Jesus PLEADS His Case for Common Consent

imageFive short months ago, I decided to start living, in earnest, the Law of Common Consent.  Since then, I have discussed this commandment with many members.  I have been shocked at how few are familiar with it.  Many have never even heard of it. It’s never taught or discussed in church. Yet, it’s one of the most plainly stated laws of the restored gospel.

So, I’m going to write a few posts on common consent.  In this one, I’ll simply quote Jesus Christ.  This is His church.  Certainly, the words that come directly from Him should take precedence over those flowing from the mouths of men.

Mormonism is my religion. We consider Jesus Christ to be the Son of God. We also view Him as the God of the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon and of the Doctrine and Covenants. Here’s what Jesus has to say about the governance of His religious organization.

Old Testament

“Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee.” Jesus Christ, speaking to the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 8:7)

Commentary:  It’s hard to get more clear than this.  Hearken means to listen carefully, to listen with respectful attention.  And in this case, to follow the will of the people, even though it may not be what Jesus would have chosen.  As It turns out, God had already selected Israel’s first king.

Book of Mormon

“Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law–to do your business by the voice of the people. –Jesus Christ , through His prophet Mosiah (Mosiah 29:26)

Commentary:  God knows that wisdom resides in the majority.  He plainly stated exactly that, here.  Error and the danger of unrighteous dominion lie in the minority.

Doctrine & Covenants

“And a commandment I give unto you, that you should fill all these offices and approve of those names which I have mentioned, or else disapprove of them at my general conference.” –Jesus Christ, speaking to Joseph Smith (D&C 124:144)

Commentary:  The Lord had just revealed who he wanted called to various positions in the church.  Even though these names had come directly from Jesus, He still wanted them presented for approval or disapproval.  God values & trusts the opinion of the general membership of the church.

“And all things SHALL be done by common consent in the church.” –Jesus Christ. (D&C 26:2)

Commentary:  Revelation given to Joseph Smith in July 1830.  Only 3 months after the official organization of the church, the Law of Common Consent was affirmed.  This principle of governance was established well before the apostolic leadership was added.  They are both vital components in the administration of the restored church.

“For all things MUST be done in order, and by common consent in the church.” –Jesus Christ (D&C 28:13)

Commentary:  Here, Jesus reaffirms this essential principle of how His church is to be governed.  This time, He leaves NO wiggle room.  His words have changed from the polite “SHALL be done” to the imperative “MUST be done.”  In His words, this is to be the “order” of the His church.

“It is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” –Jesus Christ, through Joseph Smith (D&C 121:39)

Commentary:  Of course, God knows the nature of men.  The great danger to those entrusted with authority is the temptation of “unrighteous dominion.”  Even mere  mortals recognize this principle.  We proclaim it in these terms, “Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Jesus has organized His church to provide accountability to His leadership.  Thus, helping to avoid unrighteous dominion and the corruption of power.  That accountability is to the general membership in the form of common consent.

Going Forward

Oh, what a glorious thing!  Our Savior, Lord and King has established His church in these latter-days.  He is pleading with His flock to follow him.  Pleading that his flock stand up, as adult fellowcitizens, and actively participate in the governance of His sacred organization. The very first revealed principle for administering the kingdom is the Law of Common Consent.

It’s time for the membership to respond to the pleas of Jesus.  It’s time that we plead Jesus’ case of common consent before the leaders of the church.

I have pled with my upraised hand in sincere and loving opposition.  Opposition to the continued disregard for the Law of God—the commandment of Common Consent.

42 thoughts on “Jesus PLEADS His Case for Common Consent

  1. Sam, I will try to keep this short. But we know that won’t happen. So, here we go.”first thanks for answering my previous question about where I could find other scriptural references to the ” law of common consent.” So here is my next question. On the podcast you said that you didn’t know if Jesus Christ was real or not. Yet, you now base your entire testimony on what He teaches. Your entire belief system , as I understand it,is based on the possible 10 instances where this terminology is used in 4 books of scripture. Correct me if I misunderstood you on this. Taking this one step further, where does this law come in to play in the administration of the church. If we have to vote on every decision set forth by the brethren, when would we have time for anything else? With what you are saying, we should have voted on the church humanitarian aid, the perpetual education fund, ever Temple built , every meeting house built, every action to do with BYU, every monetary thing the brethren want . I could fill the page and I am sure we don’t want me to do that. Where does this end or a better question would be, how do we determine what the brethren have the authority to do and what has to have consent of the membership. If as Temple recommend holders, how do we answer the question about sustaining the brethren as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators. My future answe would have to be YES , but I don’t agree with the children’s policy of LGBTQ parentage. I do agree withe the policy that the LGBTQ who are married and living as a couple, should be excommunicated. They have chosen to defy the doctrine of the Plan of Salvation as we understand it. They should be welcome to come in to the church and should be welcomed as non members. They should be treated with love and respect just as any excommunicated member should be. This is not our judgement to make. If you do not believe in Adam and Eve as taught in the Temple, then you do not believe in the Priesthood? Correct? I am really confused on what you believe in. The restoration? Joseph Smith translation of the Book of Mormon? The succession of the apostles and prophets from the time of Joseph? The Atonement and its meaning in your life? It seems that you have chosen this one “doctrine” and made it your only basis for your beliefs. And I don’t believe that. I love and respect you as much as any member of the Church, I am just really confused as to where you are in the grand scheme of things.

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    1. Hmmmm, I wonder if that is what Saint’n said, that we needed to be told/dictated what to do, and not question it, or we could not be saved?

