I would guess than almost everybody reading this post today has made a convent in the Temple to ” avoid all evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed” But what does that really mean? What is evil speaking? And who is the Lord’s anointed? Lets break that down and see what we can come up with.
First, what is evil speaking? There are only two places in the scriptures where the words “evil Speaking” come up. The first is Ephesians 4:31 “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.” If you click on the topical guide, lds.org will give you the word “slander” for evil speaking. I looked at about 20 different translations, and only the KJV uses “evil speaking”. Almost all the other use “slander” So it comes as no surprise that the only other place that “evil speaking” is found is D&C 20:54, given Joseph Smith’s penchant for using the KJV and its language for all his writings.
So the word evil speaking means to speak slander of somebody. The defenition of slander is
Also known as oral or spoken defamation, slander is the legal term for the act of harming a person’s reputation by telling one or more other people something that is untrue and damaging about that personInvestopedia
Notice that evil speaking/slander means to say something untrue about a person. What does NOT fall under evil speaking is disagreeing with somebody, or telling somebody they are wrong, or that they are making a mistake. If you say your bishop is cheating on his wife, and he in fact is not cheating on his wife, that is evil speaking/slander. If you say the bishop is wrong for calling Brother Smith as the Gospel Doctrine teaching, that is not. Saying Pres Oaks is anti LGBTQ is not evil speaking or slander.
So now that we’ve figured out what evil speaking means, lets look at who the Lord’s Anointed are. I think the average member thinks that it is our leaders. The Old Testament has ten places with the phrase “Lord’s anointed”, and it always is in reference to a leader, as kings and priested were anointed as part of their coronation/ordination in those times.
In the temple, everybody sitting in the “company” has been anointed in a previous ceremony. So one could argue that all temple endowed member are the “Lord’s Anointed”, and it has nothing to do with leaders as it did in the Old Testament. All it means is we shouldn’t speak lies about our fellow church members.
But maybe when Joseph Smith or Brigham Young added it to the Endowment ceremony, they were referring to the Second Anointing. If this is the case, then the Lord’s Anointed is only the top General Authorities, and a few others. But I’m going to reject this definition, since the membership does not know who has the Second Anointing, so why would God require members to covenant something that they don’t know who it applies to?
In conclusion, when we covenanted to avoid evil speaking of the Lords Anointed, we promised not to speak lies/slander about fellow endowed church members, including leaders. We did NOT promise or covenant to refrain from disagreeing or even criticizing our local or general church leaders. There may be other commandments or handbook instructions we are violating (see Mary Ann’s post from a few days ago here) when we criticize our church leaders, but we are NOT breaking a temple covenant.
Who do you think are the Lord’s Anointed?