You need to read my previous post to make sense of this second post.
There are eight lessons we learn from my parable of Adam and Eve. I propose to spend some time on each of them in the coming months. This first lesson is directed at those who have authority over others. This lesson is all about unrighteous dominion.
The prophet Joseph Smith was told in section 121 of the D&C that unrighteous dominion is pervasive and that "…no power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned." What Joseph didn't do is explain exactly what unrighteous dominion is. I will use the parable of Adam and Eve I presented previously to explain exactly what unrighteous dominion is so that we can easily recognize it and take steps to counteract it.
To recap, in the parable of Adam and Eve what Adam did, when he added an extra commandment to that given him from God, was unrighteous dominion. I'm sure that Adam's intentions were pure but his reasoning was faulty. To make sense of what Adam did we need to assume two things. The first is that his behaviour wasn't malicious. The second is that he was so worried that Eve wouldn't be able to resist partaking of the forbidden fruit unless he added an extra step. Unfortunately what he didn't do was respect Eve's agency and this failure is at the root of Adam's sin and in fact all unrighteous dominion.
For example I was in my High Priests meeting the other day and a former Bishop said he had great success in using this question. "When was the last time you used pornography?" to trick young people to confess. Yet it is clearly stated in the Church Handbook of Instruction not to do this. In this example of unrighteous dominion this former Bishop felt that he needed to add a little extra just like Adam did with Eve. I had heard of this before but never first hand and I was shocked that this former Bishop would even consider using this technique let alone use it and then boast about it. I even found a website where a group of Bishops expounded on the merits of using this and other questions like it. And the reason why they use these types of questions is because for the most part they always work, especially with young people. And because they work they get used a lot.
The only problem is that those who use these types of question are exercising unrighteous dominion and unrighteous dominion was what Lucifer was proposing. Lucifer intention was to force everyone to be good so when a Church leader uses this type of interview question to force someone into confessing they are doing the very thing that Lucifer proposed.
Not only is this an example of unrighteous dominion there is a related problem and it happens as soon as the word gets out that the Bishop will try and trick you into confessing. When the members of his ward learn of his underhanded method the pipeline of naive young people will quickly dry up. But even more significant is that once someone is burned by this trick they become jaded about Church leadership just like in the case of Adam and Eve. When Eve found fault with the commandment as given by Adam she wasn't able to resist partaking of the forbidden fruit. This same thing happens with those young people who are unfortunate to have a Bishop that thinks tricking them into confessing is a good idea. And just like Eve when these young people are tempted the deceitful actions of their leaders gives them an excuse at the very instant they need support from the Church. I'm aware of a number of studies done at BYU that suggest that the combination of deceitful leaders and raging hormones is the single most significant factor in the high rate of inactivity and apostasy in the Church in the age group from 18 to 25.
I could go on and on listing examples because as Joseph suggested unrighteous dominion is ubiquitous. And things need to change. If you are in leadership in the Church and you are using these types of question then you need to recognize that doing so is a sin and stop immediately. If you have been subject this type of abuse then you need to forgive those who committed this sin because ultimately you will be held accountable for your part in any sin that you might commit regardless of whether there are extenuating factors. And if you are a lay member of the Church your obligation is to speak out if you see an example of unrighteous dominion. And lastly everyone needs to share this message.