      Blindly following with strict obedience to leaders, before Christ, even to doing wrong if “commanded” to defy Christ (a “test of faithfulness?”), simply goes against Christ, no matter how you slice it. Oh, we can “justify” it. But, it still goes against His True Words scattered liberally throughout Christ’s Truthful Gospel, which can’t contradict itself, by His nature. That goes against His True Commandments to us, FOR us.

      When blind obedience becomes “the First and Great Commandment” (see the LDS definitions of Apostasy – unquestioning obedience to Church and Leaders – no mention of Christ in there? Google it.), we may just lose Christ and His principles/commandments based in Personal Accountability, Agency, Love and Forgiveness. We instead get handed endless letter-of-the-law contradictions in the “name of Christ,” resulting in one more new “commandment” which we must not question, because we are commanded to not question, while Christ, Alma and Moroni commanded us to question and test all things. Dizzy yet?

      But Christ commanded us to question everything. Moroni and Alma stressed that too, a lot. By their fruits you will know them. Can a house divided against itself stand? Can we serve two masters? Is following the words of Christ first and foremost, really Apostasy? “Don’t look at those to closely, question them or apply them to current contradicting “commandments” which are “tests of our faith.” ”

      Openness & Truth = of Christ. He said it, Moroni said it, others said it. If something is a stretch, not true or a lie, then it is not of Christ, but just may be a “commandment of men.” Christ’s True Church should of course possess the full integrity of following Christ and His Gospel First, at all times, not just when or where it chooses (“smorgasbord gospel?” Don’t question that one either…).

      All goodness and truth are of Christ, right? Should we practice what we believe, or, “test people” by commanding their opposition to Christ, in His name no less? “The Impossible Gospel?”


    2. For the love of heaven…please use paragraphs and some basic sentence structure. This wall of text is nothing but off-putting. I’d love to see if you have some good thoughts, but I’m not going to wade through this…


      1. Sorry you have a problem with my sentence structure and lack of paragraphing. I obviously wasn’t writing an essay for publication by scholars. I will try to edit and then maybe I will get some answers.


    3. Hi Janice,

      Thanks for your always thoughtful response. I hope mine will be at least coherent.

      It’s interesting that I have received so much push-back for my new testimony. I think I understand where this puzzlement comes from. But, to any Christian outside of our church, this push-back would be shocking. BTW, I’m not referring to your questions as push-back.

      After several months, filled with hours upon hours of study, prayer and ponderings, I arrived at the conclusion that I could no longer say I KNOW anything. Fortunately, soon afterward, I found Paul’s prophetic words in 1 Corinthians 13. “Whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” Sure enough, my ‘knowledge’ had vanished.

      At some point, totally lacking my erstwhile certainty, I decided it was time to choose a path forward. Although Paul said knowledge & prophecy would fail, he did proclaim three ENDURING virtues: faith, hope and charity. I chose faith. Specifically, faith in the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. Now, I don’t ‘know’ if Jesus exists. But, the gospel that is ascribed to him is drop dead gorgeous to me. Do I base my “entire testimony on what He teaches?” Absolutely! If His teachings were crappy, I would run from Him and seek another path.

      I think the sticking point with many people is the word ‘know.’ Most members say they ‘know.’ I’m fine with that. I don’t question or challenge their certainty. After all, for most of my life I was certain. Perhaps, I have progressed toward the kind of belief that Paul experienced. First he said that knowledge vanishes. He immediately followed that up with, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Perhaps, for me, certainty was a childish thing. Perhaps, for me, I have progressed beyond knowledge to a sweet, but unknowing, faith.

      Again, according to Paul, faith is the principle that “abideth,” Not knowledge. Faith is the first principle of the gospel. Not knowledge. In fact, certainty appears to be reserved for the next life. “This is life eternal, that they might KNOW thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ (John 17:3)

      Regarding the Law of Common Consent. I’m basing my understanding on 2 very plain scriptures in the D&C, along with several supporting scriptures. The words in D&C are the words of Christ. So, when he says, “ALL things MUST be done by common consent in the church,” I’m not going to second guess my God. Especially, when He’s made it so clear. Then, add the words of the current prophets: “This same principle operates for policies, major decisions, acceptance of new scripture, and other things that affect the lives of the Saints.” I’m not making this up. This comes directly from the church website. The scripture comes directly from Jesus!

      I stopped quibbling about this last April, the first time I voted OPPOSED. The law is clear. I don’t care if nobody else does, I’m going to obey God’s command.
      You pose objections to this commandment based of how cumbersome it would be and what would be put up for a vote. This approach is so contrary to Nephi’s beautiful teachings in the Book of Mormon. “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” God has told us to build a boat. Of course, we don’t know how to build the boat. I say, let’s accept the commandment, already, and go figure out how to build the boat. There are precedents. If we can’t figure it out, let’s just copy our Mormon cousins, in the Community of Christ. They have a beautiful system of common consent that has functioned since the time of Joseph Smith.

      “As temple recommend holders, how do we answer the question about sustaining the prophets, seers and revelators?” Well, that’s a problem isn’t it? It’s a self-inflicted problem created by the leaders dictating rather than proposing. Until they start following the Law, I have found two ways to address this.

      1) The vote of common consent is separate and different from a recommend interview. I’m opposing at the time of the vote. If I’m out voted, fine. I sustain the leaders going forward. However, at the next vote of common consent, I have the opportunity and obligation to express my opinion in the open again.

      2) If I were to be denied a recommend based on voting, that would be flat out wrong. Punishment was never meant to be part of common consent. That would be an egregious example of unrighteous dominion. Instilling the fear and threat of retribution if you vote the wrong way? THAT…IS…SATAN’S….PLAN. But, if I were to lose my recommend I would be OK. My temple covenants would be upheld with integrity. Here are my relevant temple covenants.

