Liahona
What does “common consent” mean in the Church?

“What does ‘common consent’ mean in the Church?” Liahona, March 2021

Come, Follow Me

What does “common consent” mean in the Church?

Doctrine and Covenants 23–26

March 8–14

Liahona Magazine, 2021/03 March: What does "common consent" mean in the Church?

The Lord has commanded that “all things shall be done by common consent in the church” (Doctrine and Covenants 26:2). Common consent allows Church members to “sustain those called to serve in the Church, as well as other Church decisions requiring their support, usually shown by raising the right hand” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Common Consent,” scriptures.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).

Do we “vote” when we sustain members?

“No prophet or any other leader in this Church, for that matter, has ever called himself or herself. No prophet has ever been elected. The Lord made that clear when He said, ‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you’ [John 15:16]. You and I do not ‘vote’ on Church leaders at any level. We do, though, have the privilege of sustaining them.” —President Russell M. Nelson, “Sustaining the Prophets,” Liahona, Nov. 2014, 74–75.

The same is true for all callings. Sustaining is a chance to show and give our support and to acknowledge the will of God.

Is raising our hands to sustain members just a simple formality?

“By our sustaining vote, we make solemn promises. We promise to pray for the Lord’s servants and that He will lead and strengthen them [see Doctrine and Covenants 93:51]. We pledge that we will look for and expect to feel inspiration from God in their counsel and whenever they act in their calling.” —President Henry B. Eyring, “Called of God and Sustained by the People,” Liahona, June 2012, 4.

Sustaining members in their callings should continue as long as they worthily hold the calling.

What if I can’t sustain someone?

In rare instances, an individual may know a valid reason why a member should not hold a calling. In such cases, the dissenting member can meet privately with the bishop or stake president to discuss their concerns.