Several people have asked the scriptures committee to just go ahead and publish the “lots” statement of principles as part of the new scriptures. Frankly, there are some on the committee that feel we should do so. After all, the “Lots document" has gotten more support than any other document to date. The problem is that there is at least one other document, and there may be more, that appear to satisfy the Lord’s requirements. And, we know that there is support for those documents. Exactly how much support we can’t say. This puts us in an uncomfortable position. Can we ignore the wishes of a minority whose size we don’t know? We don’t think that is a good idea.
However, there appears to be a solution to this logjam.
On February 9th a group proposed a new vote on a statement of principles, and asked the scriptures committee to agree to publish whichever statement of principles (guide and standard) was chosen using that voting process. After considering the matter, the committee believes that the proposal provides the best opportunity that has been presented for all of us to come to mutual agreement on a guide and standard.
We frankly can’t see much downside to this proposal. If, as many believe, there is overwhelming support for the “Lots document", then this vote will put that question to rest once and for all. If, on the other hand, the vote reveals that there is still a widespread difference of opinion regarding which G&S is best, then this vote will reveal it. In either case, another vote clarifies the matter for all to see.
But the proposed vote has another huge advantage. It gives those who may prefer a document other than the majority’s choice the chance to stand up at the conference and voluntarily choose to not dispute. We think that the setting for this vote is important. We believe that in a conference, meeting together to hear the word of the Lord, hearts may be softened and there may be a unique opportunity for the Spirit to help us come to unity on this matter. We don’t believe that this vote will lead to further dissension; we trust that the body of believers desires to obey the Lord’s command and is anxious to finish this assignment. We believe that given the opportunity to do so the great majority will choose unity over disputation.
Which brings us to the final advantage of this proposal. Let’s say that the conference can come to near unanimity regarding a G&S, but that there are a few who remain opposed. This vote gives us a way to try to lovingly persuade those in opposition, but it also gives us a way to move forward despite that opposition.
This committee takes seriously its obligation to produce a set of scriptures acceptable to the Lord. We feel confident that this approach is acceptable to the Lord, given our weakness as a people. The scripture committee agrees to publish whichever guide and standard is chosen by this vote. However, there are many opportunities built into this process which allow the people to stop the process if they choose. If no one submits any statements of principle that they wish to be considered for inclusion in the scripture, the vote comes to an end. If there is no clear majority preference of any particular G&S, the vote comes to an end. If at the conference the minority does not vote overwhelmingly to accept the majority’s preference, the vote comes to an end. If there are a few remaining dissenting votes, but the majority decides not to adopt the guide and standard anyway, then the vote comes to an end. No one should feel this vote is being forced on the conference; at every turn it will stop if the people choose not to go ahead.
We invite you to ask the Lord for yourselves if this approach is acceptable to him. If the Spirit confirms to you that this process is acceptable to the Lord, please use your influence to support it.