Do we love Jesus enough to…. stand up for what we believe is right?
Do we love Jesus enough to….stand up for the marginalized in our very midst?
Do we love Jesus enough to….stand up for those in our midst who are in danger?
Do we love Jesus enough to….be honest when Jesus asks for our opinion?
Do we love the church enough to….stand up and protect it as Jesus has designated?
Do we love the church enough to….participate in its governance as Jesus has designated?
Do we love the apostles enough to….be honest when they ask for our opinion?
Finally, do we love Jesus enough to….to follow Him?
On Saturday October 1st, a very special event will occur. At the general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Law of Common Consent will be put into practice. This is a sacred opportunity for all members of the church to express their “approval” or “disapproval.” (D&C 124:144)
This divine system of governance in the kingdom of God was declared by the Savior Himself. In Doctrine & Covenants 28:13, “For ALL things MUST be done in order, and by common consent in the church.”
Can a person hold an office in the church without the consent of the people?
Nope. “No man can preside in this Church in any capacity without the consent of the people. The Lord has placed upon us the responsibility of sustaining by vote those who are called to various positions of responsibility. No man, should the people decide to the contrary, could preside over any body of Latter-day Saints in this Church.” –LDS Website
Who should nominate the officers of the church?
“It is not the right of the people to nominate, to choose, for that is the right of the priesthood.” –LDS Website
Does Common Consent apply to more than just church officers?
Oh yes, so much more!!! “This same principle operates for policies, major decisions, acceptance of new scripture, and other things that affect the lives of the Saints. (see D&C 26:2) –LDS Website
And, there is the sticking point. Today, no policies, no major decisions, not anything that affects the lives of the Saints are being presented nor accepted by common consent. If we are opposed to any of the above, the only real option seems to be voting opposed to the general leadership. Someday that will change. Eventually, the membership will no longer tolerate disobedience of this plain and precious law of God.
If You Support Everything The Church Is Doing…
Please, carefully consider your vote. A vote to sustain the prophets and apostles is a great way to vote. I commend & support your action.
If You Generally Support Everything, But Have Concerns…
Please, carefully consider your vote. Whether you abstain or vote in approval, good for you. Your opinion is important to the governance of Christ’s church.
If You Have Major Issues with Policies “That affect the Lives of the Saints”
Please, carefully consider your vote. The unanimous votes that are recorded at General, Stake and Ward Conferences are sending a clear signal to SLC and to the general membership that “all is well in Zion.” However, many feel that all is NOT well in Zion. That includes me.
Jesus’ system of church governance addresses practical concerns. Common Consent helps prevent errors, correct errors, provide accountability and put a check on “Unrighteous Dominion.” (D&C 121:39)
Besides practicality there is another side of Common Consent. To me, this law is one of the most beautiful in our entire canon. Most commandments are like: “Do this…Do that…Don’t do this…Don’t do that!” Oh…but this law is more like: “Sam, you are of great worth. I value your opinion. I value your critical thinking. I have commanded the apostles, whom I have put in place, to ask for your input. When they do, please be honest. I’m trusting and relying on you, Sam.” When I consider how the Lord Jesus has set up the governance of His church, a tear of joy graces my eye. He loves, respects and values each of us and our opinions.
If You are Opposed, I Encourage you to Vote Your Opinion
First, I know that many are constrained by fear. Fear of family, friends, or business repercussions. Those are legitimate considerations. It’s an unfortunate element of today’s LDS culture that prevents full participation in the Law of Common Consent. Your silence is understandable and certainly an honorable path.
Now, to the group in which I find myself: Those who oppose and are willing to fully engage in the divine process of church voting.
Please, carefully consider casting a vote. This is general conference (GC) and is the easiest of all the conferences. The voting session occurs Saturday afternoon. Here’s how you can effectively vote.
- Attend GC in Salt Lake City.
- Watch GC in your stake center or local chapel, if conference is broadcast there.
- Watch or listen to GC in your home.