      First, I promised that I would obey the of law God. Not pick and choose. Not ignore, excuse. The Law of Common Consent is a law of God. I am not going to mock God by blatantly dismissing this commandment. We are talking my temple covenants here. To me, that’s hugely important.

      Second, I promised to live the law of sacrifice. A modern apostle instructed that this covenant includes that “we are willing to sacrifice our character and reputation; our honor and applause; and our good name among men.” I add that, I’m willing to sacrifice my temple recommend in order to live up to my covenants.

      So, what about the other claims of the church? Well, let me reiterate that I’ve chosen to follow Jesus’ teachings and example. That is the basis for my faith. Period. That is the first and enduring principle of the gospel. My path is guideded by my decision to follow Christ.

      I’ve decided to follow Him in the LDS church. The restoration? I love the restoration. The Book of Mormon? A wonderful book which contains so many teachings of and about the Savior. It stands as another witness of the God I’ve consciously decided to follow. The atonement? Of course. It is central to Christ’s mission.

      You’ll see that I’m being careful of my wording these days. I don’t want to imply certainty. My chosen path is to follow in faith. Follow a gospel filled with gorgeous teachings.


      1. Thank you Sam, for clearing up my questions and I admire your tenacity in your faith. Oh, that we could all be so sure that the way we have chosen is right for us. What you have chosen is right for you at this time. I have no problem with your following Christ and His teachings, as isn’t that what we are all supposed to be doing. I do however question still how we can , as a Church, use the law of Common Consent to accomplish what you have proposed. There are just too many daily happenings within the Church that can not be voted on. This is , IMHO, the reason the Lord has chosen good men to be our leaders. As a whole, although some may err, I believe they are doing the Lord’s work on the earth today. And isn’t that what common consent is….the majority. I doubt that they all agree on every proposal brought before the 15, however, I believe that when they walk out of a meeting, they are in agreement that this is what the Lord wants done at that time. I don’t have to agree ( as you have chosen not to do), but I can still sustain them in their callings because I know the Lord has guided them in those decisions.
        We are just going to agree to disagree on that one. I had a wonderful Bishop when we lived in Chicago who was a very very busy man on top of being a Bishop. He once told Dean and I that he looked at the Church as a Smorgasbord….with numerous programs to help the family to raise their children in the teachings of Christ and return to our Heavenly Father. He said that there was no way that one person could partake of every thing that the Church had to offer. It was physically impossible. I tend to agree with him on this and consider the Church to be a vehicle that if driven correctly and within the law, will make us better parents and better able to help our families return to Christ. Not everything is going to fit in everyone’s life, but as long as we obey the commandments of God and not the Culture of Mormonism, we can’t go wrong. The teachings of Christ are one of those things we can not let go by the wayside. The other is the Plan of Salvation. Both are simple to understand and should be simple to accomplish if we follow the commandments. We must come to some personal belief that the way forward is being greatly hindered by looking back at the mistakes that were made. The only perfect person to have ever lived upon this Earth was Jesus Christ. Your will never go wrong by following His teachings.


  2. Great post, Sam.

    On the one hand, it is a little surprising many don’t know this precept. I distinctly remember as a seminary student, and later as a seminary teacher, lessons on the law of common consent. On the other hand, I can understand why many don’t seem to know it. There is so much emphasis on “follow the brethren” perhaps there is some cognitive dissonance in many people’s mind. When we can’t reconcile them we sometimes “forget” one principles in favor of the other. (Or, we rationalize that voting in conference is sufficient, even when to an outsider the “vote” hardly seems a vote, it seems more like a loyalty oath.)

    Even when I was a true believer I often felt uncomfortable because of our incessant “follow the brethren” mantra. We would claim to not want blind obedience, and then describe what we did want…. by describing blind obedience! This is one of the reasons I couldn’t stay in the church as a closet skeptic. I couldn’t turn over my voice to another. And of course, as a non-believer the value of common consent seems undeniable. Living my conscience seems an obviously higher good.

    However, while I agree with you, I wonder if I can play devil’s advocate, and ask how you would respond. The question is, isn’t one of the corner stones of the church continuing revelation? If so, is it possible that the law of common consent is actually a lesser law that has been superseded? E.g. didn’t the lord gave the law of common consent to the children of Israel because he knew they weren’t ready for the higher law and wouldn’t “follow the brethren”. Perhaps Joseph was told to use common consent when the church wasn’t fully organized, and wasn’t strong enough, and was led by a small cadre. Now it has a full complement of apostles, and multiple quorums of Seventy. Perhaps now the leadership is diverse and righteous enough to invariably always be right. Perhaps it is time for the members to step up to the higher law of “follow the brethren”. You quote scripture, but isn’t it possible those scriptures no longer apply?

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    1. Interesting speculation on higher vs. lower law. That common consent may have been superseded by new revelation. However, it’s only speculation. No evidence to support it’s occurrence. On the other hand we now have ample evidence that the apostles and prophets can lead the church astray. Our current A&Ps have given new revelation condemning our past racism. I love that they have made this embarrassing, yet forthcoming statement. A&Ps for over 125 years, supported & sustained these racist policies, practices and doctrines that we now condemn and disavow. I’d say that common consent is the higher law, not the lower law. The lower law of dictatorial governance has gotten the church way off track in the past. Time to live the complete law of church government that is still plainly taught in the scriptures. As always, thanks for reading my blog and for your thoughtful comments.


      1. Eternal truths don’t change. For some strange reason Moroni kept reminding us (4 times) that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He does not change His mind on eternal truths, just to tease or test us. Thus, the reason for common consent, to keep it all in line, to keep lies and contradictions in check, and to correct later if we or they fail to get God right the first time (commandments of men). If we can’t self correct we are doomed to add lie upon lie instead of line upon line. Is this why all govts and the true church always fell in the BoM?

