On September 30th, the semi-annual voting session of General Conference will be held. Since April 2016, I have voted opposed in six different conferences at the general, stake and ward levels.
The first few experiences were daunting. Three times it was just me lifting my lonely hand. Twice there were 2 of us bucking the trend. At April’s General Conference, three of us called out our opposing votes in the presence of 21,000 others who compliantly raised their sustaining hands . Fortunately, it no longer gives me pause to obey Christ’s gorgeous Law of Common Consent.
This General Conference, I plan to vote publicly. Not in the privacy of my home. Not in a chapel, where almost no one goes to watch these days. And, not in the conference center. I requested tickets. None were granted. Rather, I will be voting in plain sight….on Facebook Live.
I invite you to join me. Not necessarily in voting opposed, as I will be. But, in voting period. You can participate in 3 ways:
- Live at my office. Address: 8744 Westpark, Houston, TX. The conference starts at 3:00pm CT. Feel free to come at 2:00 and we will have a delightful little Talkeria beforehand.
- Join Facebook live on my FB page. I plan to start broadcasting at 3:00pm when the conference begins. When the sustainings are conducted, simply record your vote in the comments section.
- Add your name to the Common Consent Register–A Record of Those Who Disapprove. Click HERE for the link. This has been live for 12 months. There are now 442 members who have openly cast their vote of disapproval.
Why I’m Voting in Disapproval
- I have chosen to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Not an easy task. I love His mandate of Common Consent. By baptismal and temple covenant, I feel obligated to make the endeavor of following the Law of God. That includes obeying the Law of Consent.
- I have chosen to follow the example of Jesus Christ. Definitely not an easy task. A hallmark of His ministry was open and blunt expression of His opinion to the leaders of the religious institution of His time. By the way, Jesus was the founder of this very institution. As part of the restitution of the gospel, the Lord provided an orderly method for our opinions to be openly given to the leaders of His religious institution in our day. He called it common consent.
- I care about the church. I want it to be better. There is great wisdom to be found among the rank and file membership. God knows what He is doing. He has ordained the procedure by which the leadership is to regularly tap into the safety and insight of those who have been baptized.
My Points of Disapproval
Of course, I don’t oppose the church, the apostles or the prophet. Rather, I disapprove of various policies and major decisions that have never been presented as the Law of Common Consent dictates. I use the word disapprove as that’s the phrasing which Jesus used in the revelation found in D&C 124:144.
- Disregard for the Law of Common Consent. This is a law from God, plainly taught in our scriptures, doctrine and pronouncements by prophets and apostles. Currently, our top leadership is disobeying this commandment. And they are leading the entire church to follow that same disobedience.
- The November 2015 LGBT policy. If a gay couple gets married, a church court is mandatory. Yet, forcible rape, sexual abuse, and deliberate abandonment of family responsibilities do not automatically trigger church discipline. What kind of a message does that send? Forcible rape…maybe discipline is due. Legal and lawful gay marriage…you’re out here.
- Children of gay couples are excluded from the most important blessings of the church. Children!!! No baptism. No priesthood. No youth leadership. No youth temple trips. NO HOLY GHOST.
- Twelve month waiting penalty if marriages don’t take place in the temple. This penalty only applies in the U.S. and a few other countries. As a result, much hurt and heartbreak happen as parents suffer the humiliation of being excluded from their children’s weddings. In most of the world, marriages are held outside of the temple, allowing all to celebrate this great event. Then the sealing takes place a few days later in the temple.
- The teaching/doctrine that the prophet can’t lead us astray. I view this as one of the worst and most dangerous elements of our church culture.
- Interviews with children, alone, behind closed doors, with an untrained older man about masturbation & other sexual matters without the explicit knowledge and consent of the parents.
- Nondisclosure of financial dealings. Our finances were open for members’ scrutiny until the 1950’s.
- Meddling in politics without presenting the issues for a vote of approval.
- Keeping secret the policy manuals provided to bishops, stake presidents and seventies. How can we be expected to approve our own policies if they are hidden from us? Why is the church governed with secret statutes unavailable to its membership?
- Keeping secret the ordinance of the Second Anointing and the fact that it is taking place today in our temples. What is this ordinance? How does one qualify for it? Why is it not open to all? What does this ordinance mean for those receiving it?
- Use of the wording: Sustain or Oppose during the sustaining process. The words of Christ should be used: Approve or disapprove.
All my best wishes to everyone who votes in this conference. Whether you vote in approval or disapproval, I completely support your right and privilege as a member of the church. Your opinions are important and valid. Jesus is counting on us to express them honestly and openly.
Common Consent Scriptures & Doctrine, click HERE.
Do We Love Jesus Enough? click HERE.
Take Responsibility for Destroying the LDS Church, click HERE.
The Only True Hope for The Only True Church, click HERE.
An Apostle Speaks Up for Common Consent, click HERE.
Common Consent Register—A Record of Those Who Disapprove, click, HERE.
A Mormon Stories Podcast about Common Consent, click HERE.