Monday, September 14, 2009

By Common Consent

Something hit me this past Sunday while standing in front of the congregation conducting business (and thankfully, it wasn't Billy Crugan throwing soggy Cheerios again). Is it just me, or does anyone else think that it's odd to ask for a raise of hands for a consenting vote of fellow Ward members? In my many, many years at Church, I've yet to witness one hand being raised publically in opposition to a calling. Would anyone really feel comfortable these days raising a hand against a fellow Ward member, other than the small children or members with Alzheimer's? I think most members are just glad it's not them receiving another calling.

At the center of this issue is a conflict between the core ideas of common consent and that of inspiration or revelation. The Church was founded on the idea of revelation, yet introduced common consent, where , "all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church" (D&C 28:13), and "No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church" (D&C 20:65).

It seems that common consent has been basically dropped within the Church over the years. Meeting notes from early Church history show that dissenting votes were somewhat common, followed by public comment and discussion on the matter or person. Instead of the original purpose of actually asking for input into the decision, common consent has really been replaced by just a promise to sustain the leader's decisions. So, I'd propose it may be more appropriate to just ask for a raise of hands for those that are willing to support the person, and leave it at that, if that's the only culturally-acceptable result.

I think I'm going to float this one by The Brethren. Does anyone have the hotline number?


  1. IF you don't have the hotline number (or a dedicated line connected to a red phone like I have), then the brethren don't want to hear from you. Leave them alone.

  2. I've seen a hand raised once... It turned out to be the husband of the lady being called, and he was just concerned because they had gotten her name wrong, but prior to him explaining that, I think the reaction he got would have been less, had he pulled out a gun or something.

  3. David - I usually do leave them alone, with a reciprocal hope, but some things may just be worth the effort.

    Urban - Maybe I'll talk someone into raising their hand during the next sustaining, just to wake everyone up and build some excitement.

  4. Bishop, I double-dog dare you to do that.

  5. First, back in the early 70s I was in a stake priesthood meeting where several brothers opposed a motion to purchase land for a building and were taken out in the hall and it started a shouting match. Church doesn't seem to be as entertaining as it was back then. Of course, I think that was the last time I saw a call for a raise of hands on a land deal.

    In the ward I attended today (not my home ward), the bishopric member conducting didn't even call for opposing votes. Just "in favor" then sat down. So, they seem to be doing away with a call for objections.

    Oh, and also back in the 70s I remember that some feminists (those dangers to the church) were in the tabernacle and opposed the sustaining of the first presidency. This was back during the ERA hoopla. I recall that they were ushered out pretty quickly.