If I Don’t Dissent…I Consent

image

In 1967, I graduated from Central Davis Jr High School.  Life’s next great adventure began 3 months later.  My memorable high school years were about to begin as a proud Layton Lancer.  Like most kids, I was a bit intimidated.  Nervous and super excited.  Of course, I would be reunited with my school friends again.  However, the real draw of those high school years were the girls. I was shy and wouldn’t start dating for good while.  But, that’s a happy story for another time and place.

Gym Class

I have one BIG regret that has dogged me all these years. Perhaps, with this post I will finally shake some of my shame.

The unfortunate event, that still brings tears to my eyes, occurred during my 9th grade gym class…in the locker room.  My locker was located in the same row as Rulon’s. There are very few individuals in this world who ALWAYS have a smile lighting up their face.  I don’t recall ever seeing Rulon without his amazing smile brightly beaming.

Rulon was “retarded.”

Today, that’s not a proper way to refer to the mentally disadvantaged.  That’s just the word we used back then.  All of his classes were special education, except for gym. Kids will be kids, boys will be boys and that means constant teasing. Rulon was a constant and convenient target.  A target of pure innocence.  Perhaps he didn’t understand.  I’m afraid he did.  But, somehow his smile remained immutable.

Rulon, I’m So Sorry

Then, one day……..I struggle putting this in writing.  My eyes fill with tears.  I choke back my sobs.

One day……..Oh why did that day have to happen?

One day……..it happened, just a few lockers away.  Two of my friends were teasing, then taunting, then harassing the innocently smiling boy.  They threw him up against the locker wall. I can still hear the dull thudding clank of his body against the metal. My friends roughed him up pretty well.  The evergreen smile disappeared.  Confused and distraught, he couldn’t understand what he had done to deserve such a beating.  A beating……..by friends……..among friends……..witnessed by friends.  At least, he had considered us his friends.

As for me, and several others.  No…I’ll just focus on me.  I sat there and watched. Uncomfortable and frozen.  Repulsed, and passive.  Damnit.

Rulon’s whipping concluded.  He slumped.  Gazed at the floor.  Forlorn and smileless. I sat there.  Then I turned away.  Then I left.

I raised no objection.  I offered no dissent.  I stayed silent and watched.  An innocent happy soul was hurt and harmed.  After the damage was done, couldn’t I have apologized?  Couldn’t I have reached out with words of comfort and love?  I had four years to do it.  I didn’t.

My high school career came and went.  Once in a while, I would see Rulon in the halls. I don’t recall any conversations after that fateful day.  This pure and radiant boy was never the same.  That gym class had changed him.  Skittish.  Jumpy.  Confidence and trust in friends tarnished and tattered.

Many times, I’ve thought of my locker room failure.  I’d like to personally tell him I’m sorry.  But that chance is long gone.  The boy with the ceaseless shining smile is no more.  He died young….decades ago.

Today, I realize that I was complicit with my silence. By not standing for my friend, I gave my consent. By not speaking for my friend, I offered my consent. By just staring at my friend, I granted my consent.

The meek and lowly Rulon was among the “least of these,” of whom Jesus taught us to be mindful.  Failing one of the least, has taught me a mighty lesson. If I don’t dissent…I’m giving my consent.

Today, Rulon, I Stand For You

I’m no longer in high school.  I’m a man, fully grown.  No more consent with silence. Which only gives harm license.  Not in anger or haste.  This time I’ll think & take action.  Not live in disgrace.

I DISSENT, my friend Rulon, I DISSENT.

Where and how am I dissenting?  The answer’s HERE.  267 of us standing together.

If you are a member of the LDS church.  If you oppose policies that have never been approved by the membership.  Consider standing up for those who can’t fight for themselves.

Dear Bishop and Stake President…


imageFor those Voting Opposed In LDS General, Stake & Ward Conferences

Policies, major decisions, and other things that affect the lives of the Saints, are MANDATED to be presented for a vote at conferences.  Today, this law is not being followed.  As a result, I have decided to vote in disapproval (opposed) to the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles.  They are solely responsible, both for the church policies and for the mismanagement of not putting crucial matters up for a vote.

If you are disposed to vote disapproval, I recommend an email communication be sent to your local leaders informing them of your vote.  This should be sent around the time of the conference in question.  Personally, I think it’s best to vote with our HAND during the conference and then to send the email.  However, sending the letter without attending the session, is a perfectly fine and honorable choice.

I also recommend that you sign the Common Consent Register—A Record of Those Who Disapprove.

Email Examples

Following are examples of e-mail communications that can be sent to your local leaders.  Feel free to use for ideas, templates or outright copying.

