The greatest evil of our day is not premarital sex, drinking, smoking, pornography or same sex attraction … Based on the scriptures, pride, unrighteous dominion, hypocrisy and coercion by priesthood holders is worse. This is why Jesus directed his rage to the money changers and not the prostitute.

Only upon the Principles of Righteousness

BY ELDER LARRY Y. WILSON

The Doctrine and Covenants explains that the right to use the priesthood in the home or elsewhere is directly connected with righteousness in our lives: “The powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.”1 It goes on to say that we lose that power when we “exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of [others], in any degree of unrighteousness.”2

This scripture says we must lead by “principles of righteousness.” Such principles apply to all leaders in the Church as well as to all fathers and mothers in their homes.3 We lose our right to the Lord’s Spirit and to whatever authority we have from God when we exercise control over another person in an unrighteous manner.4 We may think such methods are for the good of the one being “controlled.” But anytime we try to compel someone to righteousness who can and should be exercising his or her own moral agency, we are acting unrighteously. When setting firm limits for another person is in order, those limits should always be administered with loving patience and in a way that teaches eternal principles.

We simply cannot force others to do the right thing. The scriptures make it clear that this is not God’s way. Compulsion builds resentment. It conveys mistrust, and it makes people feel incompetent. Learning opportunities are lost when controlling persons pridefully assume they have all the right answers for others. The scriptures say that “it is the nature and disposition of almost all men” to engage in this “unrighteous dominion,”5 so we should be aware that it’s an easy trap to fall into. Women too may exercise unrighteous dominion, though the scriptures identify the problem especially with men.

The City Creek-ification of Temple View New Zealand

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To whom much is given much is expected

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