Rules & Exceptions, quote by Russell M. Nelson
I'm including this here because I wanted an easy access to this quote. I'm the kind of person who wants to take what the prophet and apostles say as absolutes. I once staked a major decision in my life on what one of the apostles said. When the reality of the situation didn't match what the apostle said it "must be" I was hurt, and that became part of the reasons I left the church for a long time.
This quote from Elder Nelson did much to resolve the conflict I had. My life would have taken a much better path had I known this over 20 years ago.
Elder Russell M. Nelson, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
CES Fireside for Young Adults, February 6, 2005. Brigham Young University
"Through the years you will note that apostles and prophets teach the rule. We don’t teach exceptions to the rule. Exceptions are left to individual agency and accountability. The Lord knows we live in an imperfect world. He knows it is 'ripening in iniquity' (D&C 18:6). His judgments will be fair, just, and merciful."
Elder Oaks explained the same principle in a talk given May 1, 2005, at a CES broadcast, and reprinted in the June 2006 Ensign.
"The explanation I gave that man is the same explanation I give to you if you feel you are an exception to what I have said. As a General Authority, I have the responsibility to preach general principles. When I do, I don't try to define all the exceptions. There are exceptions to some rules. For example, we believe the commandment is not violated by killing pursuant to a lawful order in an armed conflict. But don't ask me to give an opinion on your exception. I only teach the general rules. Whether an exception applies to you is your responsibility. You must work that out individually between you and the Lord."