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      2. Then again, maybe polygamy and many other things were just tests to see if we would disobey eternal truths by obeying counterfeit laws/commandments from Him or from His leaders?

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      3. Then again…, Christ’s real Higher Law is simplification (remember the Great Commandment?) as Christ spoke it, not spelling it all out, not giving so many letter of the law commandments (“tests”) that they “line upon line” (or is that lie upon lie?) come to contradict each other, even to commanding us to not follow Commandments…?

        Following Christ’s Law of Common Consent is the part of the Higher Law which lets us simplify enough to finally allow ourselves to see all the contradictions, admit them, repent of them, eliminate them and return to the loving Simplification of Christ’s real Higher Law.

        Yep, that is the real Higher Law, which can’t be commanded away no matter how many letter of the law commandments try to do so. This is the clearest scriptural path, of Christ, to returning to His Higher Law, even as the Nephites lived it for 200 years…

        The higher law cannot be changed, but it can be taken from us, as it has, if we do not obey the Higher Law which includes the Law of Common consent..

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      4. Sam, I don’t know I agree that they really made any “forthcoming statement.” For the majority of the LDS church’s existence it was doctrine, now it is disavowed as the very underpinnings of the doctrine (less valiant in the pre-existence) not being true. A “forthcoming statement” would be an official admission that they were wrong instead of a simple reversal on policy.


    2. Garth, you make a good point. May I just add one question. When did , in our church history, this law of common consent cease to be the way things were run. I am one of those that thought the law was being fulfilled when we were asked to sustain or oppose the church officers and callings.


  3. Sam,

    I appreciate your thoughtful comments and encouragement that members fully exercise their responsibilities – this does not always happen but I’m encouraged when it does.

    While reading your post I was reminded of a few things I have observed and learned over the past 15 years while working in the non-profit world, and would like to share them.

    Truly, the only people who have legal authority in the church are those who have been elected to the quorum of the 12 apostles by its current board members, including the first presidency. Upon joining the 12, a new apostle becomes a true member (i.e. fiduciary board member) who has both the legal and financial power to vote for and veto any policy relating to the corporation of the LDS church. The act of sustaining an individual to a position in general conference is a tradition but does not hold any legal weight. It is the same reason why the brethren do not have to release financial information to other church members because we are not fiduciaries in the corporation. At most, we may fill a role as a paid staff member, a volunteer, or donor.

    On the other hand, church membership is a donor base and is responsible for the largest source of revenue for the church – tithing/offerings. Here, members (i.e. donors) can withhold donations (in-kind or financial) until they see the positive changes they are looking for. This inter-dynamic is something non-profits everywhere have to respond to, and with the appropriate amount of pressure, the LDS corporation will definitely bow. The church will always be aggressive in exploring why they lose valuable donor revenue and what can be done to fix it but more so when it involves a big donor and/or many big donors.

    Think about the advent of the internet and the church’s exposure to faith destroying information and the subsequent droves of people who have left. While very few if any have tried to practice the law of common consent to voice their dissent, the church has been hurt financially and has responded with damage control (i.e. JS papers, essays, focus groups with apologists, new inoculation programs, tame conference talks, press releases, greater transparency, etc.).

    In short, the Law of Common Consent might be a viable path to express dissatisfaction as a donor or volunteer, but in reality it is the donation (in-kind or financial) that carries the most weight.


    – Tim

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  4. While I agree with your general ideas on common consent and how the lack of it has probably mislead the Mormon church from how it was intended to be, I’m curious to get your thoughts on the original “doctrines” about blacks being less valiant – and thereby denying them the priesthood and “saving ordinances” – in conjunction with common consent as it would have happened in the 1840s. I’m not so sure that people would have voted against the priesthood ban then. What are your thoughts?

    On the other hand, I generally think common consent would have stomped out polygamy early on.

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    1. I don’t know how the early saints would have voted regarding the blacks and the priesthood. That’s an unfortunate result of disobeying the Law of Common Consent. We have no idea what the body of the church thought. They should have been asked. By 1960, if there had been a feedback mechanism in place to foster common consent, a vote could have been taken. I bet that by then the membership would have overridden the now CONDEMNED racist policy. I’m convinced that the membership certainly would have voted it our well in advance of 1978. God knows what he’s doing to place His trust in the general membership.

      I chuckle at your question about polygamy. Jesus trusts the people to chose the right. Joseph didn’t trust the people enough to even discuss openly. He, and the other leadership practicing polygamy, made it a point to lie about their practice of polygamy.

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      1. I guess my belief that polygamy would be voted down versus a priesthood ban upheld is because a prophet sending you on a mission so he can take your wife – or damning you eternally if you don’t give up your fourteen-year-old daughter – was personal for priesthood holders. Look at the massive separation Joseph had when his followers caught wind of it! It’s pretty well documented what most people thought about it by evidence of the constant stream of “doubt your doubts, not your polygamy” talks coming from LDS leadership back then.

        The priesthood ban, on the other hand, simply reinforced popular stereotypes at the time and wholly seems to be a product of its era. It’s certainly too bad we don’t have the opportunity to know. It’s also too bad they don’t put the LGBT baptism policy to a sustaining vote, and instead chose to release it in a manual that only a select few are allowed to read. My suspicion is that even with common consent, it would narrowly pass with the church’s current makeup, but would be unlikely to do so in 10-15 years.


