“Opposed… if any?”

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I hear those words, almost on a weekly basis.

On a weekly basis, I get a few more drops of courage to actually raise my hand.

?Ǭ†Why is it that we don’t oppose when it’s how we feel sometimes??Ǭ† I must admit, I have never done it in a public meeting.?Ǭ† The closest I ever got was a few weeks ago when I had a PPI / HT interview with the EQP.?Ǭ† I told them point blank that I opposed a number of things they were doing in the quorum.?Ǭ† I didn’t try to be a jerk about it, but I let them know how I felt and why.?Ǭ† And, then to make it clear, I told them if they continued, I could not sustain them.?Ǭ† I / They left it there.?Ǭ† Nothing has changed.?Ǭ† They now know where I stand.

So, I’m thinking about our ward and stake conference that are comming up, where I’ll have another chance to oppose in public.?Ǭ† Honestly, I don’t know that I have the guts to do it.?Ǭ† I think I’d be more inclined to not raise my hand to sustain and afterwards, go to whoever and voice my opposition.?Ǭ† I admit that is the easier way out.

16 thoughts on ““Opposed… if any?”

  1. The closest I have come to opposing a calling was deliberately not raising my hand in sustaining. It was when my newly-called EQ instructor was called to a stake calling at stake conference.

  2. Many years ago I (and several others in my small branch) had serious problems with the BP. A week or so before branch conference I told the district pres that there was a high probability that many people in the branch would oppose the BP, and that others would abstain, leaving perhaps 3 or 4 who would actively sustain the man.

    The DP said that we were out of line, had lost the spirit etc., but when he failed to convince us that he knew better, he released the BP at conference, and called one of the men who would have sustained the BP. Turned out to be probably the best BP we ever had.

    Perhapss it is worthwhile talking to your Bp and/or SP beforehand, especially if there are others who feel the same way, or your objections are solidly based on something that would cause a TBM (assuming that the Bp and SP are TBM (;>)) to think again.

  3. Two units I’ve been in had very effeminate men called into young mens leadership or scouts. That really got me thinking about opposing, but I chickened out both times.

  4. So the actual question “Opposed, if any?” serves absolutely no purpose since social pressures have effectively reduced it to a rubber stamp.

    It seems other methods are used to reduce the amount of opposing, or people are socially coerced not to oppose.

    What do you think this says about the attendants at these meetings?

  5. The D&C is pretty clear that if you have difficulty sustaining a church leader, you should meet with the next higher up to discuss your concerns.

    Sustaining a church leader means we recognize that they are not perfect, but that we’ll help them to do the best possible.

  6. Roland,

    Then why do we even give the opportuinity to allow someone to oppose? Why not just say “If any of you oppose, please come meet with us after the meeting.”?

  7. Rick,

    Re: #5, you are indeed correct. It serves no purpose. I too keep ‘chickening out’.

  8. Steve said:

    “Two units I’ve been in had very effeminate men called into young mens leadership or scouts. That really got me thinking about opposing, but I chickened out both times.”

    Why would you oppose just because they were effeminate? Does that automatically make them gay (and even so this wouldn’t necessarily make them go after the young men) or likely pedophiles? I wouldn’t say so. Kind of stereotypical, don’t you think?

  9. Good point Mary,

    Although it wasn’t me in that situation, I imagine I might have the same feelings if my son were in Young Men’s.

    Actually, that would go for any calling involving someone influencing my children. I don’t think the reason matters. For instance, you might feel inclined to oppose a calling extended to me to teach one of your children if you feel my views on local leadership do not congrue with yours. You may feel I’m too negative and you wouldn’t want any of that rubbing off on your kids. (not that I would mind you, but for the sake of argument, it’s a good case to analyze.)

    If I was uncomfortable with anyone called to teach / lead my children, for any reason, I think it’s my duty as a parent to oppose such a calling, stereotypical or not.

  10. JM

    That’s true. I think though, there will always be differing opinions and we as parents won’t always agree with people teaching our children certain things, if they are against our own personal views. I believe though, when it comes to church teaching positions, if the teachers stick to the lesson material it should be alright. At least for me it would.

    And then we don’t always know who might end up teaching false doctrine. It can come in the most surprising places! And I don’t mean raising the bar or posing questions, I mean the real false doctrine that sometimes crops up in Gospel Doctrine or youth Sunday School Classes.

