“All Things Shall Be Done by Common Consent in the Church”

Doctrine and Covenants 26:2

2 And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen.

Elder Hyrum M. Smith and Janne M. Sjödahl wrote:

“There are two forms of government. The one-man form does not recognize the right of the governed to a voice in the government. This is called autocracy, and is frequently referred to as ‘paternalism.’ Government by the ‘people’ means the rule of the majority, no matter by what means or methods that majority has been obtained. This is democracy. All human forms of government belong to one of these; they are either autocracies or democracies, or modifications of them. Both have merits, and also defects. In autocracies there is a tendency to disregard individual rights for the benefit of the few; in democracies the danger is that the worst element may obtain preponderance, because citizens of that class will employ means to gain their ends, which citizens with a big moral standard would never adopt. Democracies with party rule sometimes are exposed to all the evils of mob rule.

“In the Church of Christ where the government is that of the Kingdom of Heaven, neither autocracy nor democracy obtains, but government by common consent. That is to say, the initiative in all that pertains to the government of the Church rests with the Head of the Church, even our Lord Jesus Christ, and He exercises this sovereign function through His authorized servants, upon whom He has bestowed the Holy Priesthood: but it is the privilege of the people to accept, or reject, His laws and ordinances, for God has given every individual free agency. Obedience must be voluntary. The government of the Church has been called a theo-democracy. It is the form of government that will be general during the Millennium.”

(The Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, rev. ed. [1951], 131–32.)