22. But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people,
and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds.
24. Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.
Over the last few years, I have wanted to explore the very topical question of accountability. Who is accountable when a person in an authority position leads his subordinates astray? The Mormon Church grappled with this question in the mid 1900's. The message was, "When the Church leaders have spoken, the thinking has been done. If a leader tells you to do something, and it is wrong, do it and you will be blessed for your obedience."
It is such a cozy, comforting feeling to know that you have a prophet nearby. If God doesn't speak to you, but He does speak to someone in your Church, you can feel very reassured. You can relax and figure that when God wants you to know something, He will tell "The Prophet", and the Prophet will tell you. Even more reassuring if you believe that you are in the only "true", "right" church, and that church is taking you straight to the Celestial Kingdom (while everyone else is going straight to hell). This is just simple human nature. We all want security and comfort (even sometimes at the expense of others).
So what happens when the Prophet-leader-dude mucks up? What happens when the President of the Church violates what God has taught? In 1889, God told President Wilford Woodruff to make no more concessions to the courts regarding plural marriage. A year later, Woodruff defied God and announced the (at least feigned) cessation of polygamous marriages. Eventually it stuck, and now the two camps exchange public barbs at each other for devolving into false religion. Who was to blame? Was it Woodruff - or was it the people - the people who would relax, capitulate and go along with it?
What happens when the Church tells the people that God would not "lead the leader astray" and that "were he to lead them astray, God would take him out of his place"? Is this a passport to divine infallibility? Is this what happened in the "One-Man-Rule" hierarchy in FLDS-ville? Did the church-members abdicate their own free agency in exchange for perks and the reassurance of a fast-track ride to heaven? Who is to blame? - a lecherous leader who takes the people's money and daughters and commits depravity in secret? - or is it the people who (despite their naivete) willfully surrendered their self-determination and allowed others to govern their families' destinies?
This is the big philosophical question, and li'l ol' Renn has the answer. EVERYONE is accountable! Who was to blame for forcing the devout Fundamentalists into the "wilderness"? Was it the Feds, the State, the Church, the Arizona and Utah citizens who supported the witch-hunt, and Detective Bishop Fred E. Curtis, who investigated criminal suspects during the week and excommunicated them on Sundays? Who was to blame for re-structuring a community and stripping it of its basic Constitutional principles of common-consent and free-agency (Warren or Lintbag)? The answer - EVERYONE.
It's time for everyone involved in this 100+-year mess to take a hard look at his and her own personal responsibility and choices - and then take accountability. Then let's go back to loving and forgiving each other, and work together and prepare for the bigger challenge that awaits us right around the corner.