When the brethren approached me last week about the possibility of accepting a call as a member of the LDS Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, I gave them the appropriate answer.
It was easy. They didn’t just ask if I wanted to be an apostle. They insisted they had given it a great deal of thought and prayer, and Heavenly Father had confirmed it with undeniable signs.
I thought of the only sign that would have convinced me that it was God’s idea that I become an apostle — specifically that Sonny had been kicked to death at the dump by a mob of sea gulls.
Since this sign had not occurred, I turned down the call with a polite, “No thank you.” This was not received well by the brethren, who were more accustomed to hearing “of course.”
Them • “You’re turning down a call from the Lord?”
Me • “No. I’m turning down a call from you.”
I knew that the call was from them because there’s no way the Almighty would have called me. He doesn’t have to ask or even guess what I’ve done. If they knew what he has long known — probably before I actually did it — they wouldn’t have bothered to drive all the way to Herriman and scare the neighbors.
Paul Hulet • “Is that who I think it is on Kirby’s porch?”
Ben Clegg • “Better not be, or we’ll be needing a new church.”
Mostly I think it was because my wife told the brethren that it was time for them to leave. She had better things for me to do than church work.
“There’s no way you can have him. He hasn’t even finished cleaning the garage yet. And who’s going to get rid of all those bowling balls while he’s off blathering in conferences around the world?”
The brethren left dejected, but it was all for the better. I watched conference Saturday morning when top Mormon leaders invited Elders Gerrit W. Gong (Chinese-American) and Ulisses Soares (Brazil) to join them in the red seats. I knew then that I had made the right decision.
Forget that wholly fabricated incident for now. My favorite part of Saturday morning’s conference session was Elder Larry J. Echo Hawk’s sermon about forgiving other people for the pain they cause in our lives.
I have to confess that my first thought wasn’t about forgiving the girlfriends who broke my heart, people who snubbed me, friends who ditched me, or even the #%$@s who tried to kill me.
Nope, when it came to whom I needed to forgive, the first candidates were LDS leaders who through the years had made poor decisions, provided bad examples and given personal counsel that ended up suggesting I would have been better off inquiring of Satan.
It has been my experience that following someone else’s advice simply because I’m supposed to esteem their counsel over my own is a recipe for all sorts of horribleness.
I’m not saying that I always get bad advice from ecclesiastical sources. I don’t. Most of the time it’s good. But the times I’ve regretted their counsel is when I should have gone with what seemed like my own better idea in the first place.
Want proof? OK, the LDS Church just called two non-Utah and ethnically different men as apostles for the first time in its history. How is it that a guy with the spirituality level of bacteria has had that same thought for at least 40 years, and Mormon leaders are just now getting around to it? Why didn’t they come up with the idea sooner?
Oh, hell, I’ll stick with the theme. I forgive them.