All Those Opposed
Since everyone in the world cares about my opinions on trivial matters, I've decided to weigh in on what happened this weekend at the 185th General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I'll give you a brief summary: When President Uchtdorf asked for an indication of those who opposed the sustaining vote of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a small group of people raised their voices. Take a look: The Sustaining of Church Officers.
Now, I will be honest and tell you that I actually wasn't watching Conference at the moment this happened. When I read about it online, though, I immediately found a video of it and watched with curiosity and quite frankly, surprise—surprise that the voices of dissent were not louder. From everything I had seen on Facebook that afternoon, I was expecting it to be a large section of the audience. Instead, it was probably just a handful of people.
But that handful of people caused such a ruckus. Such a ruckus on the Internets! And here's what: I say, let them oppose. When I heard their voices of opposition, I was proud to be a member of a Church that cares about what people think. These were President Uchtdorf's exact words on Saturday:
Brothers and Sisters, it is proposed that we sustain Thomas Spencer Monson as prophet, seer, and revelator and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Henry Bennion Eyring as First Counselor in the First Presidency; and Dieter Friedrich Uchtdorf as Second Counselor in the First Presidency. Those in favor may manifest it. Those opposed, if any, may manifest it.Sooo he didn't ask to see a show of hands; he just told the congregation to manifest it. And manifest it they did. In this context, it's understandable that people would use their voices in opposition—after all, it's a gargantuan conference center! (It holds over 20,000 people!)
Do I think what this handful of people did was inappropriate? Offensive? Reprehensible? It doesn't matter. What does matter is that it's important for people to have an opportunity to be heard. It's important to the leaders of the Church and it's important to God, and we know this because the proposal to sustain is included in ALL Church meetings where people are being called into offices of the Church.*
I'll close with a comment I posted to Facebook the other day:
[Church leaders] could easily leave this part out or say something like, "We're just asking you for your votes, but we don't really mean it. If you disagree with these sustainings, don't bother saying so because we aren't really going to listen. We're just going to say you're being inappropriate." To me, asking for an indication of those who oppose—and not being shocked or offended when people actually do—is evidence that leaders aren't just saying these words in vain. They actually want to know whether people support or oppose their decisions, and if nothing else, it gives them an idea of the general tone of their followers.
*For more on this topic, see Dissenting Votes at Conference: Everything You Need to Know.
Thing I'm thankful for: Evelyn, Sophie, and Brenda