A Note On BCC Editorial Practices 

By Common Consent has long thrived as a community where our bloggers may post on any topic they choose, at any time.

On occasion, our bloggers either seek out or offer feedback on each other’s posts. Yesterday, both bloggers and readers expressed concerns about one post, “The Longest, Hardest Calling.”  We decided to take the post offline temporarily and work through concerns and suggested edits.  We hope to bring the post back up soon.  [UPDATE 6pm EST: It’s back up.]

We are committed to providing a forum for the broad Mormon community to engage in faithful, respectful and thoughtful dialogue about all aspects of the Church.


  1. I am curious where and how you choose your authors? I might like to submit something and would like it if you would provide an idea of how one goes about doing that? Thanks.

  2. Hi Embeecee, we review and discuss potential guest posts via email, at admin [at] bycommonconsent.com

  3. Thanks. I recently unsubscribed from Rational Faiths for posting too many hit pieces and don’t want BCC to follow that road.

  4. I wouldn’t put that article back up, I’ve recently been seeing that article being posted on other blogs as an example of “wolves in sheeps clothing.” Instead of working through the concerns and editing it, I’d just apologize, admit I was wrong and move forward.

  5. Poor move. Non-Mormon here, previously interested but skeptical, and it’s the only time I felt inspired to join. I shared it with friends and I hope the new version doesn’t have too many changes because it was inspiring and gave me chills. I should have saved a copy, because it made such a big impact. Could the author make a version available elsewhere?

  6. How is insinuating that President Nelson is responsible for the “spilling of innocent blood” a faithful dialogue?

  7. Thank you for doing this. It was a really bad post and was scathing against our prophet. Was it written by Gina Colvin per chance? ;)

  8. I didn’t ever see the post, and I have been looking for a place where I can work through my feelings on this subject. I want to reconcile my committed loyalty to the Church with my ideals of inclusivity and openness. BCC is often where I find that tension without so often devolving into cynicism or simplistic answers. I hope there’s a way to talk about these things with openness and respect, where we assume good faith and leave out the tribalism. It’s probably naive, but I don’t want to give up on it.

  9. It lives on in the internet archive and Google web cache. And as Valerie notes, together with the Sisters Quorum’s open letter, I am sharing it widely to warn the sheep of the wolves. Cheers.

  10. >”I was never inspired to join the Mormon Church until someone took a dump on the idea of the prophet being called by God. I was THIS CLOSE to joining, seriously.”

  11. I didn’t agree entirely with the post, but I was happy to see someone addressing some of the concerns I’ve had. It’s been almost fifty years since a member of the First Presidency has been released for reasons other than poor health, and it doesn’t do members of the church much good to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that there’s nothing to worry about.

  12. Bro. Jones says:

    I am feeling many different emotions at the moment, but unlike politics, in the Lord’s church we must try to speak each other’s language in order to build up the kingdom. The post in question had moments where it did not make that attempt, but others that did. I feel a retooled version could work.

  13. D Christian Harrison says:

    To all: I’m really excited about the do-over, frankly… and I think—hope?—those who’ve linked to it will find the update even more helpful.

  14. @Tim You are absolutely right, releasing Dieter F Uchtdorf was a dishonorable move. The denying has gotten so bad that even Uchtdorf himself is burying his head in sand!

    In the last couple of days, I have seen countless comments on social media and have heard many questions regarding how I feel now that I am no longer a counselor in the First Presidency. I appreciate your concern for my welfare, but I assure you, I’m just fine. 😃❤️

    I love and support the First Presidency, and I am thrilled to again more closely associate with the other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

    Just after being called to the First Presidency in 2008, I delivered a talk in general conference titled “Lift Where You Stand.” During that address, I discussed the importance of seeing every calling we receive—no matter what it is—as an opportunity to strengthen and bless others and become what Heavenly Father wants us to become. I could give that talk again today and the words I shared would be just as relevant.

    Just a few days ago, Harriet and I spoke to the young people of the Church and made specific reference to how we cannot connect the dots in our lives looking forward. We can only do so looking backward. In hindsight, each of us will see how the dots connect in our lives on a more elevated, spiritual level.

    One of my favorite quotes comes from President Gordon B. Hinckley, who said the following:

    “Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere. No calling in this Church is small or of little consequence. All of us in the pursuit of our duty touch the lives of others.”

    My friends, let us work together on the task at hand—to help all of God’s children know that He has a plan for them and to let them know they can find true joy in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I know that God is in charge. HE is at the helm. HE wants us to serve wherever we are in this beautiful worldwide Church. No matter where we are on this planet and to whichever calling we are assigned, let us do our best to serve God and our fellowman.

  15. I am disappointed by the post’s removal, but also recognize I have little room to cry foul since the author is on board with a revision. Nonetheless, I’ll say why I enjoyed the post so much: While it was one of many posts from BCC that has expressed concern over the leadership of the Church, D. Christian’s post represented to *me* a rare example of such posts that wasn’t hampered by ambiguity or a reason-bending effort to reconcile a ministry that some find incompatible with their idea of the Divine. I’m hoping the revised version reflects the same honesty I found so comforting in the original.

