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Radio Free Mormon: 32: Illegitimate First Presidency

RFM tackles the announcement of the reorganization of the First Presidency of the LDS Church.  What was said and what it means and what understanding it leads to when the LDS process or reorganizing its leadership is juxtaposed against how scripture imposes that such be handled.


46 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 32: Illegitimate First Presidency”

  1. It was a gloomy morning here in the American South until I clicked onto MDP and found a new RFM podcast.

    Joy, joy, joy!

    Now I’m off to gleefully listen, and I plan on being amazed and surprised.

    Big, big thank you to all your investigative reporting, RFM.

    Thank you!

  2. Dear RFM,

    I recall being perplexed by RMN’s statement in GC a few years ago, it went something like :

    Nobody is voted into office in this church.

    I recall thinking at the time that that was a strange thing for him to say. Now it looks like he wanted it in the record (Ensign, GC edition)for a succeeding generations to refer to (in times of doubt) how you just get to add your support, but do not vote someone into office. Well, now we see the evidence staring us in the face.

    Very interesting podcast.

    Do you suppose that Uchtdorf will resign because of the oppressive air hanging over the church leadership at this time? Probably he will just tow the line since much of his wealth is tied up in LDS.INC.

    Buckle your seatbelt; we’re in for an interesting ride.

    1. I doubt Elder Uchtdorf will resign, no matter how much he is smarting.

      As to the quote from President Nelson, it would not surprise me if he said, “Nobody is voted into office in this church.”

      Church leaders have done pretty much everything they can to make the sustaining vote a mere formality, as opposed to a genuine vote for office as it was originally.

      This latest move on their part is all about wresting what little power was left to the members and arrogating it to the apostles.

      At least that’s the way it strikes me.

      You will frequently hear members say that the LDS church is not a democracy.

      But that is not true, strictly speaking; it is a theo-democracy.

      At least that’s the way it was set up.

    1. Right now I am working on an episode centering around a remarkable statement President Eyring said at the public announcement of the new First Presidency.

      Sometimes the ideas come so fast and furious I have to pick and choose what I am going to cover and what I am going to have to leave for others.

      Of course, I do like to be responsible to my listeners. If there is enough demand, I will may have to reconsider.

  3. Since the corporate church is organzied under the state of Utah as a corporation sole, all of its assets and cash flows are owned by a single man, its president. This makes the president of the church one of the top ten richest men in the world. I think that gives the senior apostle billions and billions of reasons not to want anyone to rock the succession boat, especially the members through common consent or God through revelation.

  4. While I can agree with the technicality of sustaining the First Presidency before they are set apart, the fact that they are sustained at every General and Stake Conference does constitute common consent.

    1. I agree with you on this point, Thomas.

      But because the President of the Church is a general authority and presides over all the members; and because all the members over whom he presides have not been giving the opportunity to vote for President Nelson; I believe that until that time comes in April General Conference, President Nelson and his counselors constitute an illegitimate First Presidency.

  5. We had region broadcast yesterday.

    It was interesting that D. Todd Felt the need to dedicate his remarks to what happened in the succession. And how Elder Uchtdorf is doing OK. That he will “the lift where he stands.”

    He then proceeded to show a video clip from J. Reuben Clark where he went from first counselor to second counselor and stated that it’s all about how you serve not where you serve.

    For us out here in California it was kind of an odd talk.

    1. Thanks for the heads-up, Ryan.

      I do think that the more comments made by GA’s about how Elder Uchtdorf is doing okay with his demotion, the more reasonable it is to suspect such is not the case.

  6. Perhaps we should have Skyler look in to how previous presidents of the church were sustained previous to their setting apart.
    Perhaps we could look in to that information being included in Handbook 1.

    Let’s put some things in to context.
    It would have been nice if Urctdorf stayed instead of Eyring. Both are great, but look at President Nelson. He may not last very long and putting Oaks in the Presidency gives him some time at the helm and bringing him up to speed.

    If all our correlated material comes from Urchtdorf that may not be such a bad thing.

    How does voting against the proposed person ever sat well in church history. There have been cases were opposing votes were cast but they were still asked to sustain the person and then look in to the rumors afterwards. Afterwards people just forget… our sustaining vote is really just for your information anyways.

    I guess they had to kick Urchtdorf out before he caused any more trouble. That said, I think if his workload is less he may prefer being less in the limelight.

    1. Good points, David.

      Church leaders like to have their callings sustained unanimously at General Conference.

      I believe they would even announce that the voting had been unanimous. (That was back in the halcyon days when it was unanimous, of course.)

      More recently, when the voting has not been unanimous, unanimity has become less important to church leaders, for obvious reasons.

      Instead, they have hit upon the phrase, “The vote has been noted.”

      Which is another way of saying, “The vote is irrelevant.”

      I mean, who came up with that stupid phrase anyway? “The vote has been noted”?!