Simple

Dear Bishop_____ & President_______,

At General Conference today, I voted opposed when the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles were presented.  I’m not necessarily opposed to these men serving in their respective callings.  However, they have introduced polices of which I  firmly disapprove.

I would be happy to discuss details of my concerns with you.

Please register my disapproving vote through whatever channel the church uses with respect to the law of common consent.

The church does much good.  I believe it can be much better.  Jesus has commanded the church leaders to ask for my opinion 4 times a year.  I have prayed, searched and pondered . . .  a lot!!  For many reasons, I believe and feel that it’s important to my Savior that I give a true and honest opinion when asked.

Thank you for your unselfish service to the Lord and the members in our area.  I know that you spend countless hours in your calling.

All My Best to You and Your Family,

Detailed

Dear Bishop_____ & President_______,

At General Conference today, I voted opposed when the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles were presented.  I’m not necessarily opposed to these men serving in their respective callings.  However, they have introduced polices of which firmly I disapprove.

In the recent past, a new policy was announced regarding children of married same-sex couples.  I disapprove of excluding these children from the blessings of the gospel.  Inside my heart, here’s how I’m feeling.  The policy damages families, traditional and non.  Families have been driven out of the church, both traditional and non.  Our gay children have been hurt.   There are now reports that the message this policy sends is so hurtful that suicides have resulted.  Jesus said that we will be judged on how we treat “the least of these.”  Punishing “the least of these” is wrong.  We are denying baby blessings, baptism, the Holy Ghost, the priesthood, and the temple to the “the least of these.”  That doesn’t square with the teachings and example of the Savior.  I don’t believe this is what Jesus would want done in His church.

I would be happy to discuss details of my concerns with you further, if you’d like.

Please register my disapproving vote through whatever channel the church uses with respect to the law of common consent.

Our church does much good.  I believe it can be much better.  Jesus has commanded the church leaders to ask for my opinion 4 times a year.  I have prayed, searched and pondered . . .  a lot!!  For many reasons, I believe and feel that it’s important to my Savior that I give a true and honest opinion when asked.

Thank you for your unselfish service to the Lord and the members in our area.  I know that you spend countless hours in your calling.

All My Best to You and Your Family,

Here’s The Letter I Sent

I didn’t go into detail of the policies I disapprove of, as we have already discussed them at length:

Hi _____ & ______,

Just wanted to let you know that I voted in disapproval during conference this weekend.

I am not actually opposed to the first presidency or the apostles. Since they are not putting up major policies for common consent, my opposition to those polices is expressed when sustaining those who control the process.

My two issues are common consent and the exclusion policy for children of gay couples.

I loved many of the messages at this conference. It’s the best that I can recall. President Monson may be frail, but what a powerful communication he delivered!

I haven’t made a tally, but it seemed like concern over people leaving the church was a common thread. I would prefer that this wasn’t happening. But, it gave me super validation for the path that I’m on.

The work I’m doing can be and frequently is misunderstood. Sharp criticism from both active members and those who have left the church. My entire objective is to help both those in and out.

To those in and are questioning or about to leave?  We explore options of finding ways to stay. The problem here is that most people that I talk to have already made the decision to leave. Somehow, we need to find a forum where members can discuss before they’ve already reached their conclusions.

To those who have left?  Well, here’s the problem.  We are creating an army or enemies. Enemies who know and exploit our many, and uneccessary, weaknesses. Those who have left should be our friends, not our enemies. They seek validation, connection, and healing. These are good people.

Today, there are 12.5 million inactive and former members. Our 5 million active members are vastly outnumbered. 70% of Mormons are either resigned or inactive. And…we keep creating more disaffected, disappointed and disillusioned people for the other side. Not to mention the anger that often accompanies faith transitions.

Yet, I have now witnessed these good, formerly active members respond to love, friendship and understanding. A few weeks ago, a Relief Society president and High Priest group secretary came to the Talkeria. They were looking for suggestions on how they could reach out to those who are questioning or have left. Wow! Also in attendance were 4 resigned or about to resign members. One of the “about to resigns” had been his ward’s HP group leader as recently as last March. Hidden history, doctrine, and current policies pushed him, his wife and his 4 children out. What an amazing discussion we had!!! Our “enemies” helping local leaders of the church in which they no longer believe.

Things have got to change. Our leaders in SLC know it. They are working on it. They’re in a really tough spot. Things actually boil down to what is being done in the trenches. I’m digging trenches as fast as I can.

Thanks for all that both of you are doing in service of the Savior and especially for my friends.

