Recounting a long road trip early in his marriage, when he mistakenly told his new bride that he had the "right" to tell her how to drive the car simply because he was her husband and he held the priesthood, Elder Larry Y. Wilson of the Seventy used the experience to teach that husbands and wives, parents and leaders can lead "only upon the principles of righteousness."
"The Doctrine and Covenants explains that the right to use the priesthood in the home or elsewhere is directly connected with righteousness in our lives," he explained. "We lose our right to the Lord's Spirit and to whatever authority we may have from God when we exercise control over another person in an unrighteous manner."
Elder Wilson taught that when one tries to "compel someone to righteousness who can and should be exercising his or her own moral agency," he warned, "we are acting unrighteously." Instead, he admonished, "when setting firm limits for another person is in order, those limits should always be administered with loving patience and in a way that teaches eternal principles."
Elder Wilson explained that compulsion created by unrighteous dominion prevents learning opportunities for those being coerced. He taught that parents need to be especially cautious of making this mistake with their children.
"Wise parents must weigh when children are ready to begin exercising their own agency in a particular area of their lives," he said, adding, "if parents hold on to all decision-making power and see it as their 'right,' they severely limit the growth and development of their children."
Elder Wilson expanded his talk about leading with principles of righteousness to comfort those who may have lost trust in God's love due to the unfortunate unrighteous dominion of others.
"If we are going to help those in our stewardships make the all-important link with heaven, we must be the kind of parent and leader described in Doctrine and Covenants section 121," he said. Closing by speaking to everyone in the Church — parents, leaders, children and everyone in between — Elder Wilson promised, "Even if you've been mistreated in the past, I know the Lord wants you to come unto Him. All are loved. All are welcomed."