Original statement

In October 1947 General Conference, Harold B. Lee stated (emphasis added):

I want to bear you my testimony that the experience I have had has taught me that those who criticize the leaders of this Church are showing signs of a spiritual sickness which, unless curbed, will bring about eventually spiritual death. I want to bear my testimony as well that those who in public seek by their criticism, to belittle our leaders or bring them into disrepute. will bring upon themselves more hurt than upon those whom they seek thus to malign. I have watched over the years, and I have read of the history of many of those who fell away from this Church, and I want to bear testimony that no apostate who ever left this Church ever prospered as an influence in his community thereafter.

Counter examples

The following are former members who are arguably an influence in their community. While the original statement by Harold B. Lee may have been focused on the community of Latter-day Saints, the following are arguably influential both inside and outside the LDS community.

Jacinda Ardern

In April of 2020, The Atlantic published an article, New Zealand’s Prime Minister May Be the Most Effective Leader on the Planet wherein they praised Prime Minister Ardern’s influence on her community:

Jacinda Ardern’s leadership style, focused on empathy, isn’t just resonating with her people; it’s putting the country on track for success against the coronavirus.

Based in large part on her response to COVID-19, Ardern recently polled “at 59.5%, up 20.8 points on the last poll and the highest score for any leader in the Reid Research poll’s history.

Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling has arguably “prospered as an influence in his community” as an actor.

Amy Adams

Amy Adams has arguably “prospered as an influence in [her] community” as an actor.


Originally heard through missedinsunday here.