Do I Really EXPECT the Mormon Church to Change?

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Short Answer:  Absolutely YES!!!

If you have followed my blog at all, you know that I have started to live the Law of Common Consent.  The church as a whole has not.  At least not as it is mandated by Jesus is the D&C, or declared as doctrine on the LDS website, or witnessed by a prophet of God before the U.S. Congress.

Over the past 6 months, I have now heard similar discouraging statements from by both those who are true-blue-believing Mormons and by members who are disillusioned.  They go something like this:

    • The Church will never implement Common Consent (CC).
    • The Church is too big to use CC.
    • The leaders will not give up their power by implementing CC.
    • We are a worldwide church and CC is not feasible.
    • CC is antiquated.

Until recently, this is how my response normally went:

 “I don’t know if the church will ever embrace common consent.  If they ever do, it may not be in my lifetime.  What I do know is that by voting in disapproval, something beautiful has already happened.  MARGINALIZED MEMBERS have taken notice.  There are people in our pews struggling in silence.  Just the act of witnessing an opposing vote has brought them hope & encouragement.  They recognize that there are members who love and care about them. There are people willing to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.  Those who struggle in silence fit in several marginalized categories.  Certainly our LGBT children are at risk.  If one gay person postpones suicide, my vote will have accomplished more than I could have ever hoped for.”

Epiphany

This weekend, an epiphany struck me with encouraging enlightenment.  A local leader posed this question, “Sam, do you really expect the Mormon Church to change regarding Common Consent?   I proceeded to give my standard response.

But, as I drove home, his phrasing rattled around my brain, “Do You really expect?”  Expect???  Well….the expressions of my expectations have been pretty low.  Was I being cynical?  Was my approach hypocritical?  Cynic?  Hypocrite?  I don’t like or want either title.

Cynical?

Webster:  “Believing that people are generally selfish and dishonest.”

I have placed my faith in the teachings and example of Jesus.  Am I being cynical by assuming his commandments would not be followed in His own Church?  Am I being cynical by not giving the apostles the benefit of the doubt; that they would be honest in following Christ’s system of governance; that they would be unselfish in acquiescing to accountability?  My reasoned conclusion was ‘Yes,’ it IS cynical to put my faith in Christ, and then not trust His leaders to start leading with His Law of Common Consent.

Hypocritical?

Webster: “A person who claims to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs.”

Well, I’m certainly not acting hypocritically.  At least not by this definition.  I believe in Common Consent and behave in agreement with those beliefs.  But…I might be hypocritical to press forward, feasting on the word of Christ, yet having little confidence that the feast will be fulfilled.

A New Answer, A New Attitude

Do I really expect the church to change and live by Common Consent?

“ABSOLUTELY!!!  This is Christ’s church.  Of course, I expect HIS church to obey HIS law. Anything else would be cynical & hypocritical on my part.

This is Christ’s church.  Of course, I expect His laws to respected.

This is Christ’s church.  Of course, I expect its leaders to acquiesce to God’s law.  They are good men.  I trust that they WILL follow Jesus.”

No longer am I alone in my expectations.  There are now 311 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have decided to openly and actively live the divine law of church governance.  To all who have put their honor and good names on the line…THANK YOU!  What you are doing is not in vain.  You have already made a difference in the lives of many.  I fully EXPECT that your courage will bring the changes to the church which the Savior desires.

If you are a member. If you disapprove of policies, major decisions and other important matters that have never been ratified by the general membership, consider embracing the Law of Common Consent. Here’s a place to start:  The Common Consent Register.

Christ is the Way.  Consent…IS…His way.

We….CAN….Change….the Church. 

 

Other Resources:

  • 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?, 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.

16 thoughts on “Do I Really EXPECT the Mormon Church to Change?

