1. The Lord told us, "And all things shall be done by common consent in the church" (D&C 26:2).
2. By definition, "common" means "a lack of privilege or special status; something shared by all members of a group."
3.Oddly, we seem to be going decidedly in the opposite direction, which has created some big problems for us:
(a) we are divided by status; (b) leaders'authority is treated above the Holy Ghost's; and (c) obedience to leaders has substituted for the law of the gospel (which is to love one another).
4.There are no covenants made between leaders and lay members. All covenants are between believers, and between believers and God.
5. In choosing authoritarianism over common consent, we have created a culture of "Strongmen" in which we forfeit spiritual initiative for lifeless conformity.
6.Zion cannot be established without equality, which our hierarchy makes impossible. Until we learn to live by common consent, "Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom" (D&C 105:5).
7. Spiritual communism (in which a religious ruling class dominates the body of Christ) causes us to quench the Spirit. We all have the authority and gift of the Holy Ghost -- direct communication with a member of the Godhead!
8."Keys" have conquered conscience―resulting in a spiritual life that embraces secrecy, lying, double standards, prideful counsel, preferential treatment, control, priestcraft and unrighteous dominion . . . all of which, for some reason, we want to call good.
Who's to blame for the current state-of-affairs?
We all are. We have stood by, allowing our God-given gifts, privileges, and prerogatives to be co-opted by a system that is antithetical to the gospel of Christ.
We have outsourced our spiritual accountability to those who preside over us. We have been lulled into carnal security by Babylon's appealing bribes.
What's the Big Deal?
Some may wonder, "What's the big deal if we don't operate by common consent? Can't we just keep the status-quo, letting others be in charge of our spiritual affairs, keeping our noses to the grindstone, and let the Lord sort things out in the next life?"
Good point. Who needs Zion when we already have a Magisterium? Why swim against the current? Why stand against the wind? Why witness for Christ in the midst of spiritual wickedness?
Here's a reason:
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
The most perfect prison is the one we don't know exists. The subtlest bondage is the one we falsely call freedom.
And others will the devil pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well-- and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
[And thus the devil] leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.
(2 Nephi 28:21; 26:22)
So we could lie down, letting our spiritual lives atrophy under the weight of priestcraft. Or, you know, we could awaken.
To our awful situation.
Have you heard people talking about "walking the covenant path" lately? It's everywhere! For example:
President Russel Nelson: "I say, keep on the covenant path. Your commitment to follow the Savior by making covenants with Him and then keeping those covenants will open the door to every spiritual blessing and privilege available to men, women, and children everywhere." April 2018 Ensign, "As We Go Forward Together."
Elder Dale Renlund: "When you do these things, you will follow the covenant path and qualify to 'dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness.'" October 2020 General Conference, "Do Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly with God."
Elder Ronald Rasband: "Whether you have access to a temple or not, you need a current temple recommend to stay firmly on the covenant path." October 2020 General Conference, "Recommended to the Lord."
Elder Quinton Cook: "Righteousness … qualifies us for the sacred ordinances that constitute the covenant path and blesses us to have the Spirit give direction to our lives." October 2020 General Conference, "Hearts Knit in Righteouness and Unity."
President Henry Eyring: "Heavenly Father smiles on you as well whenever He sees you help a daughter of His move along the covenant path toward eternal life." April 2014 General Conference, "Daughters in the Covenant."
. . . and there are many, many more.
*** BREAKING NEWS ALERT ***
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
THERE IS NO "COVENANT PATH" WITHOUT COMMON CONSENT.
How so? Let's find out.
Covenant to Live the Law of Sacrifice
Jesus lived the law of sacrifice by condescending to earth and becoming a man.
He sacrificed his privilege, his status, his power, his entitlement . . . and became the least among us. He showed us that we must sacrifice our desire to be the greatest, to sit in the high seats, to be praised of men, and instead we must wash others' feet as a servant.
Is the body of Christ following Christ's example by setting aside our hierarchical heresies? Are we letting go of our self-importance and authority? Are we living by common consent in the bonds of mutual brotherhood and sisterhood in Christ?
Covenant to Live the Law of the Gospel
The law of the gospel is to love God and to love one another. As Christ exemplified. By this shall all men know that we are His disciples―not based on our title, calling, or status . . . but based on our love.
What is the great sign of love? What empowers our self-determination and agency? What thrives in an environment of liberty, where individuals are treated as equals, as divine beings?
Christ hopes to exalt us, making us "joint heirs" with him.
By contrast, hierarchies refuse to live by common consent in order to keep the commoners in their "place."
Covenant to Live the Law of Consecration
There is no "Land Ho!" for those sailing toward Zion without common consent. In hierarchies, we find only "Walk-the-Plank."
The whole gospel enterprise is to become "one."
I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.
Are we currently constituted as "one?" Are we equal, as the gospel requires? Well, no, of course not! We cannot be one in a hierarchy.
And you are to be equal, or in other words, you are to have equal claims on the properties, for the benefit of managing the concerns of your stewardships, every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just--
And all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church.
Is it odd that we have all these scriptures that . . . we don't take seriously?
What is a pirate?
A pirate plunders what doesn't belong to him for profit.
Spiritual pirates, on the other hand, plunder what doesn't belong to them for profit.
See the difference? Me neither.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Gaddianton Robbers of a Different Stripe
The Chief Gaddianton Robber, Giddianhi, proposed some very reasonable terms to the Nephites (in what is my favorite textbook example of gaslighting):
I have written this epistle, sealing it with mine own hand, [see the personal touch?] feeling for your welfare, [how nice of you to care!] because of your firmness [flattery will get you everywhere] in that which ye believe to be right, [oh, just what I think is right?] and your noble spirit [ah, shucks, the greatest generation? Really?] in the field of battle.
Therefore I write unto you, desiring that ye would yield up unto this my people, your cities, your lands, and your possessions, [is that all?] rather than that they should visit you with the sword and that destruction should come upon you [you mean if I don't do what you say I'm doomed?].
Or in other words, [let's try this again] yield yourselves up unto us, and unite with us . . . [you really mean it?] and become our brethren [you do care!] that ye may be like unto us-- not our slaves, [well, of course not, silly pants!] but our brethren and partners of all our substance [wait: you're saying you'll kill me unless I give you all my stuff; but if I give you all my stuff, you'll share it with me? How generous of you!].
(3 Nephi 3:5-7)
Modern Giddianhis have learned that using the name of God is profitable. Priestcraft is big business.
They tell us, "God wants you to give me authority; here, let me take it from you; and if you do what I say, you'll be blessed, my friend."
Yikes and double yikes! What kind of horrible hypocrisy is it to promise eternal blessings to those that walk the "covenant path," while denying the very laws that God ordained for those blessings? Will a man rob God?