It is a common saying that, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” I did some research on this saying, and I found that it originated from Lord Acton, formally named John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902).
These are also some verses of scripture that I love:
“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;
By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile –
Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.” (D&C 121:39-44)
“Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson –
That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.” (D&C 121:34-37)
I have been constantly reminded to read those scriptures. They have continually reminded me of the virtues which I need to aspire to use: meekness, gentleness, and charity. What a challenge it is to behave so!
I am reminded of these verses after reading about iniquity which occurred in Alma 51. How some tried to have power over others, and fortunately they were unsuccessful.
This is what I previously wrote after reading Alma 51: Living By Faith