Priesthood power is predicated on righteousness
36 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. (D&C 121:36)
When a leader attempts to lead in any degree of unrighteousness, then their power is diminished. We all know of unrighteous leaders. They may have appeared to have great power, but you must ask yourself where that power comes from. If unrighteousness removes priesthood power, then, by the law of opposition (2 Nephi 2:11) the power of unrighteous leaders must be derived from that Fallen Angel of Heaven (2 Nephi 2:18).
You can not live the core leadership principle of “Leading with Love” while leading unrighteously. God is love (1 John 4:16) and leading unrighteously separates you from God and you become subject to the power of Satan. These two states, Love and Unrighteousness, cannot co-exist. That is why it is essential for those who are called to be leaders to cultivate the trait of righteousness.
Consider this quote from N. Eldon Tanner
". . .we just cannot imagine or calculate in any way what a great influence for good we would have in the world if every holder of the priesthood would magnify his calling, and how much happier and more successful each individual would be if he would always choose the right. How sad it is to see one who would rather be popular than do what he knows is right. I have in mind and remember so well a good member of the Church who was elected to the legislature but who wanted to be a good fellow, popular with everyone. He, wanting to be popular, let down his standards and took one drink at a social and then another. It happened again and again. He began drinking with the fellows at lunch and at dinner. And then, unintentionally I am sure, and contrary to his greatest desire, he became an alcoholic and lost the support of his constituency and the respect of his friends and family who loved him and sorrowed for him. He died an early death as an alcoholic. What a sad situation—all because he sought the praise of men more than the praise of God.
"This is not a single case. We have examples of congressmen and senators who have lost their positions and self-respect and the respect of others because they wanted to be popular or didn’t have the strength to resist the temptations. We have the promise of the Lord that if we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all these things will be added unto us, meaning, of course, the things that are for our good.” (N. Eldon Tanner, “For they Loved the Praise of Men More Than the Praise of God” (October 1975 LDS General Conference)
For additional insight read, ponder and pray about the entire 11th chapter of 2 Nephi. Additionally, see the following scriptures:
- D&C 95:5-6
- Luke 12:34
- D&C 64:22
- D&C 45:8
- Acts 8:21
- Ezekiel 36:26
- Alma 5:7