earthly ordinance, but of a heavenly ordinance, such as the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, which Jesus alone performs. All earthly ordinances must be approved and confirmed by a heavenly manifestation (ordinance) performed by the Father, the Son or the Holy Ghost. So, when we have priesthood conferred upon us, all we get are the rights to the priesthood. The actual priesthood is only bestowed by God Himself, and the same goes with every other ordinance of the gospel, all things requiring a ratification or confirmatory heavenly ordinance to make it eternally binding.
So, mine anointed and my little ones and my people and little children and saints are terms that speak of people who are sinless (guiltless), purified and sanctified, whether from the beginning of their lives or after having received a remission of their sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost. In no way, shape or form did the Lord ever mean to say that no one had a right to call hypocrisy when they saw it in someone ordained to His priesthood.
The gospel rule is to assume hypocrisy unless demonstrated otherwise, for all adult men have received the fallen nature:
Trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments. (Mosiah 23:14)
Again, the rule is to trust no one. The exception to that general rule is not “except he be ordained to the priesthood,” as many believe. Instead, the exception is, “except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.” Priesthood ordination and calling have nothing to do with it.
Discerning teachers and ministers of God
The assumption that everyone makes about the general authorities is that they are holy men of God, already sanctified, justified and purified. This is assumed because they hold these high and holy callings. The logic goes something like this: “God would not allow men who were not sanctified to hold such callings and offices, therefore, they must be holy men.” But such thinking denies the history of the people of God upon the earth, and all the many times that corruption entered into the very priesthood God had organized on earth. God obviously allowed this corruption to occur, so then it must follow that in our day, corrupt or un-sanctified priests and teachers would also be allowed to rule over us.
The Lord has set up His kingdom with signs whereby one saint can know another. These signs are heavenly manifestations given by God alone. They allow saints and sinners to see where the Lord’s people are, so that they can listen to them, heed the word of God preached by them and gather with them. A preacher or teacher who does not manifest any of the various signs is simply not approved by God.
The prophet Mormon answered the questions, “How do we know if a man is of God, walking in His ways and keeping His commandments? How do we know that he speaks the truth to us and is sent by God?” when he wrote:
And now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record—for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity— (3 Ne. 8:1)
So this is how we know. If the members of the first presidency, the quorum of 12 apostles and the quorums of seventy (as well as the members of any other leadership quorum), are going around doing all manner of miracles in the name of Jesus among the people, then we know that they are just men of God, even saints. But if they aren’t performing a work of miracles in the name of Jesus among the people, then they are still un-sanctified hypocrites (actors) and are not to be trusted.
Sanctified people point people to Christ
“Priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world,” wrote Nephi. Priestcraft is the Pharisaical way, the doctrine of privilege and prestige and taking offense. It says, “Do as I say, not as I do, for you are not authorized to do what I do.” Or, “Look unto us as the Lord’s righteous servants. Follow us. We are obedient and holy. We know better than you. We have the office, calling, power and authority. We enter first, we partake first, we get the best seats. All must rise when we enter. We are the Lord’s anointed, occupying Moses’ seat. No one gets to God except through us.” This is all, of course, hogwash. (I’d use a stronger word but the blog is rated PG.) It doesn’t matter what earthly anointing you have received, if it hasn’t been confirmed by the Lord or His angel, there is no witness (evidence) that you have exercised any faith, whatsoever, and thus that your anointing has been accepted by the Lord and that you are authorized to call anyone to repentance.
The saintly way is different. Although saints are bold, they care not for prestige, honor or privileges. They spurn such things. They do not say, “Follow us,” but, “Follow Christ.” They are completely Christ-centered in both thought, word and deed, pointing all to Jesus. They care not what you call them, whether you use a title or not, nor whether you acknowledge their calling and office. They abase themselves at every opportunity, for they know and believe the word of Jesus that those who abase themselves will be exalted. They are wise and fun and cheerful and knowledgeable, yet they mourn when they see sin. There is nothing stuffy about a saint. They take no offense at people who reject them, their message or their priesthood, and consider it a privilege to suffer persecution for Jesus’ sake like the prophets of old.
If it walks and talks like a hypocrite, but has the priesthood, it’s…not a hypocrite?
The gospel of Christ is a gospel of truth, for Jesus is full of grace and truth. When the Lord put all those who went to the temple under covenant to not speak evil of His anointed, He was not saying that we had to turn a blind eye to hypocrisy in the leadership and obey them regardless of their hypocrisy. That is not what it means to refrain from “speaking evil of the Lord’s anointed.” The phrase only means that we are not to falsely call someone who is sanctified (a saint) a sinner.
All saints have a duty to God to do right, to heed truth, to expose and to forsake and to fight evil and falsehood and hypocrisy, and to speak the truth at all times. The saints are the bulwarks against Pharisaical tyranny, for saints don’t shut their mouths at sin. They call a duck a duck and a hypocrite a hypocrite, when they see one. They are like the Lorax, who speaks for the trees, except that they speak for the Lord. You simply can’t shut them up when they see sin and error.
