I have a concern about a bishop expressing a personal opinion or even recommending an action to members of his congregation that contradicts the counsel of the prophets. 

The best suggestion I can give you is ... forget it. I know this may be "hard to swallow," but based on a couple of decades of experience in priesthood leadership, I know this is the best course of action.

Keep in mind that there is a God, and he not only is the head of the Church but being omniscient he knows all things--including your bishop's opinion. No matter what happens, don't fight against one of the Lord's anointed. Even if you disagree with an instruction or point of view that it is clearly uninspired and based on a personal opinion, remember that the bishop has the mantle of the priesthood on his shoulders, and that mantle (not the man) must be dealt with reverence. He will not be your bishop forever, and if you support him even while you disagree with his personal views or opinions, you will be blessed by our Father in Heaven. Consider these words of wisdom from Presidents Brigham Young and George Q. Cannon:

President Brigham Young:

"You have often heard me and my brethren say that if the people in the capacity of a Ward, for instance, would let their faith be perfectly united, and their whole desires rise to the Father, through the name of Jesus Christ, and hold their Bishop in his calling between God and them, it would hardly be possible for that Bishop to do wrong, for he would be filled with wisdom." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p.145)

"Any Bishop, under the influence of the prayers and confidence of his brethren and sisters, with a faithful and holy life on his part, will increase in faith and good works, and the rich fruits of his mind will manifest from day to day increased wisdom and intelligence." (Journal of Discourses, 7:278)

President George Q. Cannon:

"... Many who are conspicuous, and who think in their pride that they are all right and they can do as they please, will find that there is a day when they, with all of us, will be judged for the deeds done in the body.  Nothing then will escape the recollection of Jehovah; no act of our lives can be hidden; no word that we have ever spoken that has been harsh, cruel and wrong will ever be forgotten or blotted out, unless we have obtained forgiveness for it.

"The Presidency of the Church, standing at the head of the people, cannot be harsh or cruel; they cannot presume upon their authority, without having to answer for it.  Neither can the Twelve, though they have great authority, do this; nor the Presidents of Stakes, nor High Councilors, nor Bishops.  They cannot presume on their authority and do things that God will not approve.  God will not sanction wrong, if it be committed by an Apostle, or by one of the First Presidency.  He cannot do it, because it is contrary to His attributes.

"A man may in his arrogance think, 'I am a great man; I hold a high position; what matters it about these lowly people?'  But the moment he entertains that feeling, God leaves him to himself. ...  God is just, and He cannot even wink at iniquity, much less countenance it.

"Therefore, if any have been oppressed, let them put their trust in God; let them bring their troubles to Him and leave their case with Him.  We can all do this with perfect safety.  He is not asleep; He has not gone on a journey; He is not deaf; but He is a living God, and He will hear the prayers of His children when they are offered to Him in humility and meekness.

"We need not quarrel, therefore, we need not find fault with the Priesthood, nor with the organization of the Church; we need not stumble because we feel we have been wronged.  All we need to do is to keep straight ourselves; to walk so that we shall have the testimony of a good conscience, and have the witness that God has forgiven us and we stand without condemnation before Him.  Then we can leave the rest, perfectly confident that He will take care of it, and He will vindicate us in His own due time.

"In the midst of trouble and affliction, in deep water or in the fiery furnace, He will be with us, on the right hand and on the left, to buoy us up, to strengthen us, and to carry us off victorious, as long as we put our trust in Him and serve Him with all our hearts.  This is a glorious feature about this God of ours.  This religion that He has taught us brings these hopes to us, and we know that they are not unfounded.  They are hopes that are based upon eternal truth and upon eternal justice--attributes of our God." (Collected Discourses, Vol.4, January 14, 1894)

I have a personal testimony that if you follow these inspired words you will have peace, and will enjoy greater spiritual blessings.

This essay is published as a support for and an extension of classroom discussion and in no way represents an official statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or its General Authorities.  Dr. Marcus H. Martins assumes full responsibility for the opinions, views, and interpretations contained herein.  For more information contact me at: MartinsM@byuh.edu