  5. This post is a textbook case of selective quotation. Yes, Jehovah tells Samuel to listen to the people, who were demanding a king, but your telling of the story leaves out the crucial bits. Here’s the full text of 1 Samuel 8:7: “And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” In other words, the “adult fellowcitizens…actively participating in governance” had rejected the God of Israel — in verse 8, the Lord plainly states, “they have forsaken me, and served other gods.” Common consent? No, this was the rejection of a prophet, an act of apostasy, and now the Lord was leaving them to choose whatever form of treachery that suited them.

    The Mosiah passage you cite is also taken out of context. Mosiah 29:27 explains that the voice of the people is only as inspired as the people’s commitment to obedience and faithfulness: “if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time the judgements of God will come upon you…” The cited passage from Section 124 comes at the end of an exhaustive set of instructions, organizing a governing hierarchy, and includes strict commandments to those called to be “humble before [the Lord], to “be without guile,” and “to act in concert with my servant Joseph.” Leaders are supposed to be humble, longsuffering, and amenable to the Spirit’s prompting, but they are, in no uncertain terms, to follow the Prophet. In context, the instruction on “approving or disapproving” is not Divine permission for the body of the Church to pass judgement on leaders, programs, or policies, but a call to prayerfully, carefully determine whether the leaders called are following the Prophet.

    You also conveniently ignore the account of Nehor’s rise. The apostate leader “preached to them that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down against the church, declaring unto the people that every priest and teacher ought to become popular…” [Alma 1:3]. There’s a lot of Nehor in what I’m reading here.

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    1. Hi Cort,
      Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog. I’d love to know how you found it. I have always enjoyed and respected your viewpoints. On many occasions I’ve found your words greatly inspiring.

      A few points regarding your well thought out points.

      1) I’m sure that I have used the quotes selectively. But, I think you have selectively responded, too. The three scriptures you critique are only supporting verses to the Law of Common Consent. The core verses are D&C 26:2 & 28:13. These are the words of Christ on how his church is to be governed. The other four that I listed give illumination on why Jesus MAY have established common consent in the restored church. So, I’d agree that this may be speculation. Only Jesus knows all the reasons he commanded His church to be governed by common consent.

      But, they sure seem related to me. None-the-less, the two D&C scriptures stand by themselves. Common Consent should be the Law of the God’s latter-day kingdom. At least, until the commoners vote it out.

      2) There’s a common misconception about common consent in the church. That it only applies to callings. This is clearly wrong. D&C 28:13 says that ALL things MUST be done by common consent in the church. What would all things include? Our LDS website tells us here. Let me quote: “Not only are Church officers sustained by common consent, but this same principle operates for policies, major decisions, acceptance of new scripture, and other things that affect the lives of the Saints.”

      3) Regarding 1 Samuel 8:7, you have a great point. “The adult fellowcitizens…actively participating in governance had rejected God.” Exactly. The prophet didn’t like it. God permitted it. God left it up to “them to chose whatever form of treachery that suited them.” Why would God permit that? Because, His plan is one of free agency. Satan’s plan is force…no choice. Dictatorial government. God threw 1/3rd of his children into outer darkness because they supported a dictator versus a shepherd who beckons with Common Consent and Free Agency.

      4) Regarding Mosiah 29:26-27, you highlight a super important passage. In the interest of brevity, I decided not to use it in my blog post. But, I’m glad you brought it up. Vs. 27: “If the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time the judgements of God will come upon you.” Based on the Samuel verse, it appears that even when the people chose iniquity, he still wants the prophet to listen to the people. I’m going to be a bit judgmental here. I don’t believe that the voice of the body of the saints are choosing or will chose iniquity. So, shouldn’t this clearly stated commandment be front and center in the governance of the church. Or, perhaps I’m wrong in my judgment. Maybe the majority of the saints are choosing iniquity. And as a result the higher commandment of trust and involvement has been withdrawn. Just as the higher law of the Melchezidek priesthood was withdrawn at the time of Moses.

      5) Regarding D&C 124:144. We just have different takes. This is one of my all-time favorite passages. This is the way I see it. Jesus is a personal God. He knows me down to my very name. He’s my friend. Now, we know that the names in this section were Jesus’ choice for the callings listed. But then, gently putting His arm around my shoulder, the Lord says something like this, “Sam, I’m proposing that these men be called. I value your opinion. I appreciate your thoughtful consideration. I’m asking for your approval or disapproval. Please be honest.” How can I not love the Savior when He wants, values, and considers my opinion?

      6) Conveniently ignore Nehor? Do you know how many times I’ve wanted to raise questions in Sunday School and Priesthood when discussing these Book of Mormon passages? It’s culturally forbidden to raise the questions I’m going to bring up here. In fact, it’s culturally forbidden to discuss large swaths of our history and doctrine at church. That is not sustainable. The apostles know it and are slowly, ploddingly working to correct it. But, many of my friends and family have fled the church in the meantime.

      Nehor. First, I’m not sure what he has to do with common consent.

      Nehor’s teachings were “Bearing down against the church.” I’m quoting Jesus Christ’s words directly from the D&C. It appears to me that it is the Savior Himself who is bearing down on His own church for not following His Law of Common Consent.

      Nehor declared “that every priest and teacher ought to become popular.” Again, not sure what this has to do with common consent. But, I have great concern that I and perhaps many others, have raised the status of the apostles & prophets above the status of Jesus. Is it possible that Nehor could have said something like this: “Do what the priests tell you to do, even if it is wrong?” Or this, “Don’t criticize the priests, even if they are wrong?” Or this, “The priests will never lead you astray?”

      Nehor: “They ought not to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people.” Back in Book of Mormon times the prophet was not supported by money from members. Time-after-time, prophets emphasized that they provided for their means by the labor of their own hands. Priestcraft was the term they coined for being paid for priestly services. Today, the apostles and prophets are handsomely compensated, highly popular, and enjoy plenty of perks. I’m not saying that this is necessarily bad. It just doesn’t sync with the Book of Mormon church. When we study Nehor and Korihor, we very selectively leave out the strong defense of Alma the dad, and Alma the younger, that the prophets were not financially supported by the members.

