Five 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.
“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.
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.