A quote from Brigham Young:
“It floods my heart with sorrow to see so many Elders of Israel who wish everybody to come to their standard and be measured by their measure. Every man must be just so long, to fit their iron bedstead, or be cut off to the right length; if too short, he must be stretched, to fill the requirement.
If they see an erring brother or sister, whose course does not comport with their particular ideas of things, they conclude at once that he or she cannot be a Saint, and withdraw their fellowship, concluding that, if they are in the path of truth, others must have precisely their weight and dimensions.
Let us be patient with one another. I do not altogether look at things as you do. My judgment is not in all things like yours, nor yours like mine. When you judge a man or woman, judge the intentions of the heart. It is not by words, particularly, nor by actions, that men will be judged in the great day of the Lord; but, in connection with words and actions, the sentiments and intentions of the heart will be taken, and by these will men be judged.”Brigham Young
In other words, Brigham Young is saying that he is always wrong, but that the way he wishes to be judged, and to judge is by the intentions of the heart, not by words or actions — the way that God will judge us.
Now take this quote from Joseph Smith in that context:
“If I esteem mankind to be in error shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up and in their own way, too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better.”Joseph Smith
Part of the approach taken by Brigham Young and Joseph Smith was the belief that revelation from God was a continuing process and that we were limited in our ability to understand God by the limits of our language and experience. Our words would always be insufficient. Our actions would always fail. All that could save us was to have turned our hearts to the love of Christ.
One take away is that we are always wrong as much as we are right, and
that with each generation, the revelations of God have to re reinterpreted in the light of the knowledge, language and experience of that generation (not necessarily a better perspective, but definitely a different one). There will always be change because our weaknesses, misunderstandings and the change in the external world means we will always be wrong and in need of change.
That is the message of every change. Thus the official position of the LDS Church that continual change is the order of the day, and the belief that people were doing their best through a glass darkly, is an acknowledgement that people were doing their best, often at great personal sacrifice and in the face of great hardship, and that even so, they made mistakes.
Consider. In every change is the implicit acknowledgment that change was necessary. That change was necessary is the implicit acknowledgment that something was wrong before (or, due to external changes, had become wrong).
This gives a lesson for judging our leaders, ourselves and outsiders. When we criticize someone in any of those groups, are we saying they weren’t really trying before rather than they fell short as they always will? If we define what they should be doing, what is the message we are sending?
What is the message that we send when we insist that everyone else “must have precisely” the “weight and dimensions” that we judge someone else by our own measure and perspective and that when we make such a judgment we give no weight for the intent of their hearts or the length and time of their efforts?
What are we really doing?
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”https://biblehub.com/1_samuel/16-7.htm
How do we judge others? How do we want to be judged?
Do not judge, or you will be judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?…·https://biblehub.com/matthew/7-2.htm
What do you think?
Does the Bible really mean it when it says:
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Or does that just apply to everyone else?