All My Best, Sam

Other Resources

The Only True Hope for the Only True Church

Jesus Pleads His Case for Common Consent

Do We Love Jesus Enough to…

A Resister for Disapproval (Opposition)

LDS Website on Common Consent

Final Note

I know this takes great courage.  Every step of the way can be scary.  Raising your hand alone, all by yourself?  I know it’s scary.  I’ve now done it at each conference level this year.  Big fat butterflies every time.

Sending an email to the stake president…yeah that can be real scary.  But, how scared do you think the gay children are who are still hiding in the pews?

Putting your name on a public register of disapproval…scary?   You bet.  It scared me, too, when I hit the submit button two days ago.

There are many in our midst who are at risk and cannot speak up.  We are standing up, voting out, putting our name on the line for those who cannot fight for themselves.

“May we maintain the courage to defy the consensus.  May we ever chose the harder right.”  And that’s just what we are doing here.  Standing up for the marginalized, for the “least of these,” IS a noble and just cause.

Godspeed. Godspeed.  Godspeed.

 

 

Do We Love Jesus Enough To…..

voting-opposedDo 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?

General Conference

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.

I wish you Godspeed in this vital voting opportunity.

Whizzing in the Wind

***Warning—Do not read if you are queasy about bodily fluid descriptions***

catamaran

Last week, I took my son-in-law and two young grandkids sailing.  The weather was picture perfect.  The sky was overcast, making for an uncommonly pleasant temperature.  Low humidity.  No rain.  Manageable wind speed…that wouldn’t frighten the little ones…or the big ones.

My son-in-law, Marshall, is determined to master the fine art of sailing.  Most of the day he was at the helm.  Did a great job.  As the captain, he managed everything.  The jib, the tiller, the mainsail, the commands….and even the capsizing.  That’s right, he tipped us over.  Of course, we blamed it on….Benson, our intrepid three year old passenger.  As we joked that it was all his fault, he quickly and proudly claimed the credit.  Tipping a catamaran over can be traumatic to kids with no sailing experience.  But, Benson was totally unfazed.  Bright-eyed and smiling wide, he played in the swells as Dad and Granddad worked to upright the boat.

At one point, we were about an hour away from the beach.  My little three year old grandson said to his dad, “I need to go potty.”  Dad calmly replied in almost a whisper, “Let’s use the stealth method.”  My six kids were all girls.  So, I wasn’t sure what the stealth method was.  I assumed it meant to go into the bushes.  Well, in the middle of Galveston Bay, there are no bushes.  Holding onto the windward shroud, little Benson stood up and started fumbling awkwardly with his clothes.

OK!  Now it was time for the experienced sailor to jump to the rescue.  From sad and comical experience, I know what happens when any fluid is flung into the wind.  Moving air is merciless.  It flings the fluid right back onto you and anyone else behind you.  Marshall and I were both downwind.

Before any unfortunate accident could occur, I moved the little one to the back of the trampoline on the leeward side.  Now, Benson could water the seawater without the captain and his coach being splattered.

Pissing Into the Wind

Yesterday, I met a good friend for lunch.  He’s a member of my ward (Congregation).  I really like this guy.  Have a great deal of respect for him.  He was my very first bishop  when I moved to Houston 40 years ago.

We got talking about the state of my faith and my current activities.  He was very complimentary about the Talkeria.  He feels it is a great example of following Christ’s commandments to reach out in a spirit of love and charity.  Coming from him, it meant the world to me.

But, he also had a caution.  He said this, “Sam, what you are doing, by voting opposed, is just PISSING INTO THE WIND.”  I’m not sure exactly what he meant.  But, I’m a sailor.  To me, “pissing into the wind,” brings a certain image to mind.  Not a pleasant image.  An image of bad stuff coming back at you.

Excommunication?

It turns out that this vision of “pissing into the wind” was pretty apt yesterday.  Two people, whom I love and know well, predicted that I’m going to be excommunicated.  I’d heard comments like this before, but not from anyone close.  It hit a little hard.

Now, I don’t think that I’m doing anything to warrant expulsion.  I love Jesus.  I love my church.  I have great respect for its leaders.  It saddens me that so many of my friends and family are leaving or have already left.

So, I may be “pissing into the wind.”  Unfortunate things might come back and bite me.  Never-the-less, my determination and commitment is to follow the teachings and example of Jesus Christ.  If I were be excommunicated for seeking to obey the Savior’s commandments and to keep my temple covenants…so be it.  After all, Jesus, Himself, was executed for his determination to follow the commandments of His father.

Pissing Into the Wind—The Next Steps

Saturday, October 1st, all members of the Church of Jesus Christ will have a sacred opportunity to serve the Lord and His church.  Once again, He will publicly exhibit His trust in the general church membership.  He has commanded the apostles to ask for our opinion….to ask for our approval or disapproval.  In preparation for that pivotal event, here are four steps I plan to take in the next few days.