- MOST IMPORTANT: After the Saturday voting session, send an email to your bishop and Stake President.
Questions and Concerns
Do I have to spend time composing an e-mail? Not necessarily. Click here for examples. Take ideas from it. Modify it. Or flat out copy it.
How will anyone know that there are actually members opposing? Great question. A Common Consent Register has now been created. In this document you can record your name as having voted OPPOSED or planning to vote OPPOSED. For many it is a scary experience…putting their name in full view of the public. Certainly, it is a worthwhile cause to stand up for what we believe and to speak out for those who can’t speak for themselves.
What are the risks? There shouldn’t be any risks to obeying a commandment from Jesus Christ in the church of Jesus Christ. But, the risk is real. I’ll address that in a blog post coming in the next few days.
Will I be asked to meet with a church leader? It’s likely that the stake president or bishop will want to discuss with you. That should be a very good thing. It gives you the opportunity to explain your position. In an ideal church, your opinion would be forwarded up the chain. If a significant number of members engage in common consent, vote tallies will be taken seriously. In the ‘risks’ posting, I’ll give some ideas for the interview with church leaders.
My Hope & Prayer
I love my church. The church of my child and adulthood. The church of my forefathers, my parents, my children, my grandchildren. It’s a good church. It’s the church of Jesus Christ.
I pray that good men and women all over the world will raise their hands and express their sincere and true opinions. Jesus is counting on us.
36 thoughts on “Do We Love Jesus Enough To…..”
I appreciate the clarity with which this is written. Your love for the way the church should/could be, rings through loud and clear. I’m going to get my brave on!
Oh Jan! Get your brave on? I love hearing that. Thanks.
Sam, my wife already have our emails written and ready to send off this week before conference, and we are both glad to sign your register. Fear isn’t an issue with us, and I also hope that others will overcome the fears they my have and voice their dissent if they are questioning the recent actions the church has taken to push people away instead of loving them where they are. We look forward to your next post.
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Thanks, Dario. You and your wife are good and honorable folks. A blessing to count as friends.
I want to congratulate ya’ll again for the new addition in your family. You will be a great blessing to that new son. As he will be to you, too.
All My Best, Sam
On “Consent of the people.” I quote Thomas Jefferson: “Where the vote is not secret, there is no vote.” The hands up vote is absurd if you want the will of the people. Take a secret vote and see how many of us support this new ruling about poor little “bastards” raised by gay parents.
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That’s a great point. As mentioned in the blog, I know many people who are opposed but who fear the repercussions of the open vote. I hope that those who can’t raise their hand in conference would at least send an e-mail or put their name on the Register.
November’s gay policy is what pushed me into the camp of disapproval.
I fully support a member’s choice to cast an opposing vote. However, I’m curious about a member who opposes at General Conference without opposing at the prior or subsequent ward and stake conferences and dodges the questions about church leaders in the temple recommend interview.
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I think that voting at general conference is the easiest vote. Still hard, but the easiest. Ward and stake conferences are more intimidating. You are in the midst of people you know. They don’t know how to react. You don’t know how to react to their reaction. But, I think the opposed votes in the ward and stake actually have more impact, since they don’t have the same anonymity as the general conference.
Dodging temple recommend questions? I can’t speak for anybody but myself. I view voting and the recommend interview as totally separate matters. One is a solicitation for common consent–it’s a vote. The second is assessing worthiness. I sustain the leadership of the church. When the stake conference vote was counted, I lost out to everybody else who voted to sustain. I’m good with that. I accept and sustain them as our leaders. However, there will be another vote called again. At that time I’ll make another assessment as to how I vote. In the interim I sustain.
By the way, the only reason that I vote in opposition of apostles is that they are not offering any other means for me to disapprove of polices that I disapprove of. According to commandment, the law of church government and church doctrine, they are supposed to be putting forward much more before us than they are.
