Free Doesn’t Always Mean Free


January 30, 2017, my wife and I joined Lifetime Fitness (LT).  It was my sweetheart’s idea and her  ideas are usually the best.  It was more expensive than I expected.  One of the closing points was the upcoming 60 Day Challenge.  It would start in 2 weeks.  If we joined before then, our entry would be free.  And….if we won?  A $10,000 prize awaited  I wasn’t holding my breath for any prize.  My wife had already closed the deal when she said she wanted to join.  No more closing needed.

Two weeks came and went pretty fast.  I was going to the gym regularly and seeing noticeable progress in both stregnth and stamina.  I was pumped.  OK, 60 Day Challenge, here I come.

I sat down with a very nice young man to sign up.  He had a long list.  Questions to go through.  Options to select.  Classes offered.  Discounted club products.  Finally the paperwork.  Thirty minutes go by.  I’m getting fidgety.  Then, an unexpected wrinkle.

LT GUY:  All that’s left is the entry fee.  How do you want to take care of it?

SAM:  What entry fee?

LT GUY:  There’s a $45 fee.

SAM:  Oh yeah.  I just joined the gym two weeks ago and they told me the Challenge would be free.

LT GUY:  Sometimes “FREE DOES’T MEAN FREE.”  There’s a $45 fee for anyone who wants to participate.

At this point, my dander was getting up.

SAM:  Let me get this straight.  Free doesn’t me free?  So, they lied to me when I bought my membership?

LT GUY:  Well, you still have to pay if you want to participate.

SAM:  If I can’t trust people here to mean what they say, I’m going to cancel my membership.

Resolved to see the manager and get my money back, I headed to the locker room.  Changed to my street clothes.  Found an isolated spot in the hallway.  Then, called my wife to make sure she was OK with me dropping out.  About 20 minutes had transpired since I’d fled from the Challenge desk.  I’d reached my wife by phone and was explaining the situation, when who should appear, looking flustered and sheepish?  LT GUY.

Good for him.  He had made a beeline to the new member manager to discuss my dismay.  Fortunately, they confirmed that the Challenge was free for recent sign ups.  Unfortunately, they hadn’t communicated this to the Challenge people.  For 20 minutes, LT GUY had been searching high and low to find me. He related the good news.  We kissed and made up.  Well, figuratively kissed.  I’m now formally signed up and weighed in for my first 60 Day Challenge.

At Lifetime, FREE means FREE, after all.  What a happy ending.

Obey Doesn’t Always Mean Obey

How much emphasis at church is placed on obedience?  Like always.  Every Sunday.  Almost every lesson.  Almost every class.  It’s even said that obedience is the first law of heaven.

Like the experience at Lifetime, I’m finding out that Obey doesn’t always mean Obey.  Sometimes it means disregard, dismiss and disobey commandments from Jesus.   That’s not what I signed up for.  At baptism, I promised to keep the commandments.  Every Sunday, I promise again to keep them.  In the temple, I promised to obey the law of God.  Never have I my covenants included the stipulation that I could blatantly disregard & disobey select laws of God.

Yet, that is exactly what we are doing as a church.  “All things in the church MUST be done by common consent.”  That means that the rank and file members are commanded to approve or disapprove callings, revelations, policies, and any other thing that affects the membership.  We are doing the callings all right.  But, nothing else!!!

To me, obey means obey.  And I’m talking about obeying Jesus here.  Like at Lifetime, I could simply threaten to leave the church and talk it over with my wife.  But the big difference is that Lifetime is owned by someone else.  On the other hand, this is MY church.  It’s the Church of Jesus and of the Latter-day Saints.

I have put hundreds of thousands of dollars into it.  Tens of thousands of hours of service.  I’ve even put my blood into it–my wife, children and grandchildren.  I could ask for my money back.  But, why do that when this is MY church?

Nope.  I’m making obey mean obey.  Not disregard, dismiss, and disobey.

I know of 313 other good members who have decided to put life back into Christ’s law of consent.  It takes guts to follow Jesus.  I know many would like to express their true opinions when general voting is called for…but can’t.  And they have good reasons.  Most involve fear.  That’s OK.  But, I also know that there are thousands who would abide by common consent if they were aware of it, knew it was a real option, and knew that there are other members voting in disapproval.

