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.