Taken from the LDS Anarchist blog:
Consider this: When we say we are 13 million members strong, we are lumping together both active and inactive LDS, including those inactives who no longer even consider themselves LDS. According to the Law of the Harvest activity numbers, about 35% of the LDS membership is active worldwide (between 4 and 5 million).
What this means is that when we sit in sacrament meeting and raise our hands in a(n often unanimous) sustaining vote, we active LDS, representing the lesser part of the people, in other words, the minority, are doing the business, while the majority remains silent.
There are a few scriptural lessons to be learned here, taught by Mosiah:
Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people. And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land. (Mosiah 29: 26-27)
First, we, the active minority, are breaking the laws of God. We are doing the business, not the majority.
Second, the scriptural principle is that it is common for us, the voting, active, LDS minority, to desire that which is not right. That is a sobering thought that we might be kept in mind the next time we feel to criticize our inactive brethren.
Third, if the non-voting, inactive, LDS minority are choosing iniquity, as they are counted as the people of the Lord, still listed on the records and numbered by us, then the judgments of God must come upon us.
Should the inactives’ votes be counted?
We count inactive LDS as members of record by saying we have 13 million members, not 4 million members, so, if we see them as full members, shouldn’t we count their votes, too?
When someone is going to be called, should we send the Aaronic Priesthood around to the inactive members’ homes and ask them whether they approve or disapprove? Maybe they could write down on a card their voting preference? Or would this violate some scriptural principle that states they must go to a meeting to cast a vote? By sending messengers to inquire as to how they vote, the church would then be doing its business by the voice of the people, complying with scriptural mandate. Something to consider…
Votes of no-confidence
Or, perhaps the no-shows should be counted as no-confidence votes. Before you say that there are no such things in the church, consider that you have three options when voting. You can raise your hand for, you can raise your hand against, or you can leave your hand down. What does leaving your hand down mean? I think it can only mean a vote of no confidence. Likewise, if you intentionally do not attend a meeting in which a vote is taking place, that can also be construed as a vote of no-confidence.
Now, counting all the inactives who intentionally do not show up for church, and thus intentionally do not vote, as no-confidence votes, poses quite the problem. A majority of no-confidence votes defeats a measure, calling or appointment, doesn’t it? Can you imagine sitting in church when a sustaining vote is called for and you and 34 other people raise hands in approbation while the other 65 people keep their hands down? Do you think such an appointment would go through?
Leaving the status quo as it is
Maybe there is no ideologic problem with leaving the inactives alone, not consulting them for votes, not counting their lack of participation as no-confidence votes, yet counting them as full-fledged members. But I wonder if maybe our current practice is going to eventually get us into trouble with the Lord.