April General Conference is just a month away.  I’m making another appeal to consider following Christ and living the law of common consent.  Jesus has given the members a voice.  We should be using it.  During October 2016 conference, 242 voted opposed all over the world.  A record breaking event.  This April at least 314 have already expressed their intentions to vote disapproval.  It will be another record.

If you are opposed to our disobedience to common consent.  If you are opposed to policies that have never been presented to the body of the church for ratification, consider adding your name to the Common Consent Register HERE.  You are no longer alone.  You can see the names of the intrepid 314 HERE.

In the church, Obey doesn’t mean Obey….yet.  Only we, the membership, can make it so.

My fellow church members…Let’s live by the Law of God…the Law of Common Consent.

Other Resources

  • Common Consent Scriptures & Doctrine, click HERE.
  • Common Consent Register—A Record of Those Who Disapprove, click, HERE.
  • Do We Love Jesus Enough?, click HERE.
  • The Only True Hope for The Only True Church, click HERE.


11 thoughts on “Free Doesn’t Always Mean Free

  1. Sam – its obvious that u have feelings for the church and its restoration- your hanging on to this common consent is a exercise in futility and as they say in the south – your really wistiling dixie !!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Integrity?? How about your testimony?? How can u stay in good standing when u go against the leaders of the church?? You have gone overboard with the direction your taking!! Still think your whistling dixie – you have quite a following- your more into that than the church- sorry but i think your on your way out

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Gerry,

    How is obeying the commandments going against the leaders of the church? How is following Christ’s mandate of common consent going against the leaders of the church? How is keeping my temple covenant to obey the Law of God going against the leadership of the church? I’m supporting the leadership in just the way Jesus intended. I’m giving them my honest opinion when they ask. They have been commanded to ask. However, they are not living the commandment fully. Christ said that ALL things MUST be done with the consent of the members. Not doing that is in direct violation of a commandment from the namesake of the church.

    My question to you is how can you and most other members remain in good standing with Jesus Christ if you don’t care enough about his commandments to give them a second thought? My interest is being in good standing with the Savior. He tasked us all to participate in the governance of the church. How cool is it going to be when we get to heaven and Jesus asks why this commandment was not followed. Will he point out that much or our history and doctrine had to be disavowed and condemned because we ceded our voice to the leadership? Our racist doctrine, practice, and teachings were put into place by men…not by God. They lasted for over 160 years. The racist theories of the past are still embedded deep in the older generations minds and hearts. Why? Because none of our leaders will stand at the pulpit and outright tell us that our former prophets were wrong. We’ve condemned and disavowed their racism. But, not out in the open. That’s wrong Gerry. The membership was never asked to ratify racism. According to Christ’s law it should have been. The longer we disobey this commandment, the deeper in trouble we are going to get. I’m not going to get in trouble…not with Jesus.

    How can I stay in good standing you ask? Well maybe I can’t. Maybe it’s inappropriate to obey some of God’s laws. At least in the eyes of men. But, in the eyes of God, I’m confident he’s got my back when I’m at least making the attempt to follow his mandates.

    How have I gone overboard? In the last conference, Pres Monson encouraged us to learn the commandments and then go help others follow them. That’s exactly what I’m doing. You refer to my following. Well maybe Pres Monson would be happy about that since he instructed me to help others follow the commandments.

    You think I’m on my way out. You know, it’s not easy staying in the church these days. Not because of our good teachings. Not because of the good people. Not because of all the value I see in it. It’s difficult to stay because if you act or say anything out of line with some arbitrary standard you are judged and hushed. Do you know why I started my blog? Because I was told to shut up at church: I was forbidden to talk about our history, doctrine or current policies at church. Don’t you see the silliness in that? It’s ridiculous. What are we protecting ourselves from? Gerry, it is not sustainable to have all this new information and bury our heads in the sand. Even you should see that our lessons are exercises in patience. The same old tired subjects. People tire of that and leave. If they don’t leave—what a waste of their time. And we have ZERO say in what our lesson topics are going to be.

    We have the truth. We are acting like we don’t. I’m not a child. I won’t tolerate being treated like a child. Like Paul, I’ve finally given up childish things.

    My testimony? It’s odd it would be questioned. It’s stronger than it’s ever been before. Strong enough to stand up and obey Christ. Even when I receive withering flack for it. Strong enough to stand up for the church that I still love. Even though it has resulted in gossip, backbiting, judgment and shunning. If I didn’t have a testimony, if I didn’t love Christ, if I didn’t have a fondness for the church, I’d be outta here. But I have all those things. So I stay. Over the past 2 1/2 years I’ve gone through an excruciatingly painful, gut wrenching and lonely faith transition. Fortunately, it’s landed me on more solid ground than I was on for my entire life.

