Today I read 1 Nephi 21 and I was very intrigued by a phrase right in the first verse. The Lord, through Isaiah, states that Israel is broken off and driven out because of the wickedness of the pastors of His people. I have never noticed that phrase before. It is a very interesting phrase. It implies that the Israelites were led astray because of the wickedness of His church’s leaders. It reminds me of King Mosiah in the Book of Mormon. He taught the people that a wicked king leads his people to do iniquity and from one sin to another.
Truly this is the case. When people trust someone, they look at their example. They follow them. They use them as an excuse for their own wickedness. It starts from the time we are children. Our children watch us and use any example of wrongdoing on our part to justify what they want to do. In a child it is understandable because they don’t know any better and are watching their children to find out how to live and what they need to be doing in life. In an adult however, there is less excuse. Each of us knows what is right and what is wrong generally speaking. And to say that we were led astray by someone else is generally not a good excuse. But here the Lord states that the people of Israel were led astray by the wickedness of His pastors. How do we reconcile this with the idea of agency?
The answer to me is simple. It happens over generations. The reason people at the time of the Savior did not recognize Him is because generations of religious leaders had led the people so far away from where they should have been, that they did not recognize Him when He came to them. The example of the leaders had led them far away from where they were meant to be. It takes a strong person who can recognize that the leaders are doing things that are not in keeping with the doctrine and can hold strong against their bad example. However you have to first know the doctrine, that is the first step. It is up to all of us to make sure we know the doctrine, we have to search it out and understand it. Then we have to have the strength to stand by the doctrine. Finally, anything a leader tells us that does not seem in keeping with the doctrine we have to search out on our own and find out for ourselves if it is what the Lord wants us to be doing. We have to ask and act on what He tells us. This is the only way we will keep strong against all the buffeting winds of Satan. Until tomorrow.