Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On Criticism...

Amazing as it may sound, bishops are sometimes are the target of criticism. The calling of bishop is inherently challenging. Add to that a few well-meaning, but cutting remarks and you have a recipe for lost sleep and ulcers. That said, there are a few things to keep in mind. These lessons apply to bishops...and everyone else.

The Church is composed of people. Sometimes, those people do things that are unfortunate and imperfect. Remember that before you take offense to any "friendly suggestions" that come off as brutal onslaughts. Most of the time, people really do mean well. They just tend to miss the landing, if you will. Work on the assumption that the "suggester" has your best interests at heart.

When a "friendly suggestion" is offered, look for the underlying reasons it may have been offered. The Prophet Joseph Smith once said that when someone made unjust accusations against him, he looked for the reasons which may have solicited the attack. If he looked long enough, he said, eventually he would find the reason. Then, he would work to correct the problem. That is wisdom.

So, from now on, waste less time getting offended and spend more time getting better. Take "friendly suggestions" for what they are worth. Is there something to improve upon? If so, do your best to make improvement. If not, do as the Prophet told Parley Pratt to do when he was fretting over a perceived slight..."Walk these things under your feet".

Either way, don't waste the time and effort on being offended. Get on with the work!


Em said...

Ooh! This is a cool blog premise. Can you email me at desnewsblogs at gmail dot com? I'd love to ask a few questions for my next feature!

Emily :)
Mormon Times

Kim said...

I'm always amazed when people criticize leaders in their ward. These people are volunteers of sorts giving their free time to serve the Lord (and the ward) for free. They're doing the best they can given the time they have to give.

I agree - stop being offended and cut people some slack in their callings. You agreed to sustain them, even if you don't like how they're doing it.

Dave said...

When I was recently called as bishop of the ward I had pretty much grown up in I thanked the members because I learned most of what I know from them - as such if they had any criticism they only had themselves to blame.

Great blog!


Patrick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick said...

No Bishop's is perfect and we should try and refrain from being offended. And criticizing people for a volunteer calling is often out of line. But if they clearly aren't doing the best they can and ignoring commandments from church leaders, can we be offended then? For example on my mission a Bishop thought his ward members didn't need to do missionary work. Although the Prophet commanded it, it wasn't important in his ward. So the mission president pulled missionaries out of the ward. Was it okay for my mission president to be offended by that Bishop's attitude?

IdyDi said...

Patrick, I see what you're saying, but I think our goal should be to help people -- ourselves and others -- be better. No one responds well to criticism, so the best way to help them is to be a good example, and help them when they need it. We're all imperfect, all in different ways. And sometimes we feel overwhelmed. So if we sustain someone, we owe it to them, to ourselves and to the Lord to do everything in our power to help them be successful.