  1. Yes Sam, God expects us to follow His commandments. This is especially true with CC because power corrupts. When I realized the church spent more on the City Creek Mall (1.5 billion) than they spent on humanitarian services in 30 years (1.2 billion), it was the final straw. I turned in my resignation after a lifetime of service and joined with the Methodists where CC is common. Any Methodist who wants to can sit with our pastors and discuss our annual proposed budget and, vote yay or nay on the proposed line items. Although it’s only been a year for me, I’m thinking about proposing that they invest 1.5 billion in a mall near my worksite. Because I own the building where I work this would make access much easier for me and my family and improve property values😉

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    1. Hi Galen,

      Turned in your resignation? Best wishes on your new path. Sounds like the Methodists are living the very law that Christ has given to our church. I have heard from several people that if Common Consent were followed that they may very well have stayed.

      Thanks for reading my blog and shedding insights with your comments.

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  2. My concern is about not sustaining the brethren. I believe them to be honest worthy men that are seeking the will of the Lord. I feel an obligation to sustain them and see nothing wrong with sustaining them as I know of nothing to indicate unworthiness.

    Shouldn’t we instead seek to ask for voting on the policy changes? “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”

    Shouldn’t we raise our voice in opposition a different way? What ways have been tried? What have Bishops and Stake Presidents said? Have they gone to the first presidency on the matter? Have they gone to area authorities? If so, what have they said?

    There are blessings behind living the laws. If the church and it’s members are to gain the blessings of living the Law of Common Consent, we need the opportunity to vote on policies, etc, correct?

    I would expect that the church has records of when there has been a vote on policy, etc. Shouldn’t we as members have easy access as to what was voted on in the past? When has this been followed, and what indicates to the Brethren when it should happen? When does scripture trump policy? And shouldn’t the voice of the members be required when policy is implied over scripture? If not should the scriptures be modified to be in accordance to current policy? What comes first, the cart or the horse? The current brethren in policy or the scriptures?

    Final thought, the brethren having keys and authority, what happens if a policy is voted down? Are we as a membership in limbo with the Lord? Or did the brethren act on their knowledge and not revelation? Do members get to first hear the policy and pray about it and then accept it a week or so later? Or do we only hear about it and need to quickly vote? The brethren took their time in the matter, do the members as well?

    Are we on a slippery slope when we question the policy and not have faith in the brethren? See… https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-the-living-prophets-student-manual/chapter-2-the-living-prophet-the-president-of-the-church?lang=eng

    I feel to be in a catch 22. Heavenly Father is all about the agency of his Children to choose. Family Councils are all about dialog with all members of the family. I feel that it is a pattern of how the council in heaven was. However, we don’t see the same feedback in the church today. Which is fine, I can live with that. I expect the church will change, when the Lord returns I see a lot of things changing. Such as the Law of Consecration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Fred,

      We think so much alike that you could have written this blog post yourself.

      1) I too believe that the apostles are honest men. I am not aware of any worthiness issues. But, there is an issue that only they can correct…Common Consent. For that alone, I vote opposed. However, when the votes are counted and the sustainers win, I jump back on board and sustain them in their offices.

      2) “Shouldn’t we instead seek to ask for voting on the policy changes?” Absolutely, my friend. That is exactly where I’m at. So many problems can and have resulted because we are institutionally disobeying this commandment.

      3) “Shouldn’t we raise our voice in opposition in a different way?” Yes!!! I did just that for 18 months before I started voting opposed. There are 3 problems with looking for a different way. A) There is no alternate system set up for collecting and submitting feedback. B) The system set up by Christ in the D&C should actually be the core element…presenting callings and policies at conferences. C) Somebody has been very careful to make sure that Common Consent is not taught to the general membership. This is so WRONG! Withholding a plain and precious commandment from the people…who does that? Satan? Well, I really don’t want to place blame. We just need to move forward. Open voting brings the commandment of Common Consent out of the darkness. Gradually, understanding will spread.

