Obviously, I wasn’t one of the thousands watching General Conference last weekend. My idea of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus was taking advantage of the fact that everyone in Utah was at church and spending the day at an amusement park.
Which was a really, really good idea, by the way.
So I didn’t find out until it popped onto my social media the next day that during the sustaining votes, there was the first dissention since the 1980s.
The sustaining votes are the part of General Conference when the man at the podium reads off the names of church officers and asks Mormons everywhere to raise their right arms in favor. After asking that, it is written in the script to ask “Any opposed?” Never in my twenty years of life have I seen anyone be opposed to anything. Even when I attended General Conference six months ago I didn’t oppose, but just raised my arm in zombie salute with everyone else.
As to what happened last weekend when Mormons worldwide were called upon to give their sustaining votes, I’m not exactly sure because each source I read is biased and gives me different numbers. But what I understand is that when Dieter F. Uchtdorf, first counselor to the leader of the whole shebang Thomas S. Monson, called upon the world to sustain Monson as the true prophet of God, five people in the Conference Center stood up in opposition.
It is one thing to not believe. It’s another to stand up for your disbelief. And it’s possibly the greatest thing of all to stand up for your disbelief in the eye of the hurricane of belief.
These people were part of no agenda, as they told reporters again and again in frustration. They weren’t trying to make a statement. They were just standing up for their disbelief.
According to one source, this is the first instance of dissent since the eighties. What did the church authorities do about it? Uchtdorf simply said into the microphone “The vote has been noted” and no other mind was given to the hands nor the people that raised them (except that the closing hymn just HAPPENED to manipulatively be “We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet.” Hmm…).
Although the five standing up had no agenda, I’m happy to create one for them: Change.