Bitterbarn’s Weblog

aka “The Bull” (some content not suitable for children or religous zealots)

General Authority recap.

I remember when I was a young boy, on small farm in Idaho…

Isn’t that the way most talks start during general conference. Or at least they used to. I was perusing through the changes in the “qurom of the twelve apostles” and relized that either half of them died and were replaced or I have been out of touch for a while (more likely). Seems like they are trying to get “call” younger folks, maybe not. Also, it appears as though being a 3rd grade drop out no longer flies when it comes to prophet, seers and revelators. no knock, its a factual observation. I’d say being a professional is a prerequisite.

is this “evil speaking of the lords anointed”? I’ve been asking around latley as what people believe it means to “sustain” someone. One person believes that is simply means that you will do what they say. ie if the bishop says do this or do that If I “sustain” him I simply have to do what he says. I am afraid its much, much more that just being a blind follower. Last week in my parents ward a new ward mission leader was called. The counselor said. If you sustain him you will not check your caller ID and avoid him. So I have to think “sustaining” has something to do with caller ID.

May 9, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,


  1. I don’t sustain people anymore for that very reason. It’s not that I won’t help them if they ask for it, but I don’t want to feel bound to do it if I don’t want to. Yes, I’m sure I get stares by members when I don’t raise my arm (I usually act like I’m taking care of one of my kids a little challenging when there are multiple sustainings in one meeting). I don’t object either though because I figure if there willing to do the job all power to them. I think 90% of people in the ward avoid the ward mission leader. It’s just a fact of life. Having been the ward mission leader (a thankless calling as is ward missionary), I know what I’m talking about.

    In short, I support people but I do not sustain them. To me the difference is that I will help if I’m able and desire to but I’m not going to do every crazy little idea that pops into their head (i.e. family mission plan, invite a neighbor to dinner, have an open house), unless I feel it is what I want to do.

    Comment by Jay | May 9, 2008 | Reply

  2. hmmm, good idea. maybe I should try that approach. Is there going to be some dire consequence on the other side?

    Comment by bitterbarn | May 9, 2008 | Reply

  3. In response to the first post, all I need mention is the lot in life the 1/3 of folks in the premortal existence who didn’t sustain the plan but were also not against it. There is a reward for those who don’t take a position in this life. Here’s a quik scrpture for you:
    Rev. 3: 15-16
    15 I know thy aworks, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
    16 So then because thou art alukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will bspue thee out of my mouth.

    Sustaining doesn’t mean obeying blindly, it means that you acknowledge that this person was indeed called by someone with the authority to make that call and was hopefully vetted through a confirmation by the spirit. I attend bishopric meetings every week, not every person called is some great inspiration from on high, but every face to a space is prayed about and confirmed by the spirit or else that person isn’t called. And there should be no commentary in the sustainings comments like “If you sustain him you will not check your caller ID and avoid him” that is just guilting people into submission. That is not what the gospel is about, ever heard the term free agency if I can’t make it to splits then I can’t make it to splits with the elders, I don’t feel guilty, I sustained the ward mission leader. Welcome back to the mothership Matt.

    Comment by Cuzin Chris | May 9, 2008 | Reply

  4. Just wanted to say that my comments are not a slight against anybody. There was only one perfect man on this earth, meaning nobody in the church is perfect, which also means you shouldn’t just blindly obey, one of my colleagues is always saying ‘Trust but verify’. It takes work to be an active participant in life and the gospel, and I would say I’m sorta lazy sometimes.

    Comment by Cuzin Chris | May 9, 2008 | Reply

  5. Chris,
    It sounds like your just like me except you raise your hand. To me sustaining means more than just recognizing they are called with authority, it means you will support them in all their schemes. If the ward mission leader comes and asks you to pray and get a reference by next month, you do it. Unless he blatantly wants you to do something evil, you do it. I just don’t have the patience for that. I do things because I want to help other people and follow Christ, not because I’m told to by someone who has an agenda (e.g. meet goals, impress the Bishop), it doesn’t matter what leader it is.