No one breaks their covenant of not speaking evil of the Lord’s anointed by pointing out the hypocrisy manifested among the LDS church general and local leadership. If the Lord has not shown His approval of any of these men by His divine miracles and manifestations, no one, not a single person, is bound to follow their sayings, counsels or commandments. In fact, it becomes our duty to God to both speak out against hypocrisy and to ignore its directives. It is through the miracles of God alone that we may know whether a man is approved of God. Ordination is not the appointed sign, nor are the words or actions of that man, for hypocrites are, by nature, actors, acting the part of a righteous person. As we cannot know what truly resides in the heart of any person, the Lord in His mercy has provided the signs for His believers, the saints, that we might recognize who really is one of His people. This is because no one can act the part of a miracle worker, being out of the scope of man-made power.
The saints will judge who is, and who is not, an apostle, prophet or bishop
Behold, I, the Lord, have made my church in these last days like unto a judge sitting on a hill, or in a high place, to judge the nations. For it shall come to pass that the inhabitants of Zion shall judge all things pertaining to Zion. And liars and hypocrites shall be proved by them, and they who are not apostles and prophets shall be known. And even the bishop, who is a judge, and his counselors, if they are not faithful in their stewardships shall be condemned, and others shall be planted in their stead. (D&C 64:37-40)
The inhabitants of Zion are the saints of God, for no one will inhabit Zion who is not sanctified. This church that the Lord mentions in these verses is the mystical church of God made flesh, who have repented of their sins and come to Christ, receiving the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. Judgment is committed into their hands because they are the only ones qualified to judge between sin and righteousness. Those hypocrites who make claim to priesthood titles alone will be judged by these title-less saints and be uprooted and their names blotted out. The truth of the matter is that all leaders must pass through the judgment of the saints, the Lord’s little ones, before they can get to God, not the other way around. Not even those whose listed priesthood duty is to judge, such as the bishop, will be exempt from the examination made by these alive-in-Christ children and adult saints.
For these reasons, no one has any authority to silence a saint. The authority of a saint supersedes the authority of any priesthood office. And if a saint speaks out against your hypocrisy, Amen to your priesthood. And if anyone speaks out (evilly) against a saint (the Lord’s anointed), they’d be better off drowning themselves in the depth of the sea. Nothing pisses off the Lord more than people who bother His saints.
Now, before I end this post, let me address one more point.
Test them, says Lucifer
In the temple, we hear the following conversation:
PREACHER: Shall we ever have any apostles or prophets?
LUCIFER: No. However, there may be some who will profess revelation or apostleship. If so, just test them by asking that they perform a great miracle, such as cutting off an arm or some other member of the body and restoring it, so that the people may know that they have come with power.
Later on, the conversation goes:
PREACHER: [To Peter.] Do you profess to be an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ?
PETER: We do.
PREACHER: This man told me that we should never have any revelation or apostles, but if any should come professing to be apostles, I was to ask them to cut off an arm or some other member of the body and then restore it, so that the people might know that they came with power.
PETER: We do not satisfy men’s curiosity in that manner. It is a wicked and an adulterous generation that seeks for a sign.
There are two extremes of thought, both of them false. On the one hand, claimed credentials (“we profess to be apostles, bearing the priesthood, with valid ordination”) are rejected and a demonstration of power is demanded, otherwise no one will believe. On the other hand, demonstrations of power (“we perform all manner of miracles”) are rejected and a proper priesthood ordination is demanded, otherwise no one will believe.
The first scenario is represented by the temple conversation, which temple patrons are taught to avoid. Unfortunately, they then leave the temple and adopt the second, also extreme way of thinking.
The saints who judge do not require that a professed apostle or servant sent from the Lord perform a miracle in their presence. Nor do they require that all their priesthood papers are in order. They only require that the apostle carries the appointed witness that comes after the trial of one’s faith. All saints have received this witness and so when presented with another saint, bearing the same witness, they can recognize a brother or sister. The witness itself is a miracle, but one that is born record of verbally, for the word is to be first heard, not seen, in order that faith is engendered. These witnesses are like the tokens or signs spoken of in the temple, by which one knows a true messenger from God.
The commandment to refrain from speaking evil of the Lord’s anointed is a true principle, but only encompasses spreading lies about the saints of God. (Although we are also commanded to not speak evil of anyone else, which encompasses the whole human race.) However, this commandment does not muzzle the saints, who are not prohibited from saying the truth about someone who is acting hypocritically, even if they are leaders of the Lord’s church. Thus, the Lord’s admonition to first take the beam out of our eyes before we go around telling people that they have a mote in their own eyes does not apply to saints, because they have neither beams nor motes in their eyes.