Even the New York Times (“All the news that’s fit to print”) is excited:
I suppose it was inevitable, now that we’ve jettisoned our long-time teaching that our leaders are infallible.
“What long-time teaching?” you may ask.
And well might you wonder.
We’ve never even taught that our scriptures are infallible, let alone our living, mortal leaders.
“And now,” reads the revealed ancient title page to the Book of Mormon, “if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.”
The apostle Paul was very aware of his own limitations, and those of his fellow apostles and prophets:
“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:1-7)
“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” ( 1 Corinthians 13:9-12)
Of course, many Latter-day Saints have tended to place their leaders on pedestals that their leaders haven’t themselves claimed to occupy. As the old joke goes, “The Catholic Church teaches that the pope is infallible, but no Catholic really believes it. The Mormon Church teaches that its leaders are fallible, but no Mormon really believes it.”