Common Consent: Scriptures, Doctrine & Congressional Testimony


I’ve been asked for a succinct list of references that can be shared with family and friends. Here you go.


D&C 28:13–For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.

D&C 26:2–And all things shall be done by common consent in the church.

D&C 124:144–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.

D&C 121:39–We have learned by sad experience that 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.

1 Samuel 8:7–And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee.

Mosiah 29:26–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.

Doctrine–Click HERE.  Particularly note this paragraph:  “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 (see D&C 26:2).”

Congressional Testimony by President Joseph F. Smith

Proceedings of the Committee on Privileges and Elections of the United States in the matter of the protests against the right of Hon. Reed Smoot, a senator from the state of Utah, to hold his seat. Vol I, p. 96-98 (To link to the actual proceedings click HERE )

Mr TAYLER:  You have already touched upon the subject of revelation, and if you have anything further to say about it I think this would be as good a time as any, as to the method in which a revelation is received and is binding or an authoritative force upon the people.

Mr SMITH:  I will say this, Mr. Chairman, that no revelation given through the head of the church ever becomes binding and authoritative upon the members of the church until it has been presented to the church and accepted by them.

Mr WORTHINGTON:  What do you mean by being presented to the church?

Mr SMITH:  Presented in conference.

Mr TAYLER:  Do you mean by that that the church in conference may say to you, Joseph F. Smith, the first president of the church, “We deny that God has told you to tell us this?”

Mr SMITH:  They can say that if they choose.

Mr TAYLER:  They can say it?

Mr SMITH:  Yes, sir, they can.  And it is not binding upon them as members of the church until they accept it.

Mr TAYLER:  Until they accept it?

Mr SMITH:  Yes, sir.

Mr TAYLER:  Were the revelations to Joseph Smith, jr., all submitted to the people?

Mr SMITH:  Yes, sir.

Senator OVERMAN:  Does it require a majority to accept or must it be the unanimous voice?

Mr SMITH:  A majority.  Of course only those who accept would be considered as in good standing in the church.  (Sam’s comment:  JFS elaborates on this comment further down.  He makes it obvious that you CAN disagree with a revelation and remain in good standing.)

Mr TAYLER:  Exactly.  Has any revelation made by God to the first president of the church and presented by him to the church ever been rejected?

Mr SMITH:  I do not know that it has; not that I know of.

Senator HOAR:  That answer presents precisely the question I put to you a little while ago.  “Not that I know of,” you replied.  Do you know, as the head of the church, what revelations to your predecessors are binding upon the church?

Mr SMITH:  I know, as I have stated, that only those revelations which are submitted to the church and accepted by the church are binding upon them.  That I know.

Senator HOAR:  Then the counsel asked you if any revelation of the head of the church had been rejected.

Mr SMITH:  Not that I know of.  I do not know of any that have been rejected.

Senator HOAR:  Do you mean to reply doubtfully upon that question, whether some of the revelations are binding and some are not?

Mr SMITH:  There may have been; I do not know of any.

Senator HOAR:  That then is not a matter in which you have an inspired knowledge?

Mr SMITH:  No, sir.

The CHAIRMAN:  But you do not know of any instance where the revelation so imparted to the church has been rejected?

Mr SMITH:  No, sir; not by the whole church.  I know of instances in which large numbers of members of the church have rejected the revelation, but not the body of the church.

Senator OVERMAN:  What became of those people who rejected it?

Mr SMITH:  Sir?

Senator OVERMAN:  What became of the people who rejected the divine revelation; were they unchurched?

Mr SMITH:  They unchurched themselves.

Senator OVERMAN:  Oh, yes.  They were outside the pale of the church then?

Mr SMITH:  Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN:  They unchurched themselves by not believing?

Mr SMITH:  By not accepting.

Mr TAYLER:  Then if you had a revelation and presented it to your people, all who did not accept it would thereby be unchurched?

Mr SMITH:  Not necessarily.

Mr TAYLER:  Not necessarily?

Mr SMITH:  No, sir.

Mr TAYLER:  I should like to have you distinguish between this answer and the one you just gave.

Mr SMITH:  Our people are given the largest possible latitude for their convictions, and if a man rejects a message that I may give to him but is still moral and believes in the main principles of the gospel and desires to continue in his membership in the church, he is permitted to remain and he is not unchurched.  It is only those who on rejecting a revelation rebel against the church and withdraw from the church at their own volition.

Senator HOAR:  Mr. Smith, the revelations given through you and your predecessors have always been from God?

Mr SMITH:  I believe so.

Senator HOAR:  Very well.  As I understand, those persons who you say reject one of your revelations but still believe in the main principles of the church are at liberty to remain in the church.  Do I understand you to say that any revelation coming from God to you is not one of the main principles of the church?  Does not the person who rejects it reject the direct authority of God?