      They should just say what they mean, which is that the vote in favor carries by majority.

      But it seems they don’t want to say this.

      And I suspect the reason they don’t want to say this is because it might give members the idea that if they got a majority of the vote against a given proposition, the proposition would not carry.

      Better not to give the plebeians any ideas that their vote actually matters.

    2. I had heard the comment before about ‘giving Oaks some time in the front seat before the takes the wheel’, but I don’t get it. I mean, I can’t imagine they don’t all know everything they need to know, and church leadership functions and processes are not so dynamic and changing that the junior-most apostle couldn’t take over as Pres if everyone else choked on a chicken bone at the same time and he vaulted to the top on his second day on the job. Plus, Jesus tells them what to do so what’s to figure out? The idea that Oaks needed just a wee bit more high-level training at the elbow of Pres Nelson also seems a little presumptuous and egotistical of him because that presumes that they already know that God has already chosen DHO for the job. Once again showing that Jesus is working them through the 5 year strategic plan on a weekly basis now.

      1. I would only add to your excellent comments, Mike, that Russell Nelson apparently didn’t need any time “behind the wheel” before his ascension to church president.

      2. Mike,

        After laughing at your response off and on for 30 minutes I have to tell you what a well thought out response I thought it was. Well said sir!

    3. David or RFM or Bill Reel – I have a question. What trouble is Urchdorf causing and where can I find it to read more about it. Similar Bill Reel speaks about the the 12 not all being present for the November homosexual policy change. Where can regular member like myself find that information.
      Thank you,

      1. On the issue of Elder Uchtdorf causing trouble, I think we need look no further than his GC address in which he admitted leaders of the church have made mistakes and not lived up to the highest ideals of the gospel.

        I imagine there was some high-backed red-chair squirming going on during that particular talk . . .

  7. RFM,

    As always, I love your snarkasm (snarky sarcasm) that is always backed up with historical and scriptural references.

    I would love to see the top 15’s reaction if they privately listened to your podcasts talking about how they govern and lead the church. They make their decisions in a temple bubble (boardroom), with Public Relations consultants and legal counsel with minimal revelation from God.

    Keep up the great work!!


  8. Well Bill, you sound a LOT like Black Pigeon! I think Uchtdorf was a great thing for the Church, in the FP. But, let’s face it, he wasn’t “one of the boys”. He wasn’t from an OPF (Old Pioneer Family). He had to go.

  9. Nope! Uchtdorf won’t resign. I think Uchtdorf was spanked, but he is humble enough to take a spanking and come back the next day smiling. He’s now in charge of the Correlation Committee, the most powerful committee in the Church. I hope that Uchtdorf dismantles the Smith/McConkie Legacy, every last brink, and opens the Church up to guided evolution. He can do a lot of good there, if he wants to.

    I sent letters to Uchtdorf and ALL the 15, to their home address, a proposal to help the Homeless Afrikaners in South Africa. About 100,000 of them living in tents, without clean water, or schools, or jobs, and no hope of any of that. I told them that “if” they helped these people, many would join the Church. Well, sent that to them about 9 months ago. Have not heard anything yet. I hope that the Church actually HELPS people who need it, instead of building more super-expensive Temples that don’t help anyone but the builders and the family of top leaders, who are responsible for supplying the Church with marble and chandeliers and expensive woods and carpets, and pocketing the profits. What a SHAME!!! All those BILLIONS wasted.

  10. RFM,
    And while we’re at it, why don’t we address one of the biggest elephants in the room, i.e., the church is run like Jesus’ church, with exactly 15 apostles in a quorum of 12. And with the titles of “President” ???? Wha…?? Oh, and when JS organized the first presidency, neither of his counselors came from the 12 travelling Elders, otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to travel and preach outside the church.

    1. Good point, Paul.

      In Apostolic Coup D’état, I think I mentioned that the fact we have 15 apostles leading the church is evidence the Quorum of the Twelve took over the First Presidency in 1847.

      It is an odd situation–a church proudly proclaiming to have twelve apostles just like Jesus actually having fifteen.

      It is like fingerprints left at a murder scene.

  11. You can easily go on the Thomas S. Monson Wikipedia page and cycle through the predecessor links paying attention to dates and see that most were ordained within a week of the passing of the prior man. No waiting for votes in General Conference.

    I don’t feel like there was anything earth shattering in the process this time, but you have definitely laid bare the fact that the process that has happened for the last 14 or 15 successions has not followed the original process. So many good/amusing points about the absence of revelation.

    For those that are enthusiastic about Uchtdorf heading the correlation committee, I would not hold my breath waiting for transparency there. I view that as a calculated move by Nelson to install Uchtdorf as Sisyphus and himself as the boulder. What joy he will have smacking down Uchtdorf again and again. It is a punishment.