    I’ve been in priesthood many times when the ward mission leader asks for volunteers for splits and of the 40+ people there no one raises their hand. The mission leader gives up after a minute of awkward silence. Now there’s some sustaining in action! When I did go out with the missionaries it was usually me and a few other regulars that always went. Apparently, all the other priesthood holders were busy every night of the week. I guess it’s possible but not very likely. I suppose I’ve just learned to be more honest about just how much I’m willing to give. Other like to raise their hand so they fit in with the crowd and later do exactly what I do.

    Comment by Jay | May 9, 2008 | Reply

  6. so on to the bigger picture then, we just raised our hands to “sustain” the general authorities. what does that mean excactly? Its also a temple question I belive.

    Comment by bitterbarn | May 10, 2008 | Reply

  7. Jay,

    Maybe in some respects we are alike. Not sure if you are a return missionary or not, but missionaries are supposed to use “the commitment pattern” some call it the “manipulation pattern” as a joke. As a missionary I experienced being with several types of Elders, some would manipulate like your example of the mission leader, some would be more like Ammon who’s example and ability to help others feel and recognize the spirit would bring individuals to a decision to change their lives. Ever been to a car lot to look at cars and the salesmen is all over you trying to get you to buy a car using all sorts of feel good techniques, after a while you start to feel that there is no way out but to buy the car. Anybody who is just coming up to people and telling them to pray and get a referral might have good intentions, but if you are getting that feeling like you are at the car lot, something isn’t right. So in essence our desire to follow a leaders council should come from ones own desire to change or because we really feel Christ inviting us to serve through that person, if you are not getting that feeling then of course you should ask yourself why. There are of course mundane regular tasks that take place in church like hometeaching, going on splits, and so on. My desire to these tasks is directly related to my own spiritual level of commitment at any given time, should I do them, yes if I can, if I can’t then I will do my best, sometimes I don’t feel like going but I go or make my best effort to contact them because that is what Christ would do.

    Comment by cuzin Chris | May 12, 2008 | Reply

  8. some call it the “manipulation pattern” as a joke.

    I’ve heard some call it the old jedi mind trick as a joke also. I’ve also seen and heard RM’s talk about how they use it to get dates. Sad, but true.

    sometimes I don’t feel like going but I go or make my best effort to contact them because that is what Christ would do.

    That’s great! I sometimes do things when I don’t want to either. I do it for the same reason, I want to be a disciple of Christ. That should always be our motivation.

    Comment by Jay | May 12, 2008 | Reply

  9. First post here, but I think the “pretending to take care of your kids” thing is a complete cop out.

    I agree with the lukewarm scripture. I think, at the risk of overgeneralizing, that too many of us (myself included) are too indifferent and apathetic. Sustaining someone is a confirmation that you will support them, but it doesn’t have to be the blind support mentioned above. You don’t have to supprot them in all their “schemes”, especially if the “scheme” is clearly a drain on time or yourself. You offer support where you can, but just because you sustain someone doesn’t mean that you can’t disagree with that someone. Think of “counseling” within your numerous callings. A counsel is supposed to be a give/take and a vibrant discussion where multiple options are discussed and agreed upon. Too many people sit on the side, indifferent, and seem to accept things as they are. Some of my favorite moments are learning from someone through a give-and-take.

    Just my thoughts…but I think it’s either one or the other. If you don’t affirmatively sustain someone, then you are tacitly, if nothing else, not sustaining them and all that does is provide you with an excuse to not participate and not help that individual.

    Yes, all leaders have weaknesses and there are, oftentimes, better, more qualified leaders. However, simply because someone has a weakness (not understanding the gospel, asking for referrals in an inept way, asking you something that you don’t want/care to do, or any other weakness they may have) shouldn’t give us license to hold back our sustaining vote. They, as much as anyone else, are in need of our help. Honestly, I think the sustaining is as much for me as for them in the sense that the Lord has commanded us to “strengthen [our] brethen” at all times. That is our obligation and the sustaining vote is my vote to, as the following quote implores, be “in tune” with the Lord. Just my thoughts.

    “The practice of the law of common consent allows us, as members of the Church, to evaluate our position and to bring our thinking and commitment in tune with that of the Lord.”

    President Charles W. Penrose beautifully stated it this way: “It was designed by the Almighty in the organization of this Church, that the voice of the people should respond to the voice of the Lord.” (Journal of Discourses, 21:45.)”

    Comment by tom | May 23, 2008 | Reply

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