In this month First Presidency Message our Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, asks us to be loyal to the Church. He clearly believes and is teaching here that this is the Savior’s true church, and we cannot be loyal to the Savior while being disloyal to the Church or the prophets who the Lord has chosen to lead it in our day. I would like to add my testimony to his. This is a true teaching. If we want to please the Savior, if we are loyal to Him, then we will love and follow those whom he has chosen to lead the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today. We are traitors to the Church and to the Savior whose priesthood it possesses if we do not support and sustain the Brethren. Specifically, this is what President Hinckley said:
Be Loyal to the Church”Be loyal to the Church. I have a testimony of the truth of this Church. So do you. . . . Nearly everyone here can stand upon his feet and say, ‘I know that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ and that this is Their work.’ . . . Never do anything which would speak of disloyalty in any sense. Uphold [the Church], sustain her, pray for her, work for her, move her forward. . . . The future of the work . . . lies with you. We need loyal and faithful Latter-day Saints. . . .
“Be loyal to the faith. Be loyal to God. Be loyal to Jesus Christ. Be loyal to the Church of Jesus Christ, and in so doing, you will be loyal to yourselves” (meeting, Kingston, Jamaica, May 15, 2002).
“Be loyal to this Church, my brothers and sisters. . . . I want to give you my testimony that the General Authorities of this Church will never lead you in paths that will take you down. They will lead you in a trail that leads upward if you will follow in faith and faithfulness” (regional conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 5, 2002).
Why are there so many online saints who bellyache and moan about the Brethren and the way they run the Church? Do those who possess this spirit of criticism even know what loyalty is? Do they treat their friends this way? How about their closest loved ones? Of course the prophets are not infallible, but they have been chosen by the Lord to lead the Church today. That means they have been asked by Jesus Christ to lead us ourselves if we are members of this Church.
We made a covenant with the Savior when we were baptized. We promised Him that we would keep his commandments so that he could bless us with the companionship of the Holy Ghost. We renew that promise every time we take the Sacrament. Are we going to turn around and break that promise by being unrighteously critical of our prophet-leaders in our daily conversation and on the Internet? Aren’t we commanded to love one another? Isn’t that one of the most important commandments the Lord has given? And isn’t that what we have promised to do when we promise to keep his commandments? And if we are to love our friends and family, shouldn’t we love our Church leaders too? How can we be continually picking away at their faults and supposed sins, and honestly say that we love them? This spirit of criticism that is so prevalent among some online saints is not from above. It is from below. It is from the devil. The Holy Ghost doesn’t inspire us to possess such a spirit of criticism.
I think that we have a big problem in our popular culture here in the USA. We are forgetting what the word “loyalty” means. How can we be loyal to our friends or to our Church leaders when we stab them in the back? And isn’t that what we are doing when we run them down in front of others? Would we do this if they were present? Or do we only do this when we think they aren’t listening? How do we like it when our friends and loved ones bad mouth us behind our backs? That is not being loyal. That is being a traitor to our friends, to those we love, or those we are supposed to love.
Loyalty is all about loving one another. We cannot love one another if we are not loyal to them. We don’t have to approve of everything they do, but we need to defend them and speak well of them. If we fail to do this, if we are disloyal, then we are very unloving indeed. We are lacking charity. And I don’t know anyone who thinks that is OK, not even the most doubting and dissident member of the Church.
We all need to learn better what loyalty is, and how important loyalty is when we love someone. We cannot say that we love the Savior and be disloyal to his Church and those whom he has chosen to lead us. We need to stop being critical of the Brethren. We need to repent. If we don’t, the Savior is going to be unhappy with us even though he loves us. He will feel that we have let him down.
I have a testimony of this. When we are disloyal to the Brethren, we are disloyal to our Savior. We ought to be ashamed of such behavior when we are guilty of it.