      4) The individual members and the church as a whole ARE losing blessings. For 125 years, an entire race was denied the blessings of priesthood and temple. We now condemn our past racism. Yet the damage of those 125 years cannot be undone. Common Consent is Christ’s way to correct the inevitable errors of the men who at the church’s helm.

      5) If policies are voted down, they don’t just fall into limbo. They are not considered binding on the church. For example, Joseph Smith wanted to release Sidney Rigdon. He presented the release at conference. This was rejected by the membership. Sidney remained in his office.

      6) Slippery slope? We are already on the slippery slope and sliding fast. 80,000 members resigned last year. The number of resigned and inactive members is growing much faster than active membership. Many of my family and friends have left. MY MOM RESIGNED in August. How much more sliding will the members of the church endure before we start EXPECTING that Christ’s law of governance be fully embraced? Ignoring and violating this commandment does not and will not serve us well.

      Thanks for reading my blog. Based on your writing and analytical skills, you should start one, too.

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    2. ” I know of nothing to indicate unworthiness.”

      When you speak from the pulpit as a special witness of the name of Jesus Christ, and as a result or your words and your admonitions, several members of your flock take your words to heart as if spoken by Jesus, and they then loathe themselves so severely that they see the only solution is suicide . . . and then they end their own lives . . .

      ” I know of nothing to indicate unworthiness.”

      ” I know of nothing to indicate unworthiness.”

      ” I know of nothing to indicate unworthiness.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Gary,

        You’re not fooling me. I see that you are encouraging me to stay and work for change. Your agenda is working pretty well on me.

        As always, thank you, my friend.

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  3. Sam I’ll keep this short as I’m on my phone and it’s not easy to type.

    Why don’t they use Common Consent? The simple answer is THEY CAN’T. The organization is a corporation sole. Look it up. It’s run by one man. Voting by the members is not in the bylaws of the corporation.

    It’s not a church. It’s a business. They don’t give one flying fig about what the members think. Only what will keep the money rolling in.

    Or what will keep them out of trouble, as the black issue and the polygamy issue proved.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ric,

      You’ve made an important point. I am familiar with the corporate structure. Are we functionally a church or a corporation? The answer still eludes me. The only way to find out is to commit to live according to the bylaws of the church as contained in the D&C. My attitude now is that if much of the membership votes to bring about common consent, I EXPECT the apostles embrace Christ’s mandate.

      That’s my current attitude to avoid becoming a cynic and hypocrite.

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  4. Sam, I really admire your efforts to affect change, but to a large extent, I have to agree with Ric and Galen. Common Consent is ritualistic. They continue to do it because it was done in the early church and It’s a chance for members to show their unquestioning support. The leadership of the Church doesn’t care about dissent and the large majority of Church members, even those who don’t agree with everything, are not going to vote opposed. Most members like the current system and would feel awful to even allude to questioning the “Brethren”. The Leaders of this church honestly believe they have ultimate authority from God and Jesus. It’s an arrogant position, but if they believe that, why should they care what members think? In their mind, it only matters what God and Jesus think.

    There are a few things that motivate Church leadership. The first is reputation. They want so badly to be seen as a mainstream moderate organization that is in step with common American ideals. When their standing as such is threatened they act. Just look at Blacks and the Priesthood as an example. They were finally forced into taking action when the larger society started to marginalize them as a racist institution.

    The second motivation is when is when members leave or stop coming. That’s partly based on finances, but it also goes deeper. They tout this as the only true and living church. Traditionally, the Church has taken great pride in their growth rates. But now, based on slower conversion rates and the fact that so many are leaving the church, especially younger members who are more open to recognizing real truth, leadership is in crisis mode. You can tell this based on the themes of talk’s given at General Conference. They know there’s a problem, but until it gets really bad, they’re not going to change.