      7) Finally, “There’s a lot of Nehor in what I’m reading here.” Of course, you know that what you are reading was written by Sam Young. So, you are seeing ME as Nehor, that dastardly, irredeemable, false doctrinaire of apostate infamy. I get that. Until two years ago, I had never heard the term “ad hominem attack.” Today, I’m intimately acquainted with it.

      Cort, I am searching for ways to better follow the teachings and example of Jesus. I’m seeking to understand and keep my temple covenants. Many friends and family have left the church. NO ONE in the church leadership has seemed to have ANY concern for these loses of MY loved ones. In the past, I’ve remained seated and silent on the sidelines…shedding tears as I watched and did nothing. I’m done with that. I love my loved ones, I love Jesus, I love the church….enough to finally raise my hand and voice.


      1. First of all, I wasn’t accusing you of being Nehor: I am suggesting that the extremely flawed reasoning and the careless use of Scripture to justify that reasoning bears the Nehor taint. I am not doubting the sincerity of your words, nor am I suggesting that you are seeking to lead others astray (although there are many, many people doing exactly that). Nuance sometimes gets lost in online postings, and I apologize for what seemed to be attacking words.

        Second, if I am reading your response correctly, you are suggesting that, in the case of Samuel and the children of Israel, where the people reject the counsel of a prophet, and the Lord instructs that prophet to let them make their choices, that this is an example of the Lord acceding to the people’s will. The result of that choice, which was preceded by paganism, licentiousness, and sin, was that the people lost their connection to the Lord. Isn’t this what happens today? Show me an instance of a Priesthood leader denying anyone the right to exercise agency. It doesn’t happen. What happens is that people choose disobedience, and are cut off from the blessings of Church membership. Agency is in force, and so is Consequence.

        Third, your “agency epiphany” is over 180 years old. David Whitmer, one of the brightest and most steadfast of Joseph Smith’s early followers, was horrified when Joseph announced himself the “First Elder” of the Church. In Whitmer’s cosmology, Mormonism was an egalitarian movement, where no one held any primacy of leadership: there was no such thing as a “bishop” or a “First Elder.” Whitmer was pushed over the edge in 1835, when the Quorum of the Twelve was organized. He felt these formalized leadership organizations corrupted the purity of the restored Gospel, and he abandoned the Church (there are varying accounts of his continued commitment to the Mormon movement; I’m not a historian, so I won’t comment on that). My point is that established leadership hierarchies is settled doctrine. We believe in continuing revelation. That revelation includes the ongoing evolution of Church organization. You’re conception of “common consent” is antiquated, and trumped by Divine edict.

        Fourth, one of the great problems in Mormonism is the failure of Church members, the adherents as well as the disaffected, to properly understand terms. “Magnify your calling” does not mean to expand the scope of your stewardship. “Magnify” in this case means to “give glory to God.” “Act in faith” does not mean “Never question. Never doubt.” I’ve always liked Milosz’s observation that “doubt is a noble thing,” that honest, searching doubt always leads to greater faith, and acts of faith always result in new doubts to conquer. “Common consent” is not “everybody votes on everything, like we’re sitting in a village hall in some town in New Hampshire. You suggest that “common consent” is not merely the act of sustaining in callings. You’re right, but not the way you think you are. The act of sustaining is one of the most sacred we perform as Church members. Think about it: there are only a handful of times we, as a group, draw our arms to the square, and most of those are in the Temple. The act of sustaining is an act of covenant: I am acknowledging that the person being sustained has been “called of God, by revelation.” I am committing to do everything in my power to see that person succeed in their new assignment. I am asserting to God, angels, and earthly witnesses that no matter how I feel about the person, no matter what disagreements or disputes we may have had in the past, I am ready to cast those aside and lend my full support.
        I had an experience on my mission. A member of a stake presidency and his wife were exceptionally unkind to my companion and me. It was without question the most negative experience of my mission, a humiliating, enraging experience. Fifteen years later, that man was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy. My first impulse was to quit the Church, to turn in my recommend. My second impulse was to say, “Lord, I will learn everything I can from this man. I will sustain him.” That decision healed my heart.
        I have had horrible experiences with local leaders, too. I have seen policies and programs put into place that I dislike (I think Trek is a ridiculous, wasteful thing. I thought the “Saint United Voices” firesides were an affront to good taste and the Spirit, a pandering mockery of everything I was working for as the leader of a racially and ethnically mixed ward. I wish Scouts would dry up and blow away), but I sustain my leaders. I express my concerns, privately, but honestly, and then I hunker down and do my best to make the programs succeed.
        Like most Mormons, I’ve seen “Priesthood malpractice” up close. I had a bishop refuse to shake my hand after I was called to be the ward’s Elders Quorum president, because he considered me “unfit” for the calling. I had another bishop, seething with rage, throw me out of a ward council meeting, calling me a “liar and a gossip” as I left, because I had offered a mild disagreement with something he’d said. I had a bishop refuse to sign my Temple recommend, because I was a Democrat, and “you can’t be a Democrat and be a good Mormon.” He was just teasing, and signed it a few minutes later, but I felt bulled and embarrassed. And there are oodles of people who lived under my leadership as bishop, who will happily tell you of the manifold ways I failed them while serving in that calling.
        I forgave every one of those bishops for their slights. Two of them became close, close friends, father figures to me. And even when I was seared by hurt, when I humbled myself, and recognized their Divine calling, and followed them with a forgiving heart, my life was filled with wholeness. As for my tenure as bishop, I was blessed to serve in a ward where forgiveness is a deep well: many I failed as Bishop have found ways to “show forth an increase in love,” and healing has happened.
        Part of sustaining, of latter-day common consent, is trusting leaders to do their best, and forgiving them for not being infallible. It’s an act of faith, an act of trust. It is not a vote on what’s fashionable today.