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I just wonder if these people “brave enough” to stand against the church and it’s leaders, have been “humble enough” to kneel before Gid and ask for his direction and insight (without pre-conceived notions that the leaders are wrong… Open to the fact that the prophet really is a prophet) There are things, and have been things, that I have problems with or that I don’t necessarily agree with, but when I’ve taken the matters before the Lord, I’ve received comfort and very distinct answers to my concerns … and opposing in General Conference has not been one of them.
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Brave enough to stand against the church and it’s leaders? That is a huge assumption. Maybe there are people who are against the church and it’s leaders. I AM NOT ONE OF THEM. I stand for Jesus Christ. It is his commandment that “ALL things MUST be done with common consent.” It is from His mouth that he COMMANDED Joseph Smith to get the general membership’s approval OR disapproval. These are Christ’s words. I follow Christ. Period. The apostles are good men. I sustain them. But, I disapprove of some of the policies that they have not presented for a vote. A vote that is required by commandment, law, and church doctrine.
Have I taken matters to the Lord? Absolutely. Preconceived notions? Don’t almost all members HAVE preconceived notions that the prophet is right? I have no preconception of them being right or wrong. They are prophets. They are also men. Men who can, have, and will continue to make mistakes.
What I know is that they HAVE been very, very wrong. For over 125 years, the apostles and prophets promulgated racist policies, practices, doctrines and teachings. Fortunately, the present apostles have CONDEMNED the past racism of the church. Maybe, if the membership had not had the “preconceived notion” that the prophet is always right, we would have voted out racism long ago. Instead we denied an entire race the blessings of the gospel for 125 years.
Do we have prophets? Of course, we do. Imperfect prophets. Prophets who I respect. Prophets who I don’t worship.
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We are asked in GC to SUSTAIN or OPPOSE. To sustain means to aid, approve, assist, back, bear, befriend, carry, comfort, defend, help, nourish,shore up, support. The opposite of SUSTAIN is to discontinue, halt, stop.
To VOTE means to ballot, choose, elect, confer, enact, judge, opt,. The opposite of VOTE is to abstain. We are not asked to vote and I understand that this is what Sam is asking for….the opportunity to vote.
I would think long and hard and pray a lot before I raised my hand in opposition to the brethren. If I oppose some thing that has been put into policy, the time for this is with my Bishop and Stake President at a Temple recommend interview. Another option is to email or write to the Brethren and let them know you are opposed to a person or policy. Even though I do not agree with the policy of LGBTQIA children, I could not raise my hand in opposition to the whole of the General Authorities for this change. I do not have all the information that was used to come to this decision. Several years ago as I was serving as a RS president, I had given my Bishop the name of a sister that I wanted as a teacher of religious doctrine. He told me no. I was ticked off, but approached the Lord in prayer and I was sure she was the one to teach the class. I went back to the Bishop and he said NO again. I stomped my foot and demanded to know why. He informed me that her records from Germany had just arrived and she had moved at a time when she had been called before a Bishop’s Council for Excommunication. She was later excommunicated and I was humbled by the fact that I didn’t have all the facts. I know that Sam has thought and prayed about this subject and this approach has, in his opinion come to HIM as the way for him to follow the scriptures. However, unless you have spent as much time on this as he has, I would suggest you think and pray about this approach for you.
You are not Voting but Sustaining or Opposing or you can ABSTAIN.
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Wise counsel: “Think and pray.” Both are good. Often we do neither.
“Today, no policies, no major decisions, not anything that affects the lives of the Saints are being presented nor accepted by common consent.” – which is why I’m convinced that the only vote that matters to the LDS church is the one where I send in my resignation, and even then, it just gives them the opportunity to mischaracterize why I left and blame it on something like “he was offended” or “he wanted to sin.”
Sam, I sincerely hope you hit the windmill you’re swinging at 🙂
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Resignation? Well, it seems that the absolute most popular method of voting opposed is with the feet. I’m really hoping that Handmade opposition will make a come back.
Thanks for your well-wishing, my friend.