Thomas S. Monson is My Hero

thomas-s-monson

Every 6 months the Mormon Church holds a general conference.  It’s broadcast to the world.  Featured speakers include the Twelve Apostles and other general authorities.  Words from the current prophet are always the highlight.  Thomas S. Monson fills that role today.

He has a special place in my heart.  When I was just 9 years old, ‘Tommy,’ became an apostle.  He has been an influential figure my entire life.  Many of his conference addresses are remembered with fondness.

During the April & October 2016 conferences I feel like his instructions were directed straight at me.  I…LOVED…THEM!!!

April 2016

President Monson’s talk was entitled “Choices.”  A timely topic indeed.  For the previous 2 years, I had worked to come to terms with troubling new information about my religion.  My choices were finally coalescing.  I describe my journey here.  The prophet’s talk  lasted a short and powerful 5 minutes.  These are the potent words that penetrated my heart.

“May we maintain the courage to defy the consensus.”

The day before this talk, for the first time in my life, I had defied the consensus by voting OPPOSED.  Now….here’s the prophet inspiring me to “maintain the courage to defy.”  Yes!!!  Six months later, I now know just how difficult it is to defy the consensus.  It’s a huge help to have the words of President Monson at my side.

“May we ever chose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.”

For months, I had weighed in my mind…obey my temple covenants…obey the law of God…speak up for “the least of these”…..OR……stay silent.  The prophet was giving me support to choose the “harder right.”  The “wrong” would have been so much easier.

“If we choose Christ, we will have made the correct choice.”

This lodges a tear in my eye.  In February 2016, I made the conscious and fateful decision to put my faith in the teachings and example of Jesus Christ.  Well, I gladly accept the confirmation and validation that Pres. Monson so gently & forcefully pronounced.

October 2016

By the time the prophet spoke in the October 2nd Sunday morning session, I had voted disapproval at ward , stake, and 2 general conferences.  I had also thoroughly examined my temple covenants and the Law of Common Consent.  President Monson’s words resonated with overwhelming confirmation.

“Learn, search and pray.  We need to know God’s laws and live them.”

For months, I had been learning, searching and praying.   My very purpose was to know and understand the law of God.  Now…here’s the prophet giving the injunction to “live” what I have learned.  The Law of Common Consent IS God’s law.  I am determined to live it.

“We are blessed to have the truth.  We have a mandate to share the truth.  Let us live the truth.”

Amazing.  Simply amazing.  THIS…IS…MY… HERO!!!   Just this year, I have discovered the truth of how Jesus wants his church to be governed.  And now, I have a MANDATE to share it!  Oh my gosh!  Six days before President Monson pronounced these words, I had created the Common Consent Register.  Perhaps a clumsy attempt to share Christ’s truth.  Never-the-less, my hero has now given me a “mandate” to share.  Share away I will.

Thank you, President Monson.

Russell M. Nelson

This man is an apostle in the LDS church.  Not just any apostle.  He’s the senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve.  As such, he’s in line to replace President Monson at his passing.  Listen to his profound prescription to deploy real joy in our lives.

“Every day that we keep our covenants and help others to do the same, joy will be ours.”

Initially, I was nervous about sharing my understanding of temple covenants, explaining common consent, or openly encouraging others to live it.  If I had known in advance what Elder Nelson was going to say at conference, all my jitters would have evaporated long ago.  Well…they’ve certainly disappeared now.

Thank you Elder Nelson

What Now?

First

Consider the awesome and mounting support for Common Consent.

  • The law of God is on the side of common consent. In fact, it…is…the…Law.
  • The laws of God have the obvious backing of President Monson and Elder Nelson.
  • The prophet and his successor encourage sharing and helping others live the law of God.
  • 259 courageous friends have publicly committed to live the Law of Common Consent.  Note that about 1/3 of the names show up as anonymous.  They are real people with real names.  At present, they have selected the option to not have their names viewable.  Unfortunately, living the Law of Common Consent is not totally safe in our current church culture.  This must and will change.  After all, it was Jesus Himself who mandated that “ALL things MUST be done by common consent in the church.”
  • Even my family is supportive. My sweet wife has joined me in voting disapproval.

Second—And This is HUGE!!!

If you are a member & if you are opposed to policies that have NEVER been put to the vote of common consent….consider voicing your opinion now.

Jesus loves and values your views enough to formally request that you voice them several times every year.  To me, the Law of Common Consent is one of the most gorgeous examples that our Savior respects and treasures our capacity to think and make decisions.  We truly are citizens in the kingdom of God.  We just need to start living the law of citizenry.

There are no more voting conferences in 2016.  In the meantime, you can record your intentions by registering your name HERE on the Common Consent Register—A Record of Those Who Disapprove.

Thank you, my friends.

Links

Information on LDS.ORG regarding Common Consent, click HERE.  Please take note of 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.”

Scriptural information about Common Consent click, HERE.

Disturbing membership Trends, click HERE.

Do We Love Jesus Enough to live Common Consent, click HERE.

