Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sustaining and agreeing

A serious question today, one that’s been rolling around in my head for quite some time but that’s been indirectly crystallized by some interesting discussions going on over at Faith-Promoting Rumor lately:

When we vote* to sustain our church leaders, are we promising to agree with them?

There are a lot of people in the church who would say that the answer is yes—the whole “when the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done“ sort of approach.** This has been supported by some church leaders, too.*** On the other hand, there are declarations that go in the other direction—see, for example, all the stress in current policy on participants in ward council being open about their opinions including if they disagree with the bishop, and the importance of consensus decisions rather than top-down directives.

It’s an interesting tension—and maybe it’s there on purpose, and there’s no actual complete answer to my question. I don’t know, to be quite honest. Y’all’s thoughts?

* Yeah, i know, it’s the wrong word, but i’m going with it anyway.

** And yes, i know the history of that quote, and that the initial introduction of the line didn’t put it in a positive light. Doesn’t keep people from saying that’s the way we should be going about things, though.

*** See, for example and perhaps most famously or infamously (depending on your position on the issue), Ezra Taft Benson’s Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet address.

1 comment:

Heather the Mama Duk said...

1. to support, hold, or bear up from below; bear the weight of, as a structure.
2. to bear (a burden, charge, etc.).
3. to undergo, experience, or suffer (injury, loss, etc.); endure without giving way or yielding.

1. to have the same views, emotions, etc.; harmonize in opinion or feeling
2. to give consent; assent
3. to live in concord or without contention; get along together.
4. to come to one opinion or mind; come to an arrangement or understanding; arrive at a settlement: They have agreed on the terms of surrender.
5. to be consistent; harmonize
6. to correspond; conform; resemble

Not the same thing.

I SUSTAIN the leaders. I will never AGREE that BSA is a good organization for the church to be married to or that 8-11 year old boys (in America) should have activities each week while girls (and boys everywhere but America) only have activities twice a month. But because I SUSTAIN them, I have to deal with the disagreement and let my son be in Scouts and go every week.