    1. Although I have not yet done the research, I have a sneaking suspicion that the likely apocryphal story of Jesus showing up in the Salt Lake Temple to tell Lorenzo Snow to reorganize the First Presidency immediately upon the death of Wilford Woodruff probably marks the point in time when the reorganization started being done before getting a church vote on the subject.

      Why else would it be so important to have to create a story about Jesus actually appearing to convey such otherwise mundane news?

  12. OCTOBER 2014 | Sustaining the Prophets
    By Elder Russell M. Nelson
    Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

    “This gives us, as members of the Lord’s Church, confidence and faith as we strive to keep the scriptural injunction to heed the Lord’s voice as it comes through the voice of His servants the prophets. All leaders in the Lord’s Church are called by proper authority. No prophet or any other leader in this Church, for that matter, has ever called himself or herself. No prophet has ever been elected. The Lord made that clear when He said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you.” You and I do not “vote” on Church leaders at any level. We do, though, have the privilege of sustaining them.”

    1. Nice quote from Russell M. Nelson!

      Yes indeed. Over the relatively brief span of time since the inception of the LDS Church, the power originally granted to the members has slowly and methodically been arrogated by the leaders.

      This is the way of things in the world.

      It should not be the way of things in a church that claims Christ as its head.

  13. Dear RFM,

    Yes, I have noted how the US Gov’t has turned a democracy on its head, and the LDS.Inc has followed in the same footprints.

    Causes one to wonder about all of those photos of LDS leaders doing the special handshakes with the world leaders. hmmmm


    1. It is an interesting dichotomy in the LDS Church, which is composed largely of political conservatives, that what bothers them the most in government they are happy to embrace in their religion.

      Centralized power in government is generally decried, but it’s just fine in the LDS Church.

      Another aspect of this I have noticed is the common criticism of the public school system for catering to the most dim witted member of the class at the expense of the more intelligent class members or those who actually want to learn.

      But what do those same Mormons have to say when it comes to teaching in church classes . . . ?

  14. RFM. Isn’t elder Ballerds remarks (which you discussed in General Conference Post Morten part 3) last general conference when he said: “do not listen to those who have not been ordained … and are not acknowledged by common consent”, interesting in hindsight?? All the while asking members not to tamper with the doctrine of the church. A very cryptic talk which you chided him mercilessly over 🙂 Could it be that elder Ballard was predicting the play by the 14 and voicing opposition to it? Though I doubt it…at the very least, didn’t he tell us not to listen to Nelson?? Haha!!

    1. Good catch, Mike!

      Although I share your difficulty in actually believing this was a prophetic preemptive strike by Elder Ballard on the new First Presidency, it does seem to be an inadvertent vote of no confidence in a First Presidency that has not (yet) been acknowledged by the common consent of the members.

      1. Thanks for your reply RFM. I love your episodes and i should make clear that your the reason I listen to the podcast. Not to belabor my earlier point, I have come to suspect that since incorporating the only real members of the church are the 15 and this recent activity only persuaded me even more. So I do wonder when they are speaking to “members “ if they are really directing their remarks mostly to themselves. We know they seem tb be completely out of touch with reality as it relates to the issues, or are they? When reality is confined to the concerns of 15 people they would appear to be spot on. Keep broadcasting RFM!!

  15. We need to better differentiate our Mike’s here. I am January 29th Mike, and not February 1 Mike. I will re-name myself. For the remainder of This Thread I will be Mike Oremsucks (but read it as “My Quorum Sucks” – preferably with a French accent, because that’s sexy).

    1. That is odd, isn’t it?

      I did some searching and it may be the Church deleted the Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual (and Teacher’s Manual) in its entirety from their web page.

      The timing is suspicious, I grant you.

      But maybe a coincidence is just a coincidence?

      What do you think?

      By the way, thank you for bringing this to my attention, Scott. Good catch!!!


  16. But on second thought, if the church were deleting a manual from its webpage, one might think the internal links on the church’s own webpage would also be deleted as a matter of course.

    And yet the links are still there on the church’s webpage; only the manual is no longer accessible.

    Curioser and curioser.

  17. I can’t believe it. I found another Mormon who listens to Jesus Christ Superstar. I tried to share one song’s insights in institute class in mid 80’s and was told it was not doctrinal and therefore not worth listening to.

    I was baptized at age 18 in 1982, starting institute classes just as the teachers were being told to hide history from me. Drove down the wrong road until 2018.

    Your podcasts make more sense to me than church doctrine ever did and help me through this painful time of feeling betrayed, used, and robbed. Thank you for all the info I never would’ve discovered on my own.

    I wonder, do you struggle to forgive them or is it just me?

  18. Is D&C 124:144 a potential loop-hole? “And a commandment I give unto you, that you should fill all these offices and approve of those names which I have mentioned, or else disapprove of them at my general conference;” This seems to imply that the offices can be filled and THEN approved at general conference. I’m curious to know your thoughts on this. (Can you notify me if you reply?)

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