  16. Christian, I look forward to the do-over and will miss your articles if you cannot thereafter continue. I don’t need to agree with everything you write to be able to value increased understanding of your perspective, even when it may be in part a temporary, emotional perspective, or when my understanding remains limited. There was much in that post that can be helpful to some of those who are both troubled by some of Church leadership and seeking a way to be faithful and sustaining.

  17. That’s really disappointing. My wife’s son and I really enjoyed the post.

  18. Christian, I’m sad I missed the original post (work called!), but am looking forward to the updated version. I sincerely appreciate your ability to work through difficult issues with respect, charity, and a clear eye and head.

  19. Christian,

    Your original post helped me to find peace with sustaining our prophet. I found it both thoughtful and generous. I look forward to re-reading.

    Much love to you. Prayers. <3

  20. I am visiting my uncle abroad and happened upon the article while sitting in his comfy chair and perusing various blogs from both sides of the debate. I haven’t quite settled on how I feel about the issue, but I appreciated a candid, if rather firey take. Maybe I’ll try and track down the archived version to show my uncle before we go sightseeing later.

  21. @Wilhelm: not a joke. I e-mailed friends about it. For at least one outsider (me), I can say I would take it for granted that prophets are uninspired, to say the least. What was so shocking in the post was the care and love of the person behind the post. Sorry you missed it.

  22. Jason–
    Please don’t put words in my mouth. As far as President Uchtdorf’s public reaction, I would expect nothing less from him.

  23. I know when a prophet dies and a new one is called, first thing I think about is “What’s in it for me?”
    That post showed me that it’s okay to think that and I’m disappointed that it’s going to be changed.

  24. The post reminded me very much of how I felt when Trump was elected. I had the impression Harrison was aiming high, or wanting to aim high, but the bitterness was too strong. The digs undermined it terribly. For example, while arguing that one doesn’t have to consent to a leader to still sustain them, “sustaining” meaning to love them (in spite of their unfitness and deplorable decisions), he let fly “Moreover, while my concerns about one individual may be well-founded and soundly reasoned, I’m not a heart surgeon; I can’t withhold my love with any sort of precision”. It really is hard to love someone you despise, and working it in front of someone can seem intimate or repellant, depending on the person. To work it out publicly guarantees you’re going to get some of both.

    I felt like I immediately knew what was coming, though, when he began the post by saying, in essence, “if you don’t agree then maybe you should take this opportunity to learn a little empathy” (my paraphrase). I’ve heard that enough now that it reminds me of John Dehlin’s “just asking questions” line.

  25. *working though it in front, or *working it out in front

  26. We are taking some time to more finely tune our subversive campaign to turn the LDS church into the Rocky Mountain Episcopal Church of Latter Day Literary Scriptural Analysis.

  27. For me at least it was good to finally read a faithful mormon state honestly what I a mormon who wants, but struggles to be faithful, see: The church’s apostles and prophets have spilled the blood of children. Now what do I tell my husband’s child when his mothers bring him over? No you still can’t get baptized. It’s so painful!

  28. @CM
    >pushes glasses up nose
    Well, we’ll keep the “Latter-day.” We don’t wish to be associated with THOSE people.

  29. I found the piece to be a careful, considered, moving attempt to reconcile conscience with faithfulness. The fact that even such well-reasoned and elaborately cushioned criticism of the leadership was too much for the writers on this website says a lot about the problem of authoritarianism in the church.

  30. “So now, not only are we pained by the ascent of President Nelson to the highest office of the Church, our wounds are salted with the knowledge that it didn’t have to be this way.”

    I don’t get why the author loaths president Nelson so much. I get that he said the Nov 2015 policy was revelation is pretty upsetting, but at the end of the day it is Gods will that he is the prophet.

    “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”

    Why does the author take it upon himself to write an article condemning revelation and pitting himself against the Lord’s annointed?

  31. Wilhelm, we would expect nothing less from you. It’s depressing how quick some of y’all are to pounce on perceived weaknesses of any kind.

  32. @Steve Evens,

    Can you give us readers and loyal followers more specifics on why you took down the post? What policy did it violate?

    While I echo some of the critical comments others have made about the post–I was confused by a handful of the author’s assertions and tone–overall I think a discussion about the changes to the first presidency is worth having, and even the process by which church presidents are selected.

    In full disclosure, I read the post once before it was taken down, and a quick read at that. I may be missing obvious details that would have come from a second, more careful reading. By the time I came back to the blog last night it had been taken down.

    I am hopeful the post can be revised and reposted, or a new one crafted. Not only is returning Elder Uchtdorf to the Quorum of the Twelve worth discussing, President Oaks’ installation is perhaps even more worthy of discussion. It seems to me the changes signal retrenchment and a righthand turn.

  33. BigSky, fair questions and yes, the post will be revised and reposted soon. I agree that the changes are all worth discussing.

  34. I suppose it’s dangerous to wonder aloud what it would look like for a church that has been veering so hard right for so long were to make a righthand turn.

    I appreciated the article and look forward to its return, though I don’t entirely share its viewpoint.

