So assume you were called as a general authority and said yes. What do you think you would do? What would be your concerns?
Well, first you would be plunged right into administrative tasks, reorganizing and organizing Stakes. Over and over again you would see a dramatic need for people with ability, temperament and time to serve as leaders.
Second, you would have a constant stream of people seeking you out for comfort and advice. Even more than a bishop you would gain a strong perspective on certain classes of sorrow and travail, doubt and faith.
Third, you would be pestered constantly by people agitating for an agenda (think of Bruce R. McConkie and the people who were after him to condemn white bread and chocolate as Word of Wisdom violations).
Fourth, you would start to encounter the penumbra, the area where people hear advice and either fall short or look past the mark. Told not to delay having children too long they start at 16. Told to prepare before having children, they wait until 50 and go with in vitro to make sure everything is perfect.
Those are the four experiences that would be a constant in your life and that would shape your perspectives on the needs of the Church and its members.
So, think of a concern you have now. Recast it in terms of the four issues that come to perpetuate in the life of a new general authority. Ask yourself how that might shape how you frame your concerns.
This completes my three essays on understanding General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Next time you look at an essay on how someone feels the Church ought to be changed, I hope you will be able to look at it through the lens of how the presentation would affect you if you were someone who might have an input into such changes.
Are the arguments ones that appeal to a mindset based on deferred gratification and belief in spiritual guidance?
Do they fit within the values of consensus and collegiality?
Are they in terms of meeting one of the two positive needs (more qualified leadership, finding comfort and support) and do they avoid looking like a repeat pest with no concern for the penumbra effects?
Assuming anyone who writes is interested in institutional change rather than navel gazing, there really are two venues. One is petitioning God for any change you want to see happen. I’ve written about how to do that. The second is building a framework for your issue that fits into the process.
So, if you were a newly called general authority and wanted to promulgate a change, how would you frame it and what would you do?