        Fifth, you state that no leaders cared for you and your loved ones, who are experiencing a “faith crisis.” Sam, starting in 1991, I have served, without a break, as an Elders Quorum president, Ward Mission Leader, Seminary teacher, Bishopric counselor, High Councilor, Bishop, High Councilor (again), and Seminary teacher (again), while holding concurrent callings as an Assistant Nursery Leader, Gospel Doctrine Teacher, High Priest Group instructor, Assistant Scoutmaster (twice), ward missionary, and Gospel Principles teacher. More than half my life, I’ve been in leadership. The workings of Church leadership are one of the few things I actually know something about. For a good chunk of my time in leadership, I lived in the same stake as you. I know your friends. I know your loved ones. And I know of the hours and hours and hours of counseling caring leaders have offered many of them. I have heard the anguished prayers of stake presidency members on their behalf. I have sat in counsel with leaders, who wanted nothing more than to bring the balm of Gilead to wounded hearts. I have been personally involved in some of those counseling sessions. I have offered some of those prayers. I appreciate your hurt and your sense of abandonment, but the wounded and the struggling are not being ignored.

        Sixth (and I apologize for the length of this piece — if you’ve read this far, then mazel tov), leadership in Mormonism is a fine balance between ensuring individual agency and preserving institutional orthodoxy. Joseph’s line about teaching people correct principles, and trusting them to self-govern comes into play here, but so does the instruction in Section 20 to “watch over the Church,” and the instruction in Section 56 to repent and obey, or be cut off, and so does the progressive nature of the recommend questions: if I deny the reality of the Godhead and reject the Atonement of Christ, it doesn’t matter how I feel about the leaders. If I don’t sustain the prophet, the other General Authorities, and the local leaders of the Church, I can eschew tobacco, coffee, and alcohol and pay tithing til Doomsday, and it still doesn’t qualify me for the Temple. The forms of our devotion vary greatly, but there has to be a context to that devotion. There has to be rules. There has to be leadership. There has to be a structure. Everyone milling about, sharing their opinions and voting their whims, that’s not Christ’s Church: that’s Facebook.


    2. Cort, blind consent to revered leaders/men (worship?) goes against Christ. Nowhere is it commanded or even suggested in the fullness of the Gospel (BoM), but it does result in so many contradictory (not of God) “commandments” that this “New Commandment” is blasphemy.

      If our infallible Leaders ask obedience to themselves before Christ – is that blasphemy? Christ did not ask that of us. Men did. They have to command strict obedience and not questioning their mounting contradictions to Christ. Thus one lie leads to the next and they must further commanded us that we should obey anyway as a test of faith. More blasphemy which piles higher and deeper.

      Is the only way to dig out of this mess to un-gag Christ, let Him out of the trunk of our “One and Only True Jesus-Mobile,” and bring him up out of the back seat even, and put Him in the drivers seat where He belongs. Oh, those pesky parables….

      Maybe our True Jesus Mobile does not even have Christ anywhere near it or He could do that for Himself, but he does allow men to run others around with commandments of men, and allows us to use our agency to prove ourselves corrupt, or true followers of only Him first. The book of Mormon warns of this corrupting at least a few times. We are not to worship anything, not in the sky or in the earth or upon the earth, not even perfect leaders.

      I know this offends leaders, but, we’re talking about Christ and His non-contradictory real Commandments and eternal truths of His Higher Law – simplification of eternal unchanging truths, the same yesterday, today and forever. We can and have easily twisted that though, to mean that following Christ is to disobey Him when His Anointed Ones” command us to. We can not get to heaven lie upon lie, but only line upon line of ONLY Christ’s own real unchanging truths.

      Obeying His law of common consent does indeed , as He said, commanded, eventually and bit by bit clear out the dead wood, the contradictions against Christ, the “commandments of men” to follow men first, to obey worshiped men foremost and not question the ultimate authority and power of those anointed infallible men (D&C 121?)…

      Are they infallible because they are perfect, as only Christ is, or is it because they can not lead us astray because they have no agency? Dizzy yet? there’s plenty more where that comes from, and Christ wants and has commanded us to clear it out, with our agency to choose properly and not follow blindly, as Christ, Moroni and Alma commanded us, over and over, to question everything and test every truth top see if it is truth, or another commandment of men or of Christ. By their fruits you can and will know them. Grapes of thorns, figs of thistles? Eyes to hear and ears to see?

      There is a difference between following Christ and following “men called of Christ,” His anointed ones who violate D&C 121 and all references to Christ’s law of common consent. Obey Christ first. No BS tests commanding us to disobey Christ to test us. Any test there would be to see if we can think enough for ourselves and use our agency to recognize and follow the real commandments of Christ, not the bogus commandments of the devil (D&C 46: 7?).

      Are “the Lord’s Anointed ones” really called of Christ when they stuff Christ in the trunk of their Jesus-mobile, smile, wave, wear expensive suits, white shirts, are clean shaven (all that is an affront to Christ)? but, maybe you are right, they really are called of Christ, but their pride and power then takes them the other direction? Are we to follow that? Yes, a test to see if we are so dumb as to thumb our noses at Christ?


    1. Here’s how I’m doing it. The apostles are not putting up all polices, major decisions, etc up for vote as they should. So, my only option is to vote opposed when the apostles are put up for a sustaining vote.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi GaryC,

      Thanks for reading my blog….and providing the link. Highly interesting.