    I had a Sunday School teacher when I was 15 or 16, who ended up leaving the church later, and announcing he was gay (he was at the time) but he was a great teacher. I don’t believe he taught any false doctrine I can think of. He was pretty knowledgeable about the Gospel. I had known him when I was much younger (he was a few years older than us, can’t recall how much, but he was a teenager when I was still in primary) and even though technically people might think he was not a great role model for us, I still remember him with fondness and I am glad he was our teacher at the time. He actually liked us, and one of the worst things for a youth or child is to think the teacher doesn’t care to be there.

    I was sorely tempted to put my hand up in opposition when I was called to my current calling. Sigh.

  11. Perhaps in not sustaining you have a better reaon than “I don’t like what he/they are doing”, that is, of course, assuming you have not reached perfection. In that case I’m way off base.

    Seriously, though, do we ever stop to think about what is going on inside us? Do we ever think that the problem might be in ourselves, not in others? I’ve been where you are, and in the end I hated myself for being so critical. When I relaxed and quit worrying about whether the Church could run without me or not, I began to realise that that there was a beam in my eye.
    I relaxed, continued to worship as I ought and the Church went on just fine with imperfect men doing imperfect things, and strangely enough, I did just fine too.

  12. Larry, I think about it every day. I am a bag full of problems. The beam sticking out of my eye could be used as a load bearing support for any structure. I also despise the hate and venom I feel bubbling up inside of me every Sunday.

    I would chalk it all up to an imperfect “me” if it wasn’t for the fact that in the gospel, there is an allowance made for dealing with imperfectness in our leaders. True, this should be measured in degrees and reacted to accordingly. But, as rick pointed out, the whole excercise is pointless because social pressures have made any opposition difficult to voice.

    So, why is it that we have an inspired, divinely revealed mechanism for voicing opposition, and it is taboo to ever use it?

  13. “Do we ever think that the problem might be in ourselves, not in others?”

    That’s right, Larry. Blame the victim. :P

  14. Rick,

    I just follow the Liberal Party line using that technique. :>)


    The feeling that you have bubbling up inside you every week is not unique to you. I believe we have all been there, some of us for years.
    My only advice is to fight through it. Don’t allow yourself to give into the thoughts and feelings that are pouring in. Go to Church with a specific theme to ponder, read your scriptures while there, cross reference important scriptures to you, and take your mind off the things that bother you.

  15. While I have not been in the exact situation posed by JM, I do at times find myself at extreme odds with the actions of others. Invariably, I find it worth the time to ask two questions and remember one phrase:

    Question #1:
    Why? Why is this person doing this thing, what is motivating them to do this? If I know the person well enough, I will actually pose this question to them directly. I never ask this accusingly (at least I try very hard to no do so) but with a true desire to understand why. Often times though, this will either change the individual’s actions, allow me to agree with the other person’s actions or allow me to accept the person’s actions even if I don’t agree with them. If I still have real issues with the situation after trying to understand the motives behind it, I move to question #2.

    Question #2
    Why? Why does this person’s action/decision make me react this way? Honestly, most of the time I soon discover that I’m either overreacting or feeling threatened which makes me ask myself this question again. I repeat this question until I’m sure I understand the root cause of why I am reacting this way. Some times I find that I need to change and some times I find that there is a real problem at hand but either way there is usually a clear course of action that I need to take at that point.

    Throughout the entire process, I remind myself of the following:

    “Never attribute to malice what can just as easily be ascribed to stupidity.” The point being that more often than not we all tend to be stupid more often than we tend to intentionally harm others.

    As to opposing a calling: Opposing does not immediately mean that I am a vile sinner—far from it, especially when considering the question “Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen?” not opposing when I feel I should is not being honest—nor does it mean the individual being called should not be sustained just because of my opposition. A sustaining vote for a calling does not have to be unanimous as the vote is not for unanimous consent but for common consent. (Doc & Cov 26:2)

    Opposing a calling because of issues that would call the individual’s worthiness to serve into question should be second nature to every member. If I am the only person, beside the individual in question, to know but I refuse to oppose out of embarrassment or for whatever reason then aren’t I now trying to cover up a sin just as much as the person in question?

    Opposing a calling just because I have differences with the person, unless those differences are of grave enough concern to actually be an issue of worthiness, may actually be a symptom of pride or vanity in myself. If I believe in revelation and if I sustain the presiding authority who issued the call and the individual is worthy except I can’t stand the man because he once insulted me, then perhaps this would be a good time for me to do a little self-evaluating. Still, if I felt strongly about it, I would make my opposition known.

    In both cases, I would express my concern to the presiding authority in private and then, because I sustain that presiding authority, I need to trust that presiding authority to deal with the situation appropriately keeping in mind that appropriately can mean anything from sustaining the individual to beginning disciplinary proceedings or anything in between.

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