In the run up to the election today, an individual that was not pleased by Pastor Ted Haggard’s political positions publicly detailed some of Haggard’s embarrassing activities. These activities are inconsistent with Haggard’s professed and outspoken beliefs. My exposure to Haggard is limited to an interview by Barbara Walters where he explained an Evangelical view of Heaven. He was the president of the National Association of Evangelicals (no doubt he has a fondness for Mormonism).
I was impressed by his congregation’s response to the affair. As reported by The Times:
After the service, some of the congregation knelt and said a prayer for Mr Haggard, including Patty Erwin, who has been attending the church for 15 years.
“We all love him because he’s a part of our family. You don’t just throw away a sister or a brother,” she said. “Desperately, we love him, and we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t.”
Most of us know someone in the Church that has fallen. Leaders even. Granted, we no longer live in the times of Joseph when he could hardly keep a first presidency together, but we see those we admire and trust betray us. Sometimes they betray us for unbelief and sometimes it is for meth and a male escort.
I think part of the trauma from this is that leaders in the Church are to be counted upon for revelation over their stewardship. We are relying on each other to give our community structure. If the Bishop was cheating, does that mean all the counsel he gave was bogus? The structure shakes. And I think that there are ways to fall that present more of a trial for others…because we are human.
I remember the first time I felt betrayed. Oddly, after praying that God would heal my pain, I found that I had a greater and deeper respect for the person who I thought was perfect but wasn’t.
I truly believe that the vast majority of our leaders are “worthy” to hold their office, i.e., they are worthy to hold a Temple Recommend by any general consensus of what that means. We are blessed to live in a time when we don’t have the challenges of apostasy that our progenitors experienced. It has been 63 years since an apostle was excommunicated. But we have revelations where the Prophet is told that he can be replaced and so the possibility remains.
I don’t know what all the ramifications of the unfaithful steward are. I don’t know that I particularly care. I do know that they are insignificant when placed in the perspective of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The atonement is available for all who turn to Jesus, even the hypocrite.