I grew up in the era of Hugh B. Brown. He served in the LDS church both as an apostle and as a member of the First Presidency. From my childhood, I recall the specifics of very few talks by the apostles. But…I remember one by Elder Brown. It was the story of a currant bush growing on his farm in Canada. I won’t detail it here. The point is that he was an eloquent speaker who made a positive and lasting impression during my early years.
Hugh B. Brown was also a man ahead of his times. For example, he favored lifting the priesthood ban on black Africans. When President David O. McKay died, Brown was not retained as a counselor in the First Presidency. This had never happened before in the history of the church. It’s rumored that this unusual occurrence resulted from his support of blacks receiving the priesthood. Unfortunately, he passed away just 3 years prior to the ban being lifted.
Elder Brown’s Wisdom Lives On
Today’s apostles now condemn our past racist policies, practices and teachings. Elder Brown got it right…and years before the prophet and other apostles of his time.
So, what would he say about our current LGBT policy that was announced in November 2015. This policy dictates that lawfully wed gay couples are apostates. It further decrees that their children are to be banned from church ordinances until 3 things happen. First, that the reach the age of 18. Second, that they disavow the lifestyle of their parents. Third, that the First Presidency formally gives approval for the ordinances to be performed.
Fortunately, we know where the Apostle Brown stood on this new policy:
“Official statements of the First Presidency that have not been submitted to the membership of the church for its approval are matters of temporary policy only. Under present conditions, for example, the First Presidency may say, ‘We recommend this or that.’ But conditions may subsequently change, and when they do the First Presidency may wish to make a statement which may not be in complete harmony with a former statement. We have to keep our theology up to date by submitting everything that is intended to become a permanent part of the gospel to those whose right and privilege it is to so interpret and then by having it sustained by the people as a definite rule of the church so that all things may be done by common consent.” (Hugh B. Brown, An Abundant Life: The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown, ed. Edwin B. Firmage [Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1999], 124-125).
What a great statement buttressing Christ’s mandate for common consent!!! According to Brown:
- The gay policy can only be a temporary policy since it has not been submitted to the membership of the church for approval.
- The membership has the right and privilege to interpret what is being submitted for change.
- The membership has the right and privilege to vote on whatever is intended to become a definite rule of the church.
- All this so that “all things may be done by common consent.”
I liked Elder Brown as a child. I love Elder Brown as an adult. He views the members of the church as adults not as children. He views us as an indispensable part of church governance. We have the right and privilege to interpret and form our own opinions about church policy. Then everything must to be presented to us for an up or down vote.
According to this great apostle, the gay policy is at best temporary. It must be presented to the us, the members, for approval or disapproval.
Rights and Privileges
Where is Hugh B. Brown when we need him to declare and defend our rights and privileges?
Well, he’s dead.
What modern apostles are standing up to defend our rights and privileges as members?
So far…none are.
Then who IS going to stand up for our rights and privileges?
At this point it’s up to you and me, the rank and file members, to stand up for ourselves.
To stand up for the law that Jesus revealed as a vital part of the restored church.
To stand up for our rights and privileges as members of Christ’s church.
To stand up and for what we know to be right.
Not to stand against the apostles.
Rather, to stand with them in our quest to follow the commandments of Jesus Christ.
My fellow church members…Let’s live by the Law of God…the Law of Common Consent.