Church leaders don't claim perfection. Whether anciently or in this modern dispensation, they never have. And it's uncharitable to expect it.
Should we expect perfection from our church leaders? Stated so bluntly, the question answers itself: Obviously not. And yet, sometimes, we seem to do just that. “Catholics,” goes the joke, “say that the pope is infallible, but no Catholic really believes it. Mormons say that the prophet isn’t infallible, but no Mormon really believes it.”
Our leaders don’t claim perfection, though, and it’s uncharitable for us to claim it on their behalf. Only one perfect person has lived on this planet. Only one person saves. The rest of us, including general authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, require saving.
In stating this indisputable truth, I’m not suggesting that LDS Church leaders have committed terrible acts, now or historically. I’m simply saying that, like all of us, they’re mortal humans. And they’ve been mortal humans from the start:
“I was left to all kinds of temptations,” recalled Joseph Smith of his life immediately following the First Vision (Joseph Smith-History 1:28).