Gordon B. Hinckley teaches that there has only been one perfect man (Jesus); past leaders and members of the Church were imperfect, but the Lord still used them in spite of such.

Apr 1986
Speech / Court Transcript
Gordon B. Hinckley

Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Continuing Pursuit of Truth," talk delivered June 18, 1983 at the BYU-Hawaii commencement exercies, repr., Ensign (April 1986), accessed October 31, 2023

Gordon B. Hinckley
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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We have critics who appear to cull out of a vast panorama of information those items which demean and belittle some men and women of the past who worked so hard in laying the foundation of this great cause. They find readers of their works who seem to delight in picking up these tidbits, in chewing them over and relishing them. In so doing they are savoring some small morsel, rather than eating a beautiful and satisfying dinner of many courses.

My plea is that as we continue our search for truth, particularly we of the Church, that we look for strength and goodness rather than weakness and foibles in those who did so great a work in their time.

We recognize that our forebears were human. They doubtless made mistakes. Some of them acknowledged making mistakes. But the mistakes were minor when compared with the marvelous work which they accomplished. To highlight mistakes and gloss over the greater good is to draw a caricature. Caricatures are amusing, but they are often ugly and dishonest. A man may have a wart on his cheek and still have a face of beauty and strength, but if the wart is emphasized unduly in relation to his other features, the portrait is lacking in integrity.

There was only one perfect man who ever walked the earth. The Lord has used imperfect people in the process of building his perfect society. If some of them occasionally stumbled, or if their characters may have been slightly flawed in one way or another, the wonder is the greater that they accomplished so much.

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