A few years ago President Faust said something in conference that had a major impact on me:
No earthly authority can separate us from direct access to our Creator… We do not need to go through secretaries or make an appointment to reach the throne of grace. He is reachable at any time and any place. (James E. Faust, “The Lifeline of Prayer,” Ensign, May 2002, 59)
In other words if we want to meet with our Bishop we must set up an appointment that fits his schedule through the ward executive secretary. The same is true for our Stake President, Area Authorities, Area Presidency, etc. If we felt like meeting the President of the Church for an interview we would almost surely be out of luck. But we have a standing personal appointment with his Boss. Each of us can talk with the highest authority in this church any time we feel like it and He will attentively listen and respond.
Why is this important? — Because it is further protection against our own falling away. Those that talk with the owner of the organization at least have someone in power to turn to when the management of the organization fumbles. And yes church leaders often screw up – nearly as often as any person does in any other part of life.
Let’s say you have a bishop that pulls some boneheaded, foolish, lame, or otherwise highly offensive move. What are you to do? Well, I think the best solution is to march into the owner’s office and complain about it. The owner (God) will listen intently and will then try to figure out the best way to solve the problem for you (you have the advantage of being related to Him after all.) Here’s a hypothetical conversation you might have with the owner about this knucklehead bishop of yours. He’ll check the important questions first:
God: “Have you been keeping the promises you made to me?”
You: “Of course!”
God: “And this bishop has not done anything to unjustly prevent you from participating in sacrament or temple ordinances has he?”
You: “No, but he is such an intolerable jerk.”
God: “Yes, I know he can be difficult at times. Perhaps you would like me to have you do his job instead?”
You: “Uhhh, no. I’m not saying I want that…”
God: “You are still in good standing with me; you still participate in sacrament and temple ordinances so what is the problem?”
You: “The guy is just a jerk — and worse than that he is as dumb as a doorknob”
God: “And you are never a jerk?”
You: “Well, no I never said that… But he treats me like dirt and gives me crappy callings.”
God: “So you think I care what calling you have? Haven’t I told you that I don’t care about that? I only care that you show up often for these interviews and that you keep the promises you made to me. You aren’t gunning for callings are you? Who are you trying to impress?”
You: (Sheepishly) “Well no, it’s not like that… You are mainly the one I want to impress… I just don’t want to associate with him.”
God: “But you promised to take the sacrament and help out in the ward and so did he… Are you planning to break your promise to me?”
You: “Of course not!”
God: “And do you want him to break his promise to me?”
You: “No I guess not…”
God: “Don’t worry about it. I know the guy is a yutz sometimes but as you know I tend to be pretty lenient on yutzes…” (grinning)
You: (Grinning and wincing) “Oh yeah – I know that…”
God: “Buck up little camper – I’m still in your corner. This will pass like all the other annoyances. Just keep coming back for your interviews. I really love our talks together.”
You: (Feeling comforted) “Yeah, I do too.”
And you’ll leave the interview feeling a little sheepish. And after that you’ll have to decide if you want to talk with the owner again or not.
Those that do come back to talk with the owner are called His sheep – also known as the Elect.