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ZANE - Why are you not allowed to criticize the church authority even if they are wrong?

JOEL - First of all we believe the Church authorities(First Presidency and 12 Apostles) are prophets of God and that the doctrines and principles they teach us come directly from God. God said that "he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). So it would almost be like criticizing God. So active faithful members normally trust that what they say is correct, but at the same time we go to God in prayer to get a personal witness from the Holy Ghost for anything they teach or ask of us. Our leaders are not perfect, but since we do not have Jesus Christ right here on the earth with us, there has to be someone responsible for teaching the membership one correct doctrine; otherwise there would be chaos and confusion in the Church.

Secondly, in their positions they can better see the whole picture about what is going on in the Church and in the world that we might not know about. They take all that into consideration as they lead and direct us. Individual members of the Church are not in a position to know what they know.

Thirdly, noone stops anyone from disagreeing with what the leaders say. My wife and I have sometimes questioned things and we talk about it between ourselves. But what we are not allowed to do is to preach false doctrines, or openly criticize, or contradict what they say to other members of the Church or to the general public. That is considered an act of Apostasy. This is true for most any religion.

President George Q. Cannon said:
"A friend . . . wished to know whether we . . . considered an honest difference of opinion between a member of the Church and the Authorities of the Church was apostasy. . . . We replied that we had not stated that an honest difference of opinion between a member of the Church and the Authorities constituted apostasy, for we could conceive of a man honestly differing in opinion from the Authorities of the Church and yet not be an apostate; but we could not conceive of a man publishing those differences of opinion and seeking by arguments, sophistry, and special pleading to enforce them upon the people to produce division and strife and to place the acts and counsels of the Authorities of the Church, if possible, in a wrong light and not be an apostate, for such conduct was apostasy as we understood the term. (Gospel Truth, Deseret Book Co., 1974, vol. 2, pp. 276-77.)

Fourthly, it just isn't a very polite thing to do.

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