    In the end my question to you is why try so hard to be a part of an organization that in so many ways doesn’t represent Christianity? There are so many worthwhile Christian churches and organizations out there that do wonderful work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lance,

      The only way that the leadership will care about the votes of the members is if a sizable group of members start voting opposed with their hands. Today, there is no reason for them to take notice. With a sustaining rate of 99.9999999%, they SHOULD have confidence that they have the support of the people. Most people vote opposed with their feet. As a result, they are not terribly visible. Imagine what would happen If the 80,000 who resigned last year had stayed long enough to raise their hands in ward and stake conferences. All leadership levels would have to take notice. Sustaining members would take notice. Discussions would start. There may even be discussions in public.

      Why do I stay? Several reasons. #1 is the blood that I have firmly lodged in the church. My children, grandchildren, and sons-in-law. #2 To serve, stand and speak up for those in harms way of church policies.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My Dear Courageous Friend, Sam!

    I love your courage and spirit, Sam, but as your friend, I must comment on your statement:

    “ABSOLUTELY!!! This is Christ’s church. Of course, I expect HIS church to obey HIS law. Anything else would be cynical & hypocritical on my part. This is Christ’s church. Of course, I expect His laws to respected. This is Christ’s church. Of course, I expect its leaders to acquiesce to God’s law. They are good men. I trust that they WILL follow Jesus.”

    You wrote this statement three times in one paragraph:

    “This is Christ’s church.”

    And then this statement:

    “They are good men. I trust that they WILL follow Jesus.”

    If wishes were horses, beggars would ride, Sam. It’s a nice thought, that the COJCOLDS is somehow Christ’s church, but the unvarnished, unwhitewashed reality is that is simply NOT.

    This is NOT Christ’s church, and it’s leaders are remarkably sad excuses for good men, in zero danger of following Jesus.

    Regarding common consent, you wrote: “At least not as it is mandated by Jesus is the D&C … ”

    Sam, I am hoping that you realize that the D&C was authored by Joseph Smith, not Jesus. Jesus and His Father did not appear to Joseph Smith as depicted in the version of the First Vision the Church thinks sounded the best of the nine different versions that were created.

    When you start with a set of seriously false assumptions upon which to base your Common Consent initiative, it cannot possibly succeed.

    Instead of being a positive influence for change that could encourage marginalized members to postpone their suicide, another option is to encourage them to extricate themselves from the horribly toxic (and even fatal for some) environment altogether.

    It is NOT Christ’s church, and NO, they are not good men. Not even close, Sam.

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    1. Hi Gary,

      You are a dear friend who constantly challenges my brain to come up with a reasoned response.

      “When you start with a set of seriously false assumptions.” I don’t place any faith in my assumptions. I have decided to put my faith in only what I KNOW to be a true way to live a fulfilling, and happy life. My faith is placed in the truths contained in the teachings and example that are ascribed to Jesus Christ.

      Common Consent? Regardless of it’s origin, the LDS church ascribes it to Jesus. It appeals to me. I’ve participated in it in almost all aspects of government, in one form or another. Except in my own church. Since it is in our founding documents and credited to Christ….I’ve adopted it and am committed to living it as fully as I can.

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  6. Hi Sam: You and I don’t know each other personally – but, I love and admire you (and your tireless) efforts tremendously! I too, am one of those “hanging on by the fingernails” in my engagement with The Church. It simply has to change – or I’m going be be walking away for good; and simply focus all of my efforts on my personal relationship with Christ. Period. Love ya, Dude. Godspeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear 55,

      Wow, thanks for that wonderful validation.

      “Hanging on by the fingernails.” Man, I get that. I find it helpful to hang with others of a like mind. It turns out there are many of us. But, I am no longer hanging just by fingernails. I’m now hanging on with my hands….hands raised in disapproval until changes are made. Kate Kelley and friends were instrumental in female leaders becoming more visible. I realize that this is pretty much cosmetic. Real modifications will be made as more and more members commit to live the law of common consent.

      290 of us are now standing up in obedience to this important commandment. If you are opposed to policies and important decisions that have never been put before the general membership, consider joining us.

      Best wishes to you and your fingernails!

      Like

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