We scored an "A" in our AP class, "Exercising Authority Based On Rank and Office." Our teacher deserves some credit, Master Diotrephes.
I know, it's kinda unfortunate. Who wants high marks in a subject for which Satan wrote the textbook?
"Yeah, Mom and Dad, the principal says I'll make a fine hall monitor next year. At this rate, I may just make Class President and then I'll really be able to make a difference . . . once I am in charge."
I am afraid we did not pass our course in Common Consent. But it was just an elective course, right? It's not like it was part of the Core Curriculum (like "How To Properly Use An Asterisk on People's Permanent Membership Records" and "Proper Chapel Door Etiquette During the Sacrament").
Our School Motto is "Tendunt excolantes culicem, camelum autem glutientes." That is Latin for "Strain at a gnat, swallow a camel."
Our Common Consent professor, Mr. Smith, was a fair teacher, I guess. But we aren't really sure what that class was about because we were usually absent.
That's why we received an "Incomplete" in Common Consent. We liked to skip class and go smoke behind the bleachers, getting a buzz from inhaling our own superciliousness.
I think we left our mark on this school as upperclassmen. Future generations will be able to look up and see engraved on the underside of the bleachers our legacy: "Imperio Domini et Graeco!" (Gentile Lords RULE!)
(Did I mention this is a very prestigious, exclusive school? That's why everything is in Latin.)
Now we have to enroll in Summer School if we want to graduate (to Zion). Otherwise we'll be stuck repeating the Telestial Grade again.
And we do not want to retake Mrs. Beelzebub's Home Ec class, do we?
We have a problem, my friends. A big problem, like our-National-Debt-problem-big: something so vast we just want to ignore it. Pretend like it doesn't exist.
What is the problem? Common consent.
Problem No. 1:
We don't know what "common consent" is.
Wait . . . what?
Well, the Lord never defined it. He gave us the "key term" without explaining it.
So we'll need to figure out what common consent is, like good Sherlock Holmeses.
Problem No. 2:
Whatever we decide "common consent" is, I think we can safely say that we are not even close to living it today.
Problem No. 3:
If God commanded us to do "all things" by common consent in the Church, why don't we?
Do we expect to get any closer to Zion before we start doing things by common consent?
Problem No. 4:
It appears we got some repentin' to do, pardner.
Are we under condemnation? Well, let's see . . . over the past 200 years have we sought the Lord's will regarding "common consent," hungering and thirsting after further light and truth in order to obey, pleading with the Lord for greater understanding; or instead did we forge ahead anyway, guns-a-blazing, runnin' the church by the arm of flesh like priestly robber barons?
"No common consent? No problem, Tex. Here, mix together the managerial and social practices borrowed from business, culture, law, social science, and Babylon. Voila! We're in business, boys."
Common Consent is NOT . . .
Does Common Consent refer to just the mechanical sustaining of Church Officers?
Hmmmm. Let's look at what the scriptures say.
And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen.
This revelation was given to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery -- the First and Second Elders of the Church -- soon after the church was organized in July 1830.
First things first: Are we supposed to be following these words? Or are they just aspirational?
Does the Lord say, "All things may be done by common consent" or "All things shallbe done by common consent?"
It looks like common consent is the Prime Directive of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Let's break this down:
1. Do "all things" refer to just one thing? Or do "all things" mean all things?
2. If "things" are not done by common consent in the church, then what effect do those things have? Are policies, procedures, rules, and programs that are not "by common consent" void? Unenforceable? Of none effect?
3. Does "in my church" refer to everyone? The general leadership? Local leadership?
4. What is the relationship between "common consent" and "by much prayer and faith?" Is common consent just a rubber stamp, or does it require something more of us?
5. How is common consent a sign of faith? "For all things you shall receive by faith." Does that mean when we act without common consent, we are acting in non-faith, or unbelief?
6. If we ignore or reject these words of God, what are the consequences?
Could it be we are now living them?
Is It Time to Love One Another . . . For Real?
Is it time we learn to love each other as actual brothers and sisters? Because in the place of genuine love we find control and objectification, the antithesis of common consent.
What do I mean by "objectification?" This Series, "Done by Common Consent," will take a hard look at the difference between: