When changes are made in secular society, the reason are usually forthright and obvious. Slavery is abolished: We were racist. Women get the right to vote: we were sexist. Gay marriage approved: we were homophobic.

But what happens when a church that claims that God is directing its every move, that God wakes up its leader in the middle of the night to to tell him he needs to change the name of the church, makes changes that make God look bad?

A recent example is God changing his mind about women being witnesses of ordinances. Last week they were incapable of making sure a toe did not stick up during a baptism, this week they are. Now if this was a secular decision, it would be that we were just clinging to sexist traditions of a patriarchal society. But how does one explain this in a religious context? Did God change his mind? Were the leaders wrong for 180 years, clinging to ” sexist traditions of a patriarchal society “? But if they were wrong here, what else have they got wrong?

Probably the most glaring example of throwing God under the bus is the implementation and then rescinding of the POX. Our leaders told us both the POX and “de-POX” was revelation. Is God really that fickle? Or did our leaders get it wrong, and after three years righted the wrong?

This of course is a catch 22 for the leaders of the Church. If they admit that they sometimes make mistakes, the members lose faith and wonder which things they are mistaken in. But if everything is guided by God, then He becomes the bad guy.

I believe the answer is for our leaders (Q15) to start a gentle pull back from the idea that God is intimately involved in the direction of the Church. How about this: the church is guided by honest men (and one day women) trying to do their best, and God watches over them, letting them make mistakes, giving them a slight nudge, sometimes by outer forces [1], when needed.

There is really nothing that earth shattering about the above recommendation, and a few of the brethren and even said as much, but then it is countered with stories of our leaders getting revelation directly from God, in the temple, or in the middle of the night.

Let me end with a story about how the church could solve this problem by following the example of Boyd K Packer. In the late 1980s I was in a Priesthood Leadership meeting with him in Santa Monica California. He told us about receiving revelation. He said he had NEVER seen an angelic person, he had NEVER heard an audible voice, and he didn’t know of any of his fellow apostles that had either. He said he just felt good about a decision, and that was God giving him confirmation, but sometimes he got it wrong. What if all the Q15 could be as forthright as Elder Packer was 30 years ago?

[1] Civil rights movement; priesthood available to all worthy males. Polygamy outlawed; 1890 and 1904 proclamation. Former bishop asks for protection of the children in youth interviews; new rules that lets parents accompany their children.