A question was asked, the essence of which is this: if the golden rule implies all requests should be granted, what if a request is made to break the golden rule?
Here are my thoughts on the question.
Such a request should not be granted, since the golden rule itself has a higher priority than any request. That being said, however, there is an exception.
Only God can legitimately ask us to do to someone something we would not want done to ourselves, because God’s purpose is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, making us equal with him in all things. If we have faith in him, then we trust in his purposes, in his benevolence, and in his judgements in these matters. Sometimes, he explains his purposes beforehand, such as when he asked Nephi to slay Laban. Sometimes, he does not explain until afterwards, as when he asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. In both of these cases, it was asked with an eye towards the greater good of all. Knowing what God knows, we would agree to be the victim in such circumstances.
God has given us permission to defend ourselves, individually and collectively, if certain defined conditions are met. Thus we may, if we wish, withdraw and avoid our enemies, slay them, or allow them to abuse us and slay us, as the law permits. Indeed, we read that God established the powers that be, and legitimizes civil government, with its necessary policing and punitive functions.
But there is another concern. What happens if you agree to do whatever a man asks without limitation? Then by entering the agreement you risk being asked to do something that breaks the golden rule, or risk breaking the golden rule by not doing what you agreed to do. Organizations built up on such absolute mutual agreements are termed “secret combinations.” It seems to me that this obvious danger is part of the reason we are warned at least thrice that we are not to put our trust in our fellow man, including once by the Savior himself; that is, not to put ourselves in a position to yield our understanding of, nor obedience to, the law of God to the dictates of men.
I have read that sometimes our armed forces personnel are approached with a question – will you perform any order given, such as killing any target we give you? And I am aware of the similarity between what I have described above, and the oaths of the temple. Yet there are crucial differences – we covenant to obey the law of the Gods and keep the commandments of the Most High. Consecration happens to be for the explicit purpose of building up of the kingdom of God on the earth – which is not equivalent to the Church – and for the establishment of Zion. If the Church isn’t doing her part, we aren’t bound to uphold our end.
What is now of greater import is whether we should consider ourselves bound to do all things whatsoever our priesthood leaders tell us, right or wrong, as we have been traditionally taught with a twinkle in the eye. The idea is they are supposed to be representing God in all things, I suppose. I am aware of Joseph’s and Brigham’s explicit teachings on that specific subject, which were starkly and uniformly negative, but the Church has obviously come a long way in traditional teachings and culture since then, and Elder Nelson’s recent conference address seems to be a directional signpost of the way the Church is going, along with the recent rash of excommunications for what the Church terms apostasy.
I suppose it might come down to whether we may trust them – flesh though they are. And the answer to that issue comes about by revelation. Maybe it is important enough to inquire of God about. I asked about Elder Nelson’s teachings – did you? My answer doesn’t matter to you. Only your answer matters to you. And your answer only matters to you.
And, remember – just because one person can trust the Brethren, it does not imply another must (or even may) trust them; and just because one person knows something, it doesn’t make another a bad person for not knowing – and maybe not even believing when told – that something. And, finally, just because someone claims to know something doesn’t mean they do.