  1. Post on my blog a call to seriously consider what each of us is going to do when this holy vote is called for.
  2. Compose an e-mail which will explain to my Stake President and Bishop why I voted the way I did.
  3. Post that e-mail here, so others can access, modify, and use, if they so desire.
  4. Compose a petition of sorts. Not actually a petition, but, more like a register.  If a person chooses to vote in disapproval, they could record it here.  It’s likely that only one name will be recorded on the register…mine.  And…that’s just peachy with me.

 

 

Jesus PLEADS His Case for Common Consent

imageFive short months ago, I decided to start living, in earnest, the Law of Common Consent.  Since then, I have discussed this commandment with many members.  I have been shocked at how few are familiar with it.  Many have never even heard of it. It’s never taught or discussed in church. Yet, it’s one of the most plainly stated laws of the restored gospel.

So, I’m going to write a few posts on common consent.  In this one, I’ll simply quote Jesus Christ.  This is His church.  Certainly, the words that come directly from Him should take precedence over those flowing from the mouths of men.

Mormonism is my religion. We consider Jesus Christ to be the Son of God. We also view Him as the God of the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon and of the Doctrine and Covenants. Here’s what Jesus has to say about the governance of His religious organization.

Old Testament

“Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee.” Jesus Christ, speaking to the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 8:7)

Commentary:  It’s hard to get more clear than this.  Hearken means to listen carefully, to listen with respectful attention.  And in this case, to follow the will of the people, even though it may not be what Jesus would have chosen.  As It turns out, God had already selected Israel’s first king.

Book of Mormon

“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. –Jesus Christ , through His prophet Mosiah (Mosiah 29:26)

Commentary:  God knows that wisdom resides in the majority.  He plainly stated exactly that, here.  Error and the danger of unrighteous dominion lie in the minority.

Doctrine & Covenants

“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.” –Jesus Christ, speaking to Joseph Smith (D&C 124:144)

Commentary:  The Lord had just revealed who he wanted called to various positions in the church.  Even though these names had come directly from Jesus, He still wanted them presented for approval or disapproval.  God values & trusts the opinion of the general membership of the church.

“And all things SHALL be done by common consent in the church.” –Jesus Christ. (D&C 26:2)

Commentary:  Revelation given to Joseph Smith in July 1830.  Only 3 months after the official organization of the church, the Law of Common Consent was affirmed.  This principle of governance was established well before the apostolic leadership was added.  They are both vital components in the administration of the restored church.

“For all things MUST be done in order, and by common consent in the church.” –Jesus Christ (D&C 28:13)

Commentary:  Here, Jesus reaffirms this essential principle of how His church is to be governed.  This time, He leaves NO wiggle room.  His words have changed from the polite “SHALL be done” to the imperative “MUST be done.”  In His words, this is to be the “order” of the His church.

“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.” –Jesus Christ, through Joseph Smith (D&C 121:39)

Commentary:  Of course, God knows the nature of men.  The great danger to those entrusted with authority is the temptation of “unrighteous dominion.”  Even mere  mortals recognize this principle.  We proclaim it in these terms, “Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Jesus has organized His church to provide accountability to His leadership.  Thus, helping to avoid unrighteous dominion and the corruption of power.  That accountability is to the general membership in the form of common consent.

Going Forward

Oh, what a glorious thing!  Our Savior, Lord and King has established His church in these latter-days.  He is pleading with His flock to follow him.  Pleading that his flock stand up, as adult fellowcitizens, and actively participate in the governance of His sacred organization. The very first revealed principle for administering the kingdom is the Law of Common Consent.

It’s time for the membership to respond to the pleas of Jesus.  It’s time that we plead Jesus’ case of common consent before the leaders of the church.

I have pled with my upraised hand in sincere and loving opposition.  Opposition to the continued disregard for the Law of God—the commandment of Common Consent.

A Transgender Human Being Makes Her Appearance

Good Samaritan2

Sometimes I struggle with the current path I’ve chosen.  I’ve taken shots from both inside and outside of the church.  Sometimes I feel like quitting.  Giving up my hopeless crappy quest.

Then a strike of lightning!  Thundering directly into my heart.  Raining tears from my eyes.

I have many gay friends and family.  But, that I know of, I have never met a transgender person.  After reading the Church’s apology “You’re not Broken–I’m Sorry,” she sought me out and sent this touching message.

