The Governing Ones is one of the more unusual and interesting conference talks I’ve read.  Still chewing on it, to be honest.

Brother Bradford starts with the principle that priesthood is a government.  The rights of the priesthood are rights to govern.


But, he says, the most important form of government is self-government.  Can you imagine a ruler who spends 20 hours a week watching TV (other than President Trump, of course).  TV and social media in most forms is passive consumption.  It is being led, not leading.  Leaders lead.

Family Government

Then this:

The Lord expects you to govern a home- and family-centered gospel-living system. The challenge of governing the family is to so love, teach, and motivate its members that their personal decisions will be to unite one with another in the common purpose of following God’s plan.

There is more depth in that quote than meets the eye.  I think I am only scratching the surface when I say that contemplating it has led me to conclude that the basic difference between unrighteous and righteous dominion is the goal.  Unrighteous dominion has dominion as its goal.  Governance is not the means but the end.  Righteous dominion has government as the means to a righteous end. The  end that is view controls how the means are used.  A general principle of life that we ignore at our peril:

The end must shape the means.

This difference between unrighteous dominion and righteous dominion is the same difference between seeing leadership as a form of superiority and leadership as a function.  Our world confuses the two, which is why we have demands for every discernible group to get their quota of leadership and why so many of our elites think they are meritocratic and are deeply threatened by the evidence of their own inability. It is bad enough to not be doing real well at your task.  That happens to all of us.  It is worse if you are claiming to be superior on the basis of fraud and ignorance.

One other point he made family government.  The path to righteousness is the path of repentance so governing your family means “You involve yourself in and teach the steps of repentance.”

Church government

We love and need the auxiliaries. They are staffed by great, faithful servants. But the very name by which they are called, auxiliary, which means “helper,” should make it clear to us that the full weight of governing the Church rests squarely upon the priesthood.

If an individual or a family needs help in the process that will bring about their temporal and spiritual salvation, it is the responsibility of the priesthood. As the priesthood needs help in this work, and it will, it will call upon the resources of the auxiliaries.

The time must quickly come when, as the governing ones, we fully shoulder our responsibility as the shepherds of Israel. Our work must not be done by the restrictions of the calendar or as convenient to the schedule of our habits, but on a need basis.

Brethren, in some things there remains a considerable distance between what we are and what we should become.

There is a foretaste of the ministering program there.

Other Posts from the Priesthood Session of the October 1979 General Conference


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