We worry that a church formed and led by provincial American ethnics can hardly do well internationally. We want either a more varied leadership or a more decentralized church. We hope that these changes will allow the gospel to go in its pure form without any of its cultural baggage. Let us stipulate that there’s something to the complaint. I, for one, would like to think that my near-complete failure as a missionary and our near-complete failure as a mission wasn’t my fault or the Spaniard’s fault.
In any case, I think we’re forgetting that the past is also a foreign country. Listening to the prophets and apostles this conference, I was struck by the number who talked about their formative years in the Great Depression or in WWII, when everyone was poor and no one knew it, and disease was rampant (smallpox! I mean, really.) The thought came to me (and to my wife too, oddly) that the aged leadership of the Church in many ways has as much in common with the members in developing nations as they do with the us. Maybe there’s a providence in their age.