“Thank you so much for the heartfelt apology. I’m very moved. You’ve hit on a heavy part of my heart. I was so confused for so long. I believed in the gospel so deeply, and it caused my self hate and shame to go even deeper. I pushed so hard against the bloom within me. I’m so thankful there are members like you, sharing and standing up for right. I hope your words will mend hearts and save lives.
Thank you.”

A transgender woman.  Lifting my heart.  Encouraging my path.  Giving me hope.

All I feel right now is this:  I love Jesus Christ. I love His teachings. I love His example.

Did Jesus really say that I can only go to HIS heaven if I love the least-of-these?  I want to go to HIS heaven.

The Only True Hope for the Only True Church

imageRating the performance of Our Apostles

Good in many areas.
Frightening in others.

Good
Membership at 15 million

Frightening
Two thirds have left the church
More are leaving EVERY DAY

Good
We have a vast missionary force
Annual baptisms in the hundreds of thousands.

Frightening
Baptisms per missionary has plummeted
Church growth rate has plummeted

Good
I’m still in the church and active

Frightening
My mother and all 5 siblings are out or very limited in activity
Many cherished friends have left

Disobedience

Here’s my take on why the church is in trouble. We are taught that obedience is the first law of heaven. When we openly disregard a plain and precious truth, given by Jesus in a very clear manner, what would we expect?  Choose the wrong and the consequences will follow.  And, they won’t be good ones.

Common Consent(CC)

One of the most beautiful parts of the restoration is the structure for the governance of the church.  Unlike many other rules and standards, the Law of Common Consent is plainly taught in our scriptures.  It is mentioned with clarity and frequency in the D&C. The purpose of this post is not to expound on CC.  That will come soon.

This vital and important law establishes a counter-balance to the power, and the temptations of power, that surround the apostles.  Today, the high leaders, as well as the general membership have relegated this Law & Commandment into irrelevancy.

The Blunt Edge

Sometimes bluntness is offensive or downright rude. But, I love my church and it’s founder, Jesus Christ, enough to be blunt. We as the membership as well as the apostles are thumbing our noses at an indispensable commandment.  We are thumbing our noses at obedience. As a result, nobody really knows if we are following God’s will or not.  We don’t know what policies or doctrines are of Christ.

Divine Plan of Church Governance

The Savior has specified how doctrine, policy, scripture, callings, and every other matter that affects the members, are to be established. Encapsulated in four simple steps, Christ’s plan bears witness of His great trust and love for EVERY member of His church.

1. The prophet is to listen to the people in all things.
2. The prophet and apostles present proposals to the people.
3. Whatever is accepted by the people is accepted by God.
4. Whatever is rejected by the people is rejected by God.

This is only happening with regards to callings.  I recognize and sustain President Monson because he was confirmed by common consent.  I accept the inclusion of the blacks in the priesthood, as it was confirmed by common consent. The exclusion of blacks was never confirmed by common consent. It was never the will of God.

Without common consent, we are left with a dictatorship.  That is not in any way, shape, or form God’s plan. We are left to the inevitability of the errors of men, subject to being led astray, justifying doing things that are wrong just because a prophet said so.

It also leaves our prophets completely open to the temptations so common to men in authority.  Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely. According to our scriptures “unrighteous dominion” almost always results when just a little authority is given. If the apostles have unfettered & unaccountable authority, what kind of risk does this pose to these very leaders?  Let alone to the church?

Jesus knew His apostles and prophets would be imperfect men. His solution was to establish the Law of Common Consent.  Disobedience to God’s law by the entire church is wreaking it’s havoc already.  More havoc is to come.

Solution or Destruction

The solution to the problems in The Church of Jesus Christ is in plain view. We as members should demand that “all things MUST be done by common consent.” We as members must consider the policies & doctrines that have not been confirmed as God’s will and weigh-in on them.

This morning, I discussed this with my wife.  She said that the challenge is that we are all so busy that we just let the apostles handle everything.  Of course, she’s right. There’s the problem.  We are so busy that we don’t care about our important place in the governance of God’s earthly kingdom.

This will ultimately result in the destruction of the LDS church.  Maybe not complete destruction.  But, the church has already been destroyed in the lives of two-thirds of the membership.  The vast majority have already fled.  More took flight during the time it took to write this article.

Where are the Good Men?

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke

Where are the good men who will do something?
Where are the good men who will demand that we follow Jesus?
Where are the good men who will demand that the church obey the law of common consent?
Where are the good men who love the church enough to stay the course, so that His church changes course?

Emotions

As I write, my eyes fill with tears.  I try to hold back the sobs.  The words I type are blurred as I cry.  Can the church of my youth, the church of my adult years be saved?  Can it be redeemed before it’s destroyed in my life and the lives of so many others?