According to LDS Church founder Joseph Smith, for those who hold church leadership positions, "no power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of" one's priesthood office, but "only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile" (Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-42).
Based on the facts in "Utah Mormons urged to back missionary high-rise near BYU" (Tribune, July 10), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints isn't practicing what it preaches.
For church leaders to behave in such a way that faithful members fear for their Brigham Young University employment or church standing simply for opposing a nine-story building next to their homes is definitely not guileless persuasion. The leaders may have a veneer of kindness, even love, but the our-way-or-the-highway tactic boils down to threat and compulsion.
Nor is this a case of persuading by knowledge. Instead of explaining their argument, church leaders simply tell their Mormon neighbors to "sustain the Brethren." Sounds like maintaining power and influence by virtue of one's priesthood.
Oh, well, they're only human. Many are called but few are chosen.
Salt Lake City