Common consent and rigged Mormon record-keeping
There is a democratic principle in Mormonism, known as the law of common consent. “Callings” to positions in the LDS Church are made by authorized leaders and then brought before appropriate Church congregations to be sustained or opposed. Church members do not nominate persons to office, but are asked to give their sustaining vote by raising their right hand in agreement, or they may give an opposing vote in the same way.
It appears members exercise their “free agency” when they accept or reject names, but this function is more or less perfunctory. Mormon congregations have been intimidated into conformity. Members are expected to sustain names presented to them, based upon the assumption that these names have been chosen by Church leaders who represent God.
There are times when common consent becomes a figment of the imagination. Acts of protest by members against Church leaders — especially acts of protest in opposition to a group of LDS officials — are viewed as rebellion and will not go unpunished. The issue is always seen as disobedience. There are no structural safeguards against the abuse of Church members who question. Protesters will be accused of not sustaining LDS leaders.
In June 1976, I attended a Sydney Australia South Stake conference, with seven other adult Mormons, to vote in opposition to the stake presidency and stake high council. The LDS officials, whom I voted against, had been responsible for the excommunications of four men — all devout Mormons — in 1975. Before the stake conference, I had interviewed about a dozen key witnesses and became convinced the accused men were innocent.
Retaliation was swift. A letter was hastily hand-delivered to my Sydney home, informing me I had been disfellowshipped from the LDS Church, on March 21 — over three months earlier. The letter was signed by Hurstville Ward bishopric members, Bishop Charles Parsons, and “Bro” Allan D. Murrin, 1st counselor. The Church decree listed penalties and suggestions, but gave no reason for the bishop’s court outcome. I was advised I could no longer speak or participate in meetings or attend any assembly of Church officers.