    Gerry, my friend, I invite you to consider the Law of Jesus, the law of common consent. We talk about restoration. Well, This was part of the restoration. We talk about Joseph Smith being a prophet and receiving revelation. Well,here’s a prophetic revelation given by Christ to the prophet.

    It doesn’t do the church any favors to turn away from this law from God.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re going to make my own blood pressure rise, Sam!

    There was so much in the church like this. Translated doesn’t mean translated when the Book of Abraham doesn’t match Joseph Smith’s claims. Seen doesn’t mean seen when all of the sudden the Book of Mormon witnesses admit to not actually seeing it with their physical eyes. Doctrine like Adam-God or the spiritual deficiency of blacks suddenly isn’t doctrine when church leadership realizes it’s causing major problems a century later. True suddenly doesn’t mean true, it means “well-meaning.” Eternal principles aren’t eternal, the Urim and Thummim are now a rock in a hat, and some backwater farmers were able to deceive the supposed Prophet-King of the World with some copper plates with a bit of dirt rubbed on them. Plain and simple truths suddenly aren’t plain, or simple, or true.

    But I’m the one who’s unfaithful when I decide I’ve had enough of the deceit. My parents failed in raising me because I didn’t “doubt my doubts” – whatever the shit that actually means, because in practice it means “you should believe the church is always true despite whatever inconsistencies or falsehoods previously taught. I wanted to sin, or I was offended, not that a narrative that historically required so many edits to be “true” is still not “true.”

    Unlike your story where the employee was sent to offer you redress, there is no such remediation in the LDS church. There is no official LDS attempt at apologetics – instead, we are fed far-fetched “explanations” by the likes of FAIR who must assume we are mentally deficient when presenting their arguments – and by having no official explanations for the multitude of theological and historical inconsistencies, the LDS church can continunally skirt the issue and accuse doubting members of being unfaithful servants. Not only do we not get remediation, we get the same tired crap every General Conference by leaders who could take the time to make a real difference. Instead, we get douchebags like Brett Nattresses who blame parents for their kids finding out about the truth: “Too bad you’ve lost them for eternity – maybe you should have had a little more scripture study.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yep. We got problems. My fix is to just follow the teachings and example of Jesus. So grateful that common consent is attributed to Him just like the good Samaritan is.

      Thanks for weighing in. I always am enthralled as I read your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The church is like a human body which is susceptible to illness just as our bodies are. In our bodies, cancers can show up due to unknown reasons and occasionally they can be attributed to some past activity. Sometimes, symptoms and illness cause us to find the cancers, and sometimes they are found without any symptoms. Once identified, treatment can begin to hopefully heal the illness. The longer the delay in treatment the harder it becomes to cure the cancer.

    In the church today there are cancers that have been in existence for a long time while others are newly developing. The leadership of the church has known of some of the cancers for a long time, and rather than try to address and treat the cancer they withheld information from the membership and have tried to ignore that any illness is present. The longer they ignore the problem, the chance of recovery is greatly diminished. Sadly, the leadership continues to ignore the illness and need for treatment.

    Sam is trying to bring about healing and recovery. I don’t see that his testimony is in question. He’s not preaching any false doctrine. A large population of church members want to pretend there is no illness and that if not discussed will heal on its own. This is the fallacy that causes the divide that exists in the church today. Why should Sam’s or any members good standing be in question when only trying to begin a dialogue that will lead to a cure? Sadly, many believe that if you’re not in lock step with the leadership, you are the cancer that needs to be eliminated. Christ is the physician and I think he knows where the real cancers are. As Sam has stated, we are not children and are capable of open honest dialogue. It’s often stated that faith without works is dead. I think it can also be said that faith without dialogue is dead.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Roy,

      Thanks for your eloquent analogy. Precisely the way I see things.

      “Faith without dialogue is dead.” Forbidding dialogue has killed the faith for tens of thousands of members. It continues to kill every day.

      Liked by 1 person

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    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Tertchantasulig,

      Thanks for the wonderful and kind words about originality. I think you are the first to make that observation. You are awesome, my friend.


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