Punished for Voting Opposed

PunishmentThis is a Message to My Kids

If you ever choose to vote in disapproval and are threatened with punishment, I have your backs and so does Jesus!!!

Today, friends of mine voted opposed in their ward conference.  The immediate response from the bishop was, “I guess I’ll be needing your temple recommends.”

That’s an open threat of punishment.  Stripping them of their rights to participate in the highest order of our church ordinances.  Denying them the blessings of temple service.

This makes me very, very angry.

Obedience is the First Law of Heaven?

Jesus never said that.  His first law is gentle, gorgeous and magnificent:  Love thy neighbor as thyself.

However, obedience is constantly drummed into church messaging.  OK.  If obedience is at the top of the list, why threaten and punish this couple for their obedience?  For expressing their honest opinion in the manner that Christ has ordained?  They are obeying the law of consent.  Jesus himself made this a prominent commandment of the restoration.

But…the church is disobeying its own law of governance.  And then…threatening those who chose to obey.  What irony!  What hypocrisy!

Yeah…I’m Angry

So, should sustainings be announced with the following threat?

“Any opposed by the same sign. And if you give that same sign at this time, you will be punished. Your temple recommend will be confiscated, you will be denied access to the temple, banned from its privileges and blessings, and you will be treated as a pariah in our midst.”

This makes me so angry. It’s throwing Christ’s law right back into His face. Why don’t we just open the scriptures to D&C 28:13 and spit on it. Then D&C 26:2, spit on it. Then D&C 124:144, spit on it. Then D&C 121:39, spit on it twice, rip it out, burn it and fling the ashes to the wind.

Something is Very Rotten In Denmark

Sorry, Denmark.  Blame it on Shakespeare.  Something is rotten in the church administration.

To Church Leaders

  1. Resist unrighteous dominion.  The scriptures warn us that this will be an always-present temptation for you.  Common Consent is meant to help control it.  Our obedience to this law is meant to help and support you.
  2. Don’t make threats when we follow Jesus.


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.


The Man Adam–A Moral Duty to Stand for Truth



In the October 2016 General Conference of the Mormon Church, one man voted opposed in the Conference Center.  You can read his miraculous story here.

At this point, he still prefers to remain anonymous.  So, I have been referring to him as ‘The man Adam.’  He is an active, faithful member of the church.  Adam currently serves in a calling that requires high council approval and is extended by the stake president.  Today he sent me this excellent essay and gave me permission to publish it on my blog.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Blind Obedience vs. Open-eyed Servants of Jesus Christ

I had an interesting experience in Sunday School the other week. For years, I have heard on occasion the question raised of whether Mormons are guilty of just blindly following our leaders, i.e. if we practice blind obedience. On every occasion, the answer was no. We don’t believe in blind obedience. We believe in obtaining a witness for ourselves of the principle in question. After all, Joseph Smith, Jr. once said, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves” (John Taylor, “The Organization of the Church,” Millennial Star, Nov. 15, 1851, p. 339). But I was very surprised on a recent Sunday when the question of blind obedience came up, and the group agreed—without argument to the contrary—that we do indeed believe in blind obedience.

It seems the controversy over the November 2015 anti-gay policies has got many of us thinking. Some of us do not take an interest in such issues and are pretty much unaware of the details of the policies and their potential sticking points. Others have read the policies and find them to be consistent with church doctrine. Still others have familiarized themselves with the policies and identified some issues, but have chosen—or felt guided by the Spirit—to put those concerns on a mental/spiritual shelf and follow blindly. I have actually had many people tell me things like, “just be patient” and “just put it on a shelf and decide not to worry about it.” But there are others of us—a fourth group—who feel compelled by the Spirit to object. We feel a moral duty to stand for truth.

To many, the moral duty to stand for truth is equivalent to standing with the prophet and the other apostles on the issue of traditional marriage. But to some, the moral duty to stand for truth means to stand in opposition to policies that we clearly see are harmful, unnecessary and against the scriptures. We are not—as many, including Dallin Oaks, have suggested—following after false gods in the wilderness (“No Other Gods,” General Conference, October 2013). Our motivation is not a desire to follow the trends of the world or to seek the world’s approval. Rather, we seek to be true to our understanding of God’s nature, Jesus’ teachings and our commitment to be his servants—not blind servants of the church or its leaders, but open-eyed servants of Jesus Christ.

It used to bother me a lot when I would encounter people of other faiths who did not affirm the teachings of their leaders. For example, I know many Catholics who consider themselves to be fully practicing and in good standing in their church, but who also reject many core teachings of the church that are affirmed by the Pope. These include teachings on birth control, divorce, etc. I feel that now that I have had the experience myself of disagreeing with my church’s leaders, I have a clearer, more mature understanding of the dynamic that exists between church leadership and church members, and that the seemingly simple answer of “just accept and follow” simply cannot work in every case.

As I have learned about LDS church history, I have encountered similar problematic situations where people objected and often separated from the church due to disagreements. I read with dismay how David Whitmer—whose testimony of the Book of Mormon was unshakeable—was driven out of the church, because he objected to issues such as the manner of church governance, the publishing of revelations, and the office of High Priest. I wondered at how so many church members, including the prophet Joseph’s own wife and children, could choose to reject Brigham Young and his version of Mormonism that held polygamy as a central tenet and a practice necessary for exaltation in the highest degree of heaven.

As I learned about other Latter Day Saint tradition groups, I found similar issues. I was again dismayed as I learned about how so many people left the RLDS church in the 1980’s and 1990’s over issues such as the ordination of women to the Priesthood, the building of the temple in Independence, MO, the move away from the President of the church being a direct descendant of Joseph Smith, Jr., and the change ofthe RLDS church’s name to Community of Christ. Interestingly, I even have a Community of Christ friend who left her church due to its being overly liberal and accepting gay people in its congregations and ordaining them to the Priesthood. This is the exact opposite of my own situation as a member of the LDS church. So, why can’t all these people just suck it up, listen to their leaders and get with the program? Well, it’s just not that easy. We feel our consciences, and even the very Spirit of the Lord, instructing us to stand for the truth we clearly see.

So many have left the LDS church in recent years over the issues of the church’s anti-gay agenda, as well as problems of history and truth claims. And yet, people like Sam Young, myself and many others are staying. I wish to assert again very strongly that we are not motivated by a desire to follow the trends of the world or to find the approval of the world. This is simply a false assumption. What we are trying to do is pull off something that many—as referred to above—have failed to do. We are trying to remain in our faith tradition while being faithful to the truth we clearly see. We are trying to manage complex conflicts between our commitments to an institutional church, an historical church, our fellow saints, our own selves, and the Lord himself. The advice to just put these conflicts on a shelf and follow along in blind obedience simply will not work in all cases. And so the question is, is there room in God’s church for the likes of us? I really, sincerely hope so.