BETA

Criticism plants seeds of apostasy

Soon after they began the exodus, Aaron and Miriam - brother and sister to Moses - complained against Moses, who was "very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." (Num. 12:3.)

Their displeasure stemmed from the fact Moses had married an Ethiopian. Also, they might have felt Moses had usurped power they had formerly possessed, for they said, "Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us?" (Num. 12:2.) Because of their complaints, Aaron and Miriam were severely chastised.In The Miracle of Forgiveness, Elder Spencer W. Kimball wrote of Church members whose rebellion frequently takes the form of criticism of authorities and leaders:

"They speak evil of dignities' andof the things that they understand not,' says Peter. (See 2 Pet. 2:10, 12.) They complain of the programs, belittle the constituted authorities, and generally set themselves up as judges. After a while they absent themselves from Church meetings for imagined offenses, and fail to pay their tithes and meet their other Church obligations. In a word, they have the spirit of apostasy, which is almost always the harvest of the seeds of criticism. Unless they repent they shrivel in the destructive element they have themselves prepared, poison themselves with mixtures of their own concocting; or as Peter puts it, they `perish in their own corruption.' Not only do they suffer but their posterity also. . . .

"Such people fail to bear testimony to their descendants, destroy faith within their own homes, and actually deny the `right to the priesthood' to succeeding generations who might otherwise have been faithful in all things.

"One is reminded of how the Lord showed his displeasure at rebellion against his servant Moses when he upbraided Aaron and Miriam and afflicted the latter with leprosy. (See Num. 12:1-10.) Moses was the Lord's anointed. To criticize and complain against the servant was rebellion against the Master."