The Only True Hope for The Only True Church, click HERE.

My personal sadness over my friends and family leaving, click HERE.

Common Consent Register—A Record of Those Who Disapprove click, HERE.

Citizen or Subject?

One Vote

What is my status in the LDS church?  Am I a citizen or a subject?

I’ve always enjoyed the scriptures and have read the LDS canon many times.  It all started when I was a young kid.  My mother presented me with my very own bible.  Originally, it had been a gift from my Godmother, the day I was born.  I loved that bible.  Just opening it released a rich leathery fragrance, never to be forgotten.  Except in fairy tales, I had never heard of a Godmother.  With this magical title engraved on the cover, my enchantment with the holy word was compelling at a very tender age.

Fast forward to the present.  I have new favorite scriptures.  Not a new printed volume. Favorite verses.  Verses that I’d never fondly connected with before.  Presenting a trio of my new precious passages:  1 Ephesians 2:19, D&C 28:13 & 124:144.

3D’s

The two polar extremes in organizational governance might be described as Democracy vs. Dictatorship.  I’m going to designate a person’s status as citizen in a democracy and as subject in a dictatorship.  When weighed between these two D’s, where does my church stand & what is my status in it?  Of course, I recognize that each bullet is very incomplete.  Below, Denomination refers to the LDS Church.

Who chooses the leaders?

Democracy:        The people.

Denomination:  The leaders, claiming divine selection.

Dictatorship:      The leaders, often claiming divine selection.

Freedom of Speech?

Democracy:        Protected by law and venerated by its citizens.

Denomination:  Not towing the faith promoting line appears to be prohibited.

Dictatorship:      Not allowed, unless it tows the party line.

Criticism?

Democracy:        Freedom to dissent and criticize is protected.

Denomination:  “It’s wrong to criticize leaders of the church, even if the criticism is true.” –Dallin H. Oaks.    People are supposed to believe and obey.

Dictatorship:      None tolerated.  People are supposed to believe and obey.

Rank?

Democracy:        In theory, all have equal value.

Denomination:  In theory, all are alike unto Christ.

Dictatorship:      Everyone is inferior to the dictator and privileged class.

Opposition?

Democracy:        A vital and signature characteristic.

Denomination:  “Questions are honored but opposition is not.” –Dallin H. Oaks 

Dictatorship:      Not even the slightest is tolerated.

Citizen or Subject?

I’m not exactly sure how the church fares on the democracy vs. dictatorship line-up.  If Democracies have citizens and dictatorships have subjects, the points above do not make a clear case for what my status is in the LDS church.

Which brings me back to my new favorite scriptures.

Ephesians 2:19.  “Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.”

YESSSSS!!!  I’m taking this literally and at face value.  If ever there was a scripture to “liken unto me,” at this time in my life, this is it.  I’m not a lower class citizen, but a fellow citizen with ALL the saints, i.e. all members of the church.  Are the apostles members?  Of course.  So, I’m a “fellowcitizen” with the highest leaders.  For me, that’s chock full of potent meaning.  I am a CITIZEN!

Responsiblities—The Law of Common Consent

In my chosen denomination, the Mormon Church, a wonderful and weighty responsibility is given to its citizens by Jesus Christ, himself.

D&C 28:13  “For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.”   Beautiful, strong and solemn language!

All things.”  That doesn’t leave much wiggle room.  “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.”  -D&C Student Manual, Section 26: The Law of Common Consent,  LDS.ORG

“Must.”  Wiggle room dwindling.  Sounds like a commandment.  Sounds like I, and the leadership, should embrace this “law” with sobriety and thoughtfulness.

“By common consent.”  Not by consent of the leaders.  By common consent of the common—the Fellowcitizens.  That includes me.  A citizen, not a subject.

Consider this quote from John H. Widtsoe:  “When the church or any part of it does not function for the good of man, it fails to function properly and corrective measures should be undertaken.”  Elder Widtsoe’s comment implies that the church can “fail to function properly.”  As a citizen, I play a vital part in church governance.  A sobering responsibility it is . . . to seriously consider my role in encouraging “corrective measures to be undertaken.”  The power that Jesus has graciously and wisely entrusted to the citizens of the “Household of God” is the authority to vote.

How is Common Consent Collected?

My absolute favorite scripture:  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.”

Jesus had just given to Joseph Smith a long list of names for various offices.  He then commands Joseph to take these names to general conference for approval or disapproval.  This is certainly not a dictatorship.  Jesus has instituted a system of approval/disapproval by means of voting in conferences.  Even the names that He, Himself, has chosen and designated by direct revelation, are to be voted upon.

Why my favorite scripture?  This verse tells me just how much the Savior values my opinion, values me as a person, and trusts me as a fellowcitizen.  Jesus wants me to be an active part of the governance of His church.  Unlike democracy, I don’t select the leaders.  Like democracy, I am expected to vote my approval or disapproval.  This puts into living practice a principle revealed in the Book of Mormon.  “It is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right.” (Mosiah 29:26)

In my church, I Am a Citizen not a subject!