Here are some actual examples of such corruption (List is illustrative, not exhaustive)

Examples of Corruption from Modern and Ancient Times 

Not allowing someone to attend Sacrament meeting

A snow-covered chapel and ground in Farmington, Utah. Accessed May 28,
2020 from
Telling a particular person that he/she is not welcome at Sacrament meeting and insisting the person leave. Guidance on this matter is unambiguous and clear.

3 Nephi 18:22 And behold, ye shall meet together oft; and ye shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together, but suffer them that they may come unto you and forbid them not;
D&C 46:3 Nevertheless ye are commanded never to cast any one out from your public meetings, which are held before the world.
Using Church influence to dictate to someone concerning their secular position

Ordering a new member to hire all the unemployed in the unit, because the member is a manager with the authority to do so in his or her secular job.
D&C 121: 41 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;
Lying to avoid taking responsibility

Misrepresenting to the stake president that a member and spouse feel their release from a calling was “uninspired” because the unit leader was caught lying to them asserting the stake president being the originator of the release, rather than the unit leader.

The unit leader was apparently trying to pass on the responsibility for decision making; rather than admitting that he, in fact, made the decision. Guidance on this matter is unambiguous and clear.
Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Ignoring guidelines and spending Church funds to suit oneself

Instead of sending the excess unit funds to Church headquarters, as instructed, when the new budget procedures were instituted; a unit leader buys expensive furnishings for the local meetinghouse, such as couches and pictures. Guidance on this matter is unambiguous and clear.
Malachi 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
Without consulting the stake president, a bishop bought a brand new car for a young couple in a ward, using welfare funds, without requiring anything of them. (This incident occurred before the new budget procedures were instituted.)

It was a poor ward where almost no own owned their own car, and the bishop FULLY paid for the new car. The couple had been inactive members who had recently moved into the ward's boundaries. They soon went inactive again and then moved on after getting the new car.
Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground;
1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
“In clarifying the purposes of welfare, in 1936 the First Presidency of the Church made this statement about the importance of work in helping Church members to help themselves:

“Our primary purpose was to set up, in so far as it might be possible, a system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of a dole abolished, and independence, industry, thrift and self respect be once more established amongst our people. The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves. Work is to be reenthroned as the ruling principle of the lives of our Church membership” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1936, p. 3).” (See this link in Provident Living.)
Not correcting those under one's jurisdiction who are clearly doing wrong

Not disciplining, correcting or removing leaders under one’s jurisdiction, that one knows are acting inappropriately. Guidance on this matter is unambiguous and clear.
1 Samuel 2:22 Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 23 And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. 24 Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress. 27 And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him . . . . 29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering . . . honourest thy sons above me . . . .31 Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house. 34 And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them.
This Old Testament story has a number of implications. Eli held a sacred Church position and his sons were underneath him. He KNEW they were sinning and although he talked to them about it he did not solve the problem.

In addition to their sexual sins, they were doing the modern equivalent of embezzling tithing funds. Obviously, we would hesitate to pay our tithing if we knew our Bishop or others were embezzling the funds. Apparently, people then were loathe to make their temple offerings, knowing how they would end up.

It does not say whether Eli policed non-family members in the ways he should have policed family members. Allowing latitude with family members, while throwing the book at others, is definitely corruption. Also, it did not say if his sons received their position because of nepotism, but it makes me wonder.

Healthy families are crucial, but Eli elevated family peace over right and wrong. He harmed the Church in doing so. The Church itself was corrupted. Eli retained his Church position for forty years but came to a bitter end. (See 1 Samuel 4.) Heavenly Father has sought fit to chastise more modern leaders for not having their houses in order as well. (See D&C 93:40-50.)

Defiance of church leaders and guidelines

Another powerful example from scripture is 3 John 1:9-10Diotrephes, a local church leader refused to allow top church leaders to visit his congregation and he threw out of his congregation the local members who valued them and who would have received them.

John condemned Diotrephes' love of "preeminence" associated with his power and authority as a local church leader. 

More Ancient Examples

The Sadducees and Pharisees listening to Christ tell the people that
He is the Good Shepherd. Accessed May 28, 2020 from
The Pharisees and scribes had so perverted the gospel and the Church that it bore little resemblance to the truth during Jesus’ time. (See Matthew 23)

John’s epistles and the other epistles in the New Testament were written primarily to counter the false truths and practices that were emerging in the early Church.

When Laban’s servant Zoram assumed Nephi was Laban he chatted with him concerning the “elders of the Jews, he knowing that his master, Laban, had been out by night among them.” Laban had been with Church leaders AND he 
was drunk. Is there a connection? Probably. (See 1 Nephi 4.)
Zoram retrieves the brass plates for Nephi. Retrieved May 30, 2020

King Noah’s church bore little resemblance to the 
truth, but when Alma heard the truth he embraced it. It makes you wonder if he had never heard this version of the Gospel before. (See Mosiah 11-18)

More Modern Examples

Samuel Brannan
Samuel Brannan led the pioneer saints on the ship Brooklyn into San Francisco. Ultimately, he was excommunicated. His Church history is littered with financial and influence improprieties, diverting Church funds for his own purposes, and using his influence to become California’s first millionaire. (See James E. Faust, “I Believe I Can, I Knew I Could,” General Conference, October 2002)

Isaac C. Haight
Stake President, Isaac C. Haight was excommunicated over the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Haight may have manipulated and misrepresented information. (See Richard E. Turley Jr., “The Mountain Meadows Massacre,” Ensign, Sep 2007, 14–21)

A recent example of corruption amongst Church leaders would be Shawn Merriman. Merriman’s scam started in 1995. He was a Bishop from 2001-2006.

