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One thing that comforts me in my unresolved concerns is that President Nelson has stated clearly that the Restoration is not complete: “We’re witnesses to a process of restoration. If you think the Church has been fully restored, you’re just seeing the beginning.
There is much more to come. . . . Wait till next year. And then the next year. Eat your vitamin pills. Get your rest. It’s going to be exciting.”
As a Church claiming the fulness of the gospel, we should be careful to not lock ourselves into believing that we already have all we need from God, that there is nothing more to know. The ninth article of faith states, “We believe that God will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” In the introduction of this book, I shared this quote from Elder Uchtdorf: “Remember, it was the questions young Joseph asked that opened the door for the restoration of all things. We can block the growth and knowledge our Heavenly Father intends for us. How often has the Holy Spirit tried to tell us something we needed to know but couldn’t get past the massive iron gate of what we thought we already knew?”
The Restoration is not finished. There is still so much more to learn.
As we create a safe place for people to ask questions, we also need to hold space for those who have had a difficult leader experience. In his October 2013 conference address, Elder Uchtdorf acknowledged:
To be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine. I suppose the Church would be perfect only if it were run by perfect beings. God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us—His imperfect children—and imperfect people make mistakes.
In most cases, I do not believe there was any malice behind the mistakes made by members or leaders. Even though these mistakes may have caused us pain, realizing in most situations there was no intent to harm may help us move forward. Part of the progress of the Restoration is the progress of members of the Church learning to treat each other more kindly, apologizing when mistakes are made, and extending grace and forgiveness to each other.
Perhaps a person’s concern will be resolved by Church leaders in a future policy adjustment. I have seen that happen many times, including in early January 2019 with wording adjustments to the temple ceremony,16 and in May 2019 with discontinuing the one-year waiting period for temple sealings after civil marriage.
Understanding that substantial changes have been enacted in the past can prepare us in anticipation of further developments in the future. In the meantime, we should extend support and grace to our leaders who are called of God and have priesthood keys and authority to lead the Church, as well as to individuals who are unsettled about various aspects of our doctrine and organization.
The following was taken from the book, Listen, Learn, and Love: Improving Latter-day Saint Culture by Richard Ostler, currently on sale at Cedarfort.com.