“Would God ask us to do something bad for the greater good? Would he want us to do something that is wrong in order that something positive would come from it?”
I found this question to be very intriguing and closely related to a series of posts I wrote about why bad things happen to good people. I think the answer to this question depends on what we consider “bad.” If doing something bad refers to doing something that under normal conditions would be considered a sin, then my answer to this question would be, yes, He can ask us to do something bad for the greater good, but that is the exception rather than the rule. There is a story in the Book of Mormon that makes the answer to this question very clear.
The first part of the Book of Mormon is written by a man named Nephi who grew up in Jerusalem around the time of the biblical prophet Jeremiah. At some point, his father Lehi, a prophet, was commanded by the Lord to take his family and leave Jerusalem. Soon after they left, Lehi was told to send Nephi and his brothers back to Jerusalem to get a copy of the writings of the prophets (the Old Testament up to that point in time) being held by a local political leader named Laban. The first two attempts to get the writings were unsuccessful. On the third attempt, Nephi entered the city alone and found Laban lying drunk in the streets. He was commanded by God to kill Laban, and, even though under normal conditions this act is clearly a sin and “bad,” Nephi knew he had to do it. In fact, Nephi was told that “it is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle in unbelief.” (1 Nephi 4:13; this refers to the fact that without the writings of the prophets, Nephi and his descendants who eventually made their way to North America would have had no record of the teachings and commandments found therein.) This story shows that occasionally God could ask us to do something bad for the greater good. However, if we take “bad” to mean something against God’s will, then, no, He would never ask us to do something bad because the act of Him asking us to do it would obviously make it in line with His will and no longer bad.
God can ask us to do things that would normally seem wrong or go against what we’ve been taught in order to help others, but this is not something He normally does. In order to know if we are in one of these extremely rare situations, we need to follow the example of Nephi and always do everything we can to be sure that the God is telling us to perform this seemingly contradictory act. I think this is best done through prayer, scripture study, and living in such a way that we are worthy of constant communication with God. I also think that since these situations are so rare, God will always make it extremely clear to us when it is His will that we perform the act, like through sending an angel or something miraculous like that, so we shouldn’t assume a vague dream or a slight feeling are justification enough for an unlawful or sinful act.