In his Sept. 30 priesthood session address, President Henry B. Eyring spoke of “the wonderful way” in which the Lord leads His kingdom on earth.
“You already know the fundamentals,” said the first counselor in the First Presidency. “First, Jesus Christ is the head of the Church in all the earth. Second, He leads His Church today by speaking to men called as prophets. He does it through revelation. Third, He gave revelation to His prophets long ago, still does, and will continue to do so. Fourth, He gives confirming revelation to those who serve under the leadership of His prophets.”
From those fundamentals, it’s clear that the Lord’s leadership of His Church requires “great and steady faith” from all who serve Him.
“It takes faith to believe that the resurrected Lord is watching over the daily details of His kingdom. It takes faith to believe that He calls imperfect people into positions of trust. It takes faith to believe that He knows the people He calls perfectly, both their capacities and their potential, and so makes no mistakes in His calls.”
President Eyring said his hope is to build the faith of Latter-day Saints to know the Lord is inspiring the imperfect persons He calls as leaders of His Church.
“You may think, at first, that such faith is not important to the success of the Lord’s Church and kingdom,” he said. “However, you may discover — no matter where you are in the chain of priesthood service, from the Lord’s prophet to a new Aaronic Priesthood holder — that faith is essential.”
The Church leader spoke about what faith means for, say, a ward bishop. A bishop is often called to serve people who know him well. Ward members may know of his weaknesses and his strengths. Some members likely know others in the ward who seem better educated, more seasoned, more pleasant, or even better looking.
“These members have to know the call to serve as a bishop came from the Lord, by revelation,” he said. “Without their faith, the bishop who was called of God will find it harder to get the revelation he needs to help them. He will not succeed without the faith of the members to sustain him.”
For a leader to succeed in the Lord’s work, the people’s trust that he or she is called of God must override their view of his or her infirmities and mortal weaknesses.
“Your leader in the Lord’s Church may seem to you weak and human or may appear to you strong and inspired,” said President Eyring. “The fact is that every leader is a mixture of those traits and more. What helps servants of the Lord, who are called to lead us, is when we can see them as the Lord did when He called them.”
The Lord, he added, sees His servants perfectly. He sees their potential and their future. He knows how their very nature can be changed. He also knows how they can be changed by their experiences with the people they will lead.
President Eyring spoke of his own experience serving as a bishop. From that calling, he learned that the faith of the people he served, sometimes even more than his own faith, allowed him to receive revelation in the Lord’s service.
He shared this credo from President James E. Faust:
“We ... need to support and sustain our local leaders, because they ... have been ‘called and chosen.’ Every member of this Church may receive counsel from a bishop or a branch president, a stake or a mission president, and the President of the Church and his associates. None of these brethren asked for his calling. None is perfect. Yet they are the servants of the Lord, called by Him through those entitled to inspiration. Those called, sustained and set apart are entitled to our sustaining support. ...
“Disrespect for ecclesiastical leaders has caused many to suffer spiritual weakening and downfall. We should look past any perceived imperfections, warts, or spots of the men called to preside over us, and uphold the office which they hold” (“Called and Chosen,” Ensign or Liahona, November 2005).
Faith and humility, added President Eyring, are required to “serve in the place to which we are called” and to trust that the Lord called those who lead and preside — and to sustain them with full faith.