Who Has Decision-Making Authority in the Church?

Many LDS don’t agree with all of the doctrine or policies of the church, and they have to decide if they will publicly protest against those differences. This essay gives my view of the issue. The essay does not discuss interpretation of doctrine or policies.

The Church

Latter-day Saints have chosen to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With a few exceptions, of course, these people  are not in decision-making positions. Their choice of membership, either to become members or to remain members, implies acceptance of the decisions made by those who have decision-making authority, the senior hierarchy of the church. Their membership does not imply agreement with all aspects of doctrine or policies. I believe that members who disagree with doctrine or policies have only two decisions: to remain members of the church, recognizing that they disagree with some aspects of the church, or to leave the church. I do not believe that members should publicly protest against the church, with the hope that the church authorities might change the doctrine or policies. History has shown that such protests have little effect.

The Family

Latter-day Saints are, of course, head of their families, and they have the right to make decisions about their families. Their decisions may or may not agree with all aspects of church doctrine or policies. If persons disagree with church doctrine or policies, these persons have the right, as head of their families, to speak out publicly to protest the doctrine and policies. However, in order to avoid hypocrisy, these persons should, in my opinion, leave the church before public protests are made.

Individuals

Individuals do have the right to publicly protest doctrine and policies of the church and of their families. Again, such persons should leave the church or their families before public protests are made. Of course, there are legal constraints on young people leaving their parents to establish their own families, and these restrictions must be complied with to avoid the penalties of breaking the law.

Conclusion

Membership in the church implies acceptance of the positions taken by that organization. Persons disagreeing with such positions should either remain members of the church and remain quiet (publicly) about their differences or should leave the church before disagreeing publicly with that organization. People do, of course, have the right to privately discuss their differences with persons in decision-making positions, subject to the policies and customs of the church.

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