Mr SMITH:  Yes, sir.

Senator HOAR:  In good standing, if a moral man?

Mr SMITH:  Yes, sir.

Senator HOAR:  Although disobeying the direct commandment of God?

Mr SMITH:  Would you permit me to say a few words?

Senator HOAR:  Certainly.  We shall be glad to hear you.

Mr SMITH:  I should like to say to the honorable gentlemen that the members of the Mormon Church are among the freest and most independent people of all the Christian denominations.  They are not all united on every principle.  Every man is entitled to his own opinion and his own views and his own conceptions of right and wrong so long as they do not come in conflict with the standard principles of the church.  If a man assumes to deny God and to become an infidel we withdraw fellowship from him.  If a man commits adultery we withdraw fellowship from him.  If men steal or lie or bear false witness against their neighbors or violate the cardinal principles of the Gospel, we withdraw our fellowship.  The church withdraws its fellowship from that man and he ceases to be a member of the church.  But so long as a man or a woman is honest and virtuous and believes in God and has a little faith in the church organization, so long we nurture and aid that person to continue faithfully as a member of the church, though he may not believe all that is revealed.

I should like to say this to you, in point, that a revelation on plural marriage is contained in that book.  It has been ascertained by actual count that not more than perhaps 3 or 4 per cent of the membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ever entered into that principle.  All the rest of the members of the church abstained from that principle and did not enter into it, and many thousands of them never received it or believed it; but they were not cut off from the church.  They were not disfellowshipped and they are still members of the church; that is what I wish to say.

Senator DUBOIS.  Did I understand you to say that many thousands of them never believed in the doctrine of plural marriage?

Mr SMITH:  Yes, sir—

Senator DUBOIS:  You misunderstand me.  I do not undertake to say that they practice it.  I accept your statement on that point.  But do you mean to say that any member of the Mormon Church in the past or at the present time says openly that he does not believe in the principle of plural marriages?

Mr SMITH:  I know that there are hundreds, of my own knowledge, who say they never did believe in it and never did receive it, and they are members of the church in good-fellowship.  Only the other day I heard a man, prominent among us, a man of wealth, too, say that he had received all the principles of Mormonism except plural marriage, and that he never had received it and could not see it.  I myself heard him say it within the last ten days.

Other Resources:

  • Common Consent Register—A Record of Those Who Disapprove click, HERE.
  • Disturbing membership Trends, click HERE.
  • Do We Love Jesus Enough?, click HERE.
  • The Only True Hope for The Only True Church, click HERE.
  • My personal sadness over my friends and family leaving, click HERE

18 thoughts on “Common Consent: Scriptures, Doctrine & Congressional Testimony

  1. Hi, Sam!

    Very interesting transcript. Apparently President Joseph F. Smith was speaking as a man before Congress. The Brethren will not hesitate to throw him under the bus along with all the other past prophets.

    Actually, The Brethren do not care whatsoever what members believe or think as long as they more or less keep it to themselves.

    Sam, you are not doing a very good job of keeping your thoughts and beliefs to yourself. Eventually The Brethren will unchurch you if you keep it up. And I am confident you will indeed keep it up.

    The Unchurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    I nominate YOU for prophet, Sam!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Gary, you are so good. How about The Church of the Unchurched? Transcribing this testimony was the first time that I’d ever heard this word. Sounds so much better than ‘excommunicated.’

    BTW, I’m not going to throw JFS under the bus. I consider his words truly prophetic. The membership does have a voice! YES!!!


    1. Hey, Sam!

      “I consider his words truly prophetic.”

      Therein lies the rub. Some call this approach “cafeteria Mormon”. When you pick and choose the parts you like and disown the other parts, you are not sustaining the Leaders as Infallible. The Brethren want you to prop them up on the Infallible Pedestal. It pays better.

      I would KISS on that and just call your new org: The Unchurch And since you invented it, you get bragging rights on The First Unchurch.

      Keep up the good fight, Sam! You may not call it a fight, but The Brethren are not amused. It’s a tall order to find a Boys Club that takes themselves more seriously than The Brethren.

      I’d say “Bless their hearts” if only they had hearts to bless.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Gary,

        You are sooooooooooooooo bad. You realize that I can’t keep from giggling. The Only True and Living Unchurch on the planet. Frequently, I attempt to take myself seriously. It never has a happy ending.

        “If only they had hearts.” You are double bad….as I giggle again. It sounds like something right out of The Wizard of Oz.

        At this point, I think the entire purpose of my blog is to uncover another nifty notion lurking in the mind of my faithful friend. And I do consider you just that.


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