Saturday afternoon, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, led the semi-annual sustaining of Church leaders at general conference. When Uchtdorf asked if any opposed the sustaining of the prophet, First Presidency, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, voices could be heard in the conference center shouting “opposed.”
KUTV reports that at least five people participated in vocal oppositions to leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The group, Any Opposed?, encouraged members in good standing who oppose the leadership of the Church to attend the Saturday afternoon session of conference and when the opposing vote is asked for, to stand with the hand raised to the square and say “opposed.” The group also encouraged participants to “bring a letter addressing your reasons for voting opposed so that you will have something to give to a church representative if given that opportunity.”
Uchtdorf acknowledged the opposing votes stating, “the vote has been noted.” After all of the votes had been taken, Uchtdorf thanked the members for their “faith and prayers in behalf of the leaders of the Church” and encouraged members who opposed any of the proposals to contact their stake presidents.
Many members in support of President Thomas S. Monson and the other Church leaders have responded in the way of today: social media. The #isustain campaign has flooded Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with users posting their love and support for their beloved leaders.
In addition to simple, yet profound, social media posts, others have taken to blogging in support of sustaining Monson, his counselors, and the apostles. April McMurtney published a blog post to SomethingToShoutAbout.org, sharing how she will proceed to show her love and support for the leaders of the Church.
In her post, McMurtney wrote about her feelings of sadness when she heard the opposing votes and how her eyes welled up with tears. “I wanted to raise my hand even higher,” wrote McMurtney. “I wanted to stand when I raised it! I wanted to shout ‘YES!’ I wanted the world to know I sustained the prophet. And especially, I wanted the prophet to know I sustained the prophet.”
McMurtney contemplated with a friend what the best way would be to show the prophet that she supported him. Then, she thought, “What would the prophet want?” Moving away from her ideas of sending a million paper hands to Monson or creating a Facebook event, McMurtney decided that her beloved church leader, President Monson, would prefer “a million single, living, breathing, committed hearts to his King and ours – Jesus Christ.”
“So, to sustain my prophet, whom I love dearly, I will do something to show my support. I will defend him. I will share his words. I will do what I have been counseled to do during this conference and all the others. Then, slowly, I will begin to become something better. I will not just say I will do something, or intend to be better, or raise my hand without thought. I will commit to KEEP TRYING, until I become more like my Savior. I think that’s what he would want, and what the Lord would want.”
Erin Hallstrom, a writer for LDS Living, was in attendance at the Conference Center when individuals expressed their opposing votes. However, for her, the experience was a positive one in the sense that it strengthened her testimony. “Today’s vote allowed me to think deeper about my commitment and faith. I wasn’t expecting it, but today’s opposing voters strengthened my sustaining vote. And I don’t think I’m alone.” Hallstrom continued, writing, “I can’t remember a time when the congregation sang the intermediate hymn with more gusto. Tears came to my eyes when loudly and with resolve 20,000 in the Conference Center were joined by members around the world in singing the words, “We thank thee, oh God, for a prophet!”
This is not the first time vocal opposition has been expressed during general conference. The last time this occurred was approximately 30 years ago when a member of the then-First Presidency called for a sustaining vote for then-President Spencer W. Kimball. When the occurrence took place in the early 1980’s, those in opposition were escorted from the building. This time around, the naysayers were allowed to remain in their seats and listen to the session.