The result of this next vote (to decide which of the 2 highest ranked GP versions will become the
base text for a final GP draft) has begin and will go through Thursday. It’s important to
understand that this vote is only to select a base text, while the 6 other versions of GP will be
available to the GP group to use as resources. This vote is a simple way for the greater assembly to
say, “Of all the versions available, this is the sample closest to what we want.”
Shortly before the organization of the Church of Christ in April, 1830, Oliver Cowdery prepared articles for the church, which were expanded and modified by revelation to Joseph Smith, and became section 20 of the LDS Doctrine and Covenants. Because that section deals with the hierarchy and organization of offices within a formal church, it no longer applies to the Lord’s current work.
The Lord has therefore required a replacement for Section 20, as a unified statement of principles, adopted by the general assembly believers, as part of the law and covenant established as a rule for our faith.
Why do we Need Governing Principles?
God is subject to, and governs by, law. (D&C 130:20-21 LE) Those who would walk in His paths and have Him to be their God are expected to conform to the requirements of His law. In His mercy, the Lord has allowed us the opportunity to demonstrate our knowledge and faith by preparing our own statement of governing principles to present to Him as the rule of our faith, by which we intend to govern ourselves.
Some have asked why such a statement is necessary at all, suggesting instead that all should be free to pursue their own course, according to their circumstances and desires. Unfortunately, such an approach has already been shown to produce a wide variety of religious practices, including that which is unwise, unscriptural, false, and even abominable. We would do well to remember Mormon’s warning concerning all mankind in Helaman 12:5-6:
"Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths! Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide."
If we desire the Lord to be our God, we must submit ourselves to His rule. He will never compel such submission, but rather has placed on us the requirement to create a basic set of doctrinally correct, universally applicable principles, in harmony with His will, to which we will submit by our own free choice. Such a statement demonstrates not only our submission to God, but also our unity as a people. The Lord requires a people of one heart and one mind, at least concerning basic principles of our faith, before He can move His work forward. Our obedience to basic things shows the Lord it is safe to give us more.
Unity: Thus far, the effort to produce Governing Principles has not resulted in unity. Rather, the opposite has happened, with many divisions, disputations, and passionate arguments ensuing. If we cannot come to unity, we cannot be the Lord’s covenant people. Our disputations displease Him. We need to repent.
Governing: The principles are NOT meant to be used as a tool of control, dominion or compulsion. Rather, they are an expression of our unified faith, and the basics of our belief and practice. They are the standard by which we govern ourselves—not the law by which we compel one another. Our acceptance of them shows the Lord our voluntary submission to Him.
Guidance: As others come into the faith and form fellowships, many will be unfamiliar with basic practices like baptism, sacrament, sustaining, and equality. The Governing Principles are intended to serve as a basic guide and foundation to help new believers and fellowships find their way. They are not intended to compel monolithic, correlated practices and behaviors, but rather are to protect the specific requirements the Lord has given that must not be changed.
Covenant: If the Lord offers us a covenant and we accept it, we will be under serious obligations to keep the terms of the covenant. Those who break it will not survive the Lord’s return. The Governing Principles provide guidance that will eliminate some of the potential failure points where well-intentioned, but misled people might break the covenant by pursuing their own ideas, rather than what the Lord has established.
Conclusion: We yet remain under the Lord’s condemnation. He has required that we produce and adopt a set of Governing Principles, and we have turned that effort into an affront to Him. The purpose of this current vote is to begin the process of repenting and correcting our errors by choosing a set of principles to use as a starting point to build on. If we refuse to do this thing the Lord has required, we will remain condemned as a people, and rejected from having a covenant. We should be grateful for the Lord’s patience and mercy in allowing us another chance.
How to Vote: Please prayerfully review ALL the proposed documents.
While voting you will be asked to rank the principles documents according to which documents you feel most correctly reflects true doctrine and the Lord’s will for us, in order from most preferred to least preferred. Please do not vote until you are familiar with each document and can make an informed decision.
Moving Forward: The two most preferred principles documents will be placed for a runoff vote to choose the final document that will be used. It will then serve as a starting point for further modification until it reflects the Lord’s will and is accepted by Him.
Thank you for taking this seriously, and assisting with, this important responsibility that the Lord has placed upon those who would become His.
Find a fellowship or group in your area in which to share common beliefs in our Lord Jesus Christ and His doctrine as restored through the prophet Joseph Smith.
Would you like to learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ? Would you like to be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost?
Once you have been baptized according to the pattern that our Lord has established in our day, He has required that we keep a record here on earth of all those who have entered into the waters of baptism.