    I’m a faithful LDS Mormon and don’t consider disagreement and criticism to be inconsistent with faith and faithfulness, in and of themselves. But I understand (but disagree with) the viewpoint of a lot of my fellow Mormons that any criticism or open dismay is a lack of faithfulness or a failure to sustain.

    It’s interesting to see people dismayed about Uchtdorf’s return to the Q12 after a time period characterized by a lot of those same people dismayed by a very old and infirm church President and some very troubling policies that seemed driven by certain members of the Q12 (e.g. Nelson). It’s troubling to me that Uchtdorf himself, in his FB post, seems to also view his return to the Q12 as a demotion – reflected by the tone of the piece and it’s seeming to view the call to the 1P as a promotion in the first place. To the extent that Uchtdorf has had an influence on the opinions and decisions of his fellow Apostles, I would assume that influence relied on persuasion independent of the chain of command. Or I would hope so, anyway. The thought of Uchtdorf, to whom I look up, using his position as a 1P member to get his fellow Apostles to agree with him is a bummer, because I would hope he wouldn’t do that. But maybe he did? I don’t doubt that others would.

  35. sgnm, FWIW, I didn’t read Elder Uchtdorf’s post at all as viewing his return to the 12 as a demotion. He was clearly responding to people that did, but I don’t think his post meant that he sees it that way.

  36. Thank you for the information! :)

  37. JKC, Yeah, I agree with that. I was just kind of disappointed that he didn’t address that head-on and write “you guys, it’s not a demotion – 1P is just an assignment, not a promotion, GOSH!”

  38. If you read the DOM biography, it makes it very clear how much more powerful the FP is compared to the Q12. I don’t think the structure of the leadership has changed since then. It’s like asking if there is a difference between being in the stake presidency and being a member of the High Council in terms of the leadership and direction of a stake. Of course there is. It’s night and day.

  39. Also, I’m not sure why members of the last FP get a “pass” (if you want to call it that) on the recent controversial issues, whereas RMN gets lambasted. The FP is much more influential and powerful.

  40. I am sharing it widely to warn the sheep of the wolves. Cheers.

    I mean, it’s almost like you’re usurping the role of prophet. Sketchy.

  41. D Christian Harrison says:

    The original post has been edited and split in two:

    The Longest, Hardest Calling…

    Mystery, if We’ll Have It

    As I say at the top of TLHC:

    Feedback I received in the hours after I posted this essay made it clear to me that the structure and word choice of the original obscured my intent—namely, to ask how one balances serious reservations about President Nelson and disappointment in the Quorum of the Twelve with a deep and abiding desire to sustain them and the work of God’s Kingdom, which they are called to administer. Ironically, the original post highlighted just how hard it is to strike such a balance… Thankfully, online, PUBLISH isn’t the end of the story.

  42. Wow, I forgot how nasty bloggernacle comments can get. Mormons are a nasty lot. I guess I still fit in in that regard.

  43. Some people seem to struggle when someone criticizes their reality distortion field. I was sad to see the post watered down.

  44. D Christian Harrison says:

    I like what a commenter on Twitter said: write like Moroni, edit like Pahoran. I read these two posts and they’re still very much me. In most ways, they’re what the first post should have been: well-constructed, pithy, worded to invite open hearts and minds.

  45. Nunya Bidniss says:

    OP: “We are committed to providing a forum for the broad Mormon community to engage in faithful, respectful and thoughtful dialogue…”

    I’ve been reading BCC for YEARS and have rarely seen this shine through in the posts, and especially the comments. It just hasn’t ever been those three things. You get fleeting passes at each, in its turn.
    There’s dismissive talk in the comments about a Reality Distortion Field enacted by faithful members, but that has NOTHING on the pot/kettle situation of BCC’s bloggers and the sanctimony that they and the shout-down commenters regularly put on display.

    The deleted-returned-post (revised?!) contains (1) attempted emotional blackmail directed at 1P-supportive members, (2) blood libel against President Nelson, (3) a call for repentance of the President (where repentance in this case means “change a policy to fit with my desire which is OBVIOUSLY the right one”), (4) a dismissal of Revelation as the method by which the 1P and Q12 seek to work, or even as a thing at all. I could go on. I’ve noted a dozen more passive-aggressive and active attacks from the revised post.

    I’m surprised it took ALL THAT to finally get some of the permas to take notice of the quality of the water in the pool they’ve cultivated here. It’s probably because they’re swimming in it fairly often, so they’re used to it.

    “[The posts are] what the first post should have been: well-constructed, pithy, worded to invite open hearts and minds.”

    Still missed the mark on all counts. I can’t imagine what the original was like, then (actually, I can. Like I said I’ve been reading BCC for years). Your sackcloth-and-ashes-show of your sacrifice to sustain people who you deem as obviously misguided has been successfully accepted by the bloggernacle and BCC. For whatever that’s worth.

  46. Nunmy Bidness (a distant cousin) says:

    Nunya Bidniss seems to have a narrow definition of “faithful” and possibly of “sustain,” but has made a “thoughtful” comment even if it is not at all “respectful” and seems to distort what is actually in the revised post to some extent making me wonder whether, like some other comments, it may be more emotional than thoughtful.

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