Doctrine and Covenants 26: The Law of Common Consent

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 37–38


Have you thought about what it means when you raise your hand in Church to sustain someone in a calling in your ward or branch? Is it the same as voting? Would it surprise you to know that you are promising to do something?
Sustaining vote

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 26

Confirming(v. 1)Strengthening 
Labors on the land(v. 1)Farming 

Doctrine and Covenants 26:2—What Does “Common Consent” Mean?

In an earlier revelation the Lord declared, “No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church” (D&C 20:65). The principle of requiring all ordinations and callings to be sustained by the Church members has become known as the law of common consent (D&C 26:2). Speaking about common consent, Elder Mark E. Petersen, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained: “This rules out cultists of all kinds, false teachers and false leaders of every description, and puts the Lord’s people on notice that there is but one clear directing voice in the Church, and that is the voice of the prophet, r, and revelator duly chosen by revelation and accepted by the vote of the people in the general conference of the Church” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1974, 82; orEnsign,May 1974, 56).

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke of how important that sustaining vote is to the leaders of the Church: “I especially thank you for sustaining your leaders, whatever their personal sense of limitation may be. This morning, in common consent, you volunteered to uphold—or more literally ‘hold up’—the presiding officers of the kingdom, those who bear the keys and responsibility for the work, not one man of whom sought the position or feels equal to the task. And even when Jeffrey Holland’s name is proposed as the last and the least of the newly ordained, your arm goes lovingly to the square. And you say to Brother Holland through his tears and his nights of walking the floor: ‘You lean on us. Lean on us out here in Omaha and Ontario and Osaka, where we have never even n you and scarcely know who you are. But you are one of the “Brethren,” so you are no stranger or foreigner to us, but a fellow citizen in the household of God. You will be prayed for in our family, and you will hold a place within our hearts. Our strength shall be your strength. Our faith will build your faith. Your work will be our work’” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 41–42; orEnsign,Nov. 1994, 32).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 26.

Activity A iconBlessings and Responsibilities

From your reading ofDoctrine and Covenants 26and the “Understanding the Scriptures” section, explain how the law of common consent is a blessing to you. Also explain what your responsibility is when you raise your arm in a sustaining vote.