There are numerous others guilty of these influence and financial crimes – even the husband of one of my BYU college friends and the father of one of my BYU college roommates.

It is difficult to believe these men were only guilty of secular financial corruption. Their misuse of power and influence probably extended into their church callings as well.

Personal financial crimes are making it into the current news headlines and the Church now lists “Affinity Fraud” on its official Newsroom site. There are other ways to abuse one’s power and authority.

In the United States in recent years, I have personal knowledge of a unit where corruption was so massive that all unit people in unit leadership and other callings were removed and replaced with stake people. It was a clean sweep.

Nehor, one of three notorious Anti-Christ's in the Book of Mormon established his own church:
And he began to be lifted up in the pride of his heart, and to wear very costly apparel, yea, and even began to establish a church after the manner of his preaching.
Not many corrupt leaders go so far as to establish their own church, but some quietly ignore, rationalize, and even defy guidelines they don't like or don't want to follow. In effect, they change things inside the Church to suit their own ends.

I heard one such leader rationalize his not following the Handbook on a particular topic. This was unknown to me. I had to look it up in the Handbook myself. Sure enough, he violated a very specific guideline. I found his rationalization for doing so to be extremely weak.

Sadly, we seem to be seeing more sexual sin among local leaders lately. It used to be almost wholly confined to past local leaders. Now, current local leaders have been implicated in gross sexual sin.

Consider that as our numbers grow, these sins will increase simply because numbers increase. And, we are much more likely to access news articles of it worldwide than in the past. 

So, we can't really make any definitive statements on whether these sins are increasing among local church leadership.

Contrasting Examples Where Leaders Handled Things Differently

In 1945, Elder Joseph F. Merrill relates stories of two bishops’ actions in similar events but handled dissimilarly by the bishops.
In the bishops' meeting last evening in this hall, Bishop M. O. Ashton told two stories that deeply impressed me. Each story was about a bishop and some boys. In the first one, a group of boys engaged in some Halloween pranks of a rather serious, provocative nature. The bishop secured the names of the boys and charged them to come to the sacrament meeting and publicly ask forgiveness for engaging in the pranks committed, on pain of excommunication for failure to do so. In consequence there are in that community today a number of families that grew up outside of the Church.

In the second case a group of boys and a bishop were involved. A wedding party was held at the bishop's home. A big freezer of ice cream waited on the back porch for the refreshment hour. When the cream was to be served, it was observed that the freezer was empty. Pondering over the matter the bishop decided to invite the guilty boys to an ice cream festival and provided two freezers of ice cream for the occasion. All the boys accepted the invitation. When the lads were seated at the feast, it was noticed that tears began to run down one boy's face. Soon all the other boys were in tears also. From among that group have come some of the finest leaders in their community.

Those were the factual stories told by Bishop Ashton. Hearing them I was reminded of section 121:39-41, D&C, which reads as follows:

We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. Hence many are called, but few are chosen. 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 (D&C 121:39-41).

The two bishops of the story were undoubtedly actuated by the best of motives. Not for a moment would I question that. But one bishop was wise and the other unwise. The thought in the mind of one was to use persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, and love, so beautifully stated in the revelation quoted. In the case of the other bishop he seems to have acted impulsively, yielding to the influence of the evil power. Joseph F. Merrill, Conference Report, The Value of the Individual, April 1945, pp. 111-115.
The bishops were acting within their power and authority. No one can argue that they did not have the necessary power and authority to do what they both did. But, one acted wisely and the other did not.

Final Thoughts on These Examples

Although only an editorial in a Church-sponsored publication, the following is instructive:
Examining Doctrine and Covenants 121:34-46, one senses the implication that unrighteous dominion has any of at least three characteristics:
  • It fails to honor the God-given moral agency of men and women.
  • Its objective is worldly acclaim and gratification of pride and vain ambition instead of divine approbation.
  • It emphasizes tasks and agendas at the expense of human relationships and the welfare of souls.
  • Sometimes we can get a better understanding of what something is by considering what it is not. We call this contrast. To this end, Section 121 is helpful. Instead of dwelling at length on a definition of unrighteous dominion, verses 41 through 46 explain for us what might be called the priesthood pattern of leadership and which might be regarded as the opposite of unrighteous dominion.
      With this in mind, the best way to end this posting is with verses 41 through 46.

      D&C 121:41-46 the Opposite of Unrighteous Dominion
      41 No apower or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the bpriesthood, only by cpersuasion, by dlong-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
      42 By akindness, and pure bknowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the csoul without dhypocrisy, and without eguile
      43 aReproving betimes with bsharpness, when cmoved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of dlove toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
      44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of adeath.
      45 Let thy abowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let bvirtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy cconfidence wax strong in the dpresence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the edews from heaven.
      46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant acompanion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of brighteousness and truth; and thy cdominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

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