      Do I expect Common Consent to see the light of day? It already is. At least, in my heart and mind. The apostles should present “policies, major decisions, acceptance of new scripture, and other things that affect the lives of the Saints.” They aren’t. So, my only option is to vote opposed when the sustaining vote for the apostles is called for. Will the apostles eventually embrace common consent as revealed by Christ? I have no idea. But, I’m not waiting. I have covenants to keep and laws to follow. The teachings & example of Jesus are my gospel. The temple covenants and other promises that I’ve made are now all interpreted with HIs teachings at the center.

      BTW, during the first year of my searching, I spent hours on RFM. It’s causing me to tear up as I recall the solace I found there. It was such a lonely feeling, not knowing that others had the same questions and doubts. Now, I know many, many in my area whose faith has or is transitioning.

      So, thank you to all of the RFM family!


      1. Hi, Sam,

        Thank you so much for your kind response. I just posted this on RfM to convey your sentiments to the group. Everyone will celebrate your spirit when they read it.


        Since JohnD does not Green Light most of my Mormon Stories posts to appear in public view, I have posted many of them on Sam Young’s personal blog.

        He responded with a shout out to all of you RfM-ites.


        Sam Young
        September 12, 2016 at 4:15 pm
        Hi beyondashadow,

        Thanks for reading my blog….and providing the link. Highly interesting.

        Do I expect Common Consent to see the light of day? It already is. At least, in my heart and mind. The apostles should present “policies, major decisions, acceptance of new scripture, and other things that affect the lives of the Saints.” They aren’t. So, my only option is to vote opposed when the sustaining vote for the apostles is called for. Will the apostles eventually embrace common consent as revealed by Christ? I have no idea. But, I’m not waiting. I have covenants to keep and laws to follow. The teachings & example of Jesus are my gospel. The temple covenants and other promises that I’ve made are now all interpreted with HIs teachings at the center.

        BTW, during the first year of my searching, I spent hours on RFM. It’s causing me to tear up as I recall the solace I found there. It was such a lonely feeling, not knowing that others had the same questions and doubts. Now, I know many, many in my area whose faith has or is transitioning.

        So, thank you to all of the RFM family!


        Sam is an extraordinarily courageous TBM and deserves our ongoing support and encouragement. Of course, his hope that The Brethren eventually soften their autocratic, top-down mind-control of their revenue sheep is doomed to disappointment for Sam, but in the meantime, Sam’s voice is awakening others to scrutinize The Brethren more carefully. Sam has a good and generous heart, and is a genuine Poster Boy for WWJD … precisely what The Brethren not only cannot tolerate, but consistently and proactively eject from their Club when the unwelcome annoyance reaches critical mass.


        My dear Sam, for some reason, your spirit and expression has deeply resonated with me over the past few days. I have spent literally many hours reading and listening to you and writing my thoughts in response.

        Regardless of whether The Brethren ever acquiesce even partially to your Common Consent initiatives, your Light of Christ is shining brightly for all to see, feel and appreciate. Let me give you a heads up on something you may not have figured out yet . . .

        Your personal power exceeds the illusion of power feigned by The Brethren. How so? Simple. You, Sam Young, truly love and appreciate your fellow travelers on this Planet Earth. You love all of us from your heart of hearts, and it shows.

        The Brethren, on the other hand, are in love only with themselves and their self-centered benefits harvested at the expense of the millions of innocent, vulnerable marks they are manipulating and exploiting. Starting with Joseph Smith, the founder of it all.

        I realize you do not see this clearly yet, but the clouds will dissipate eventually and the true colors of The Brethren will come into sharp focus for you.

        In the meantime, just be yourself, Sam. Just be who you are, as opposed to who The Brethren want you to be. At the end of the day, Light will trump Darkness.

        Who’s on the Lord’s side, who?

        You, Sam. It’s YOU!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Sam, I am waiting for answers to the questions I posed in the first post on this page. I was sincere in my statements and questions and in no way did I mean to be argumentative or disagreeable. I have respected you and Patty for years. I am trying to understand how you have arrived at your conclusions. I am reading from what you have written, that your belief in the gospel, as restored by Joseph Smith, is based on two doctrines.
    The first is ” common consent” and the second is your personal “temple covenants”. Is that correct or have I missed something in what I have read? Then you say that you follow the teachings of Christ, and I know that that is true. Yet, on the podcast interview, you stated that you didn’t know if Jesus Christ ever existed or not. I don’t understand that. Please explain! Is he your Savior? Did he atone for your sins? I am just so confused, because I don’t understand. I love you, Sam and think you are probably one of the kindest people I know. You are, IMHO, one of the most Christlike people I know as well. If you weren’t, I wouldn’t care what you believed.
    I understand your hurt and pain from losing members and friends from the Church. I have been there. I don’t expect the brethren to go out and bring them back. There aren’t enough of them. But there are enough members to do just that. And that is where we have fallen way short. I include myself in the ones who could do more. Hugs to you and Patty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Janice,
      You have posed great and understandable questions. Hopefully, I can give an equally great and understandable response. It’s coming soon!


  7. Sam, I admire you for bringing forward your voice and reminding the church of the Common Consent approach it claimed at one time. I agree with others that this will be a long, long battle, but until people somehow signal they cannot sustain the lies, the treatment of certain populations and the many other flaws in the church, silence implies consent. So you are doing a good thing. I also see resignation as a form of disagreement – I met with several leaders and made it clear why I left. I believe that message got through to them, and perhaps that’s another way of addressing the situation. I cannot sustain or participate in a church that has lied for decades, but I made certain to let everyone know I am still a person of faith – as with many others who have left, I now worship elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

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