"Rules for thee, but not for me."
This fall has shown us quite a cavalcade of leaders who say one thing, and do another with respect to Coronavirus lockdowns. Here are a few:
- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi went to a public hair salon without a mask. 
- Senator Diane Feinstein wandered around without a mask at both the Capitol building and Dulles International Airport. 
- California Gov. Gavin Newsom dined at a swanky Napa Valley restaurant with two California Medical Association senior officials and about seven others (all members of several other households), all without masks. 
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was forced to change his plans after he announced on the radio that he was having his adult daughters and his 89-year-old mother visit his home in Albany for Thanksgiving. 
- San Francisco Mayor London Breed was caught the night after Newsom was busted at the same restaurant - The French Laundry -- attending a birthday dinner there with 7 other people. 
- Austin Mayor Steve Adler has been busted twice flouting his own restrictions. "First, he hosted 20 people at a wedding and reception for his daughter at a downtown Austin hotel. The very next day, he took 7 other people in a private jet to his timeshare in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Then, while there, he addressed Austinites via a Facebook video in which he said, 'We need to stay home if you can.'" 
- Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser ignored travel restrictions to go to Joe Biden's victory party in Delaware, which she said "absolutely" qualified as "essential travel" (which is exempted from the mayor's quarantine order). 
- Denver Mayor Michael Hancock tweeted a reminder for people to "Stay home as much as you can, especially if you're sick… Host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners. Avoid travel, if you can." A few minutes later, he boarded a plane to spend Thanksgiving with his own family members in Houston, TX. 
- San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo apologized for attending a Thanksgiving dinner with relatives from five different households, saying it was "contrary to state rules". 
- Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot hung out with jubilant Biden supporters on election night, flaunting their own COVID restrictions.  In Mayor Lightfoot's case, she was also caught getting a haircut in the midst of her new stay-at-home order. Her explanation? The public needs to make sure she looks presentable. 
- Several members of the California Legislature enjoyed a trip to Hawaii to attend a conference about COVID restrictions. The trips were paid for by a special interest group. 
- Los Angeles County supervisor Sheila Kuehl dined at a restaurant hours after voting to ban dining at restaurants. 
- Dr. Anthony Fauci attended a baseball game with 2 guests while his mask pulled down in an otherwise empty stadium. 
As we read these consistent reports - all members of a specific political party - I wonder how much they believe in the COVID-19 related restrictions and rules they have enacted.
I'm also reminded of several quotes regarding hypocrites and hypocrisy:
- "He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him." 
- "For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery." 
- "Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:" 
- "For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the Lord, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail." 
- "Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." 
How the Brethren Betrayed Themselves
On Friday, Nov. 20, President Russell M. Nelson shared "a fast-acting, long-lasting spiritual remedy" into the world: "showing gratitude for our privileges" where, "for the next seven days" members would "turn social media into your own personal gratitude journal. Post every day about what you are grateful for, who you are grateful for and why you are grateful." Members were also instructed to "use the hashtag #GiveThanks." 
Now, for many decades and on just about every church-related website, blog and social media group, members are told several times a day to "Follow the Prophet" because "He knows the way" and that "history has shown that there is safety, peace, prosperity and happiness in responding to the prophetic counsel." 
Pres. Ballard went on to say that "Great and wonderful are the blessings that come into our lives as we listen to the word of the Lord given through him. When we hear the counsel of the Lord expressed through the words of the President of the Church, our response should be positive and prompt."
Although the response by many members was indeed positive and prompt, there was one class of members among whom Pres. Nelson's words were practically meaningless:
The 15 Brethren including Pres. Nelson himself.
Just to reiterate: the #GiveThanks marketing campaign was touted as an inspired, "fast-acting, long-lasting spiritual remedy." If that's true, then we would expect our leaders to enthusiastically magnify and multiply what members considered prophetic counsel. And by the looks of it, that's what happened, as this church news article publicizes. 
But the devil, they say, is in the details.
Let's take a look at the social media accounts (via this webpage) for the 15 brethren during that 7-day #GiveThanks challenge. Pres. Nelson announced the challenge on Friday, Nov. 20th. The challenge would be held "for the next seven days," which is presumably through Nov 27-28th (depending on how you interpret his words):
First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve
Participation in the #GiveThanks Campaign
(Invitation by Pres. Nelson was to post daily to social media)* My thanks to IHAQ, who inspired my own research into this matter.
As you can see, there should be 15 entries for each of the days in white. But there weren't. In fact, even Pres. Nelson (who set forth the invitation/challenge) only posted on three days. Elder Uchtdorf never posted at all.
Based on the aforementioned facts, I have the following questions:
- So, what's going on here?
- Do the Brethren even believe the challenge (to post for 7 days on social media) was inspired?
- If it was inspired (as the general membership tends to believe), what are we to think of the Brethren minimizing/de-emphasizing/ignoring that inspiration, without exception?
- If it was not inspired, then (1) why was it given in the first place and (2) why would Pres. Nelson lead us to believe it was?
- How are we to follow the Brethren (including the church president) if they don't even do what they ask of the members?
- If this initiative had the potential to help infuse a "a fast-acting, long-lasting spiritual remedy" into the world, then why wasn't it enthusiastically embraced by all 15 men?
- How are we to respond to the next initiative pronounced by Pres. Nelson?
- What is the definition of hypocrisy?
- Do we see it in some national, state and local leaders?
- Do we see it in some church leaders?
- What does God say about hypocrites?
- What would God say about those who follow hypocrites?
11. Job 13:16
12. Job 15:34
13. Isaiah 29:13
14. Isaiah 32:6
15. Luke 12:1