Years ago, in a Stake Priesthood meeting, our Stake President told of being called to give a blessing to a dying woman in the hospital. He felt prompted by the spirit (and also I’m sure by the medical prognosis) to not say in his bless that she would be healed, but he blessed her to pass peacefully and quickly. Well, she didn’t, she made a full recovery, and was in fact alive at the telling of this story in the Stake meeting! This added a very human factor to our Stake President, even more so with him being a surgeon!

Contrast this to Elder Holland’s General Conference talk about feeling prompted to take the wrong fork in the road. Instead of teaching us that a future Apostle could misinterpret the spirit, and get it wrong, he taught (through twisted logic) that the Lord actually blessed him and his father by giving them wrong directions!

Recent events have again brought this inability of our church leaders to admit they make a mistakes to the forefront.

Instead of just admitting that the direction missionaries had received from leaders was wrong about challenging members to baptism in the first discussion, Elder Ballard said church leaders don’t know where this practices started.

Packer’s 1976 Oct Conference talk about little factories and how there is “no mismatching of bodies and spirits, boys are to be men, masculine and manly men….” recently disappeared from the church’s web site [1]. No apology for admitting this is wrong, or asking for forgiveness for all the pain this caused our LBGTQ members.

Then there is is the Policy of Exclusion (POX). Implemented by revelation, and then reversed (by revelation?) 3 years later.

All these errors, mistakes, or whatever you want to call them, highlight a growing problem for the church. Although church leaders have never claimed infallibility, by never admitting to a specific mistake they have fostered an aura of infallibility. They admit to being fallible, and even once admitted that they make mistakes in general terms [2], but never a specific mistake. Wouldn’t it be refreshing for one of our General Authorities to get up in Conference (like my Stake President did in Stake Priesthood meeting) and admit that they blew it on a specific policy, that they misinterpreted the spirit, and they are now correcting that mistake! This would create more realistic expectations among members for their own spiritual promptings, and also help members cope with mistakes made by their local leaders.

So where does this leave us? Do they think they are fooling us by never admitting mistakes? Are they afraid that by admitting to a mistake, we as a membership will start to question all their directions? Is there a way for them to “save face” when they make a mistake, and still admit to errors? What are your thoughts?

[1] You can see the name of the talk at (as of the day of this post) on the web site, but click it and see what happens

[2] “To be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Come, Join with Us,” Oct 2013 Saturday Morning session of Conference