A Ground Rule from the Doctrine of Christ
Perhaps we have suffered a great error by not including the following in our quotes of Christ’s doctrine:
“And there shall be no disputations among you as there hath hitherto been, neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine as there hath hitherto been. For verily, verily I say unto you, He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the Devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger one against another, but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.” 3 Nephi 5:8 NC
This comes right before our normal quote and is stated explicitly as part of His doctrine.
This is important for our non-hierarchical open and accepting movement which has sometimes been likened in process to the following part of the Savior’s wedding feast parable:
“Go you therefore into the highways, and as many as you shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all, as many as they found, both bad and good, and the wedding was furnished with guests.” Matthew 10:18 NC
We have been instructed only to ask if those wishing to be baptized believe the doctrine of Christ. After baptism, we have been instructed to record their names. We have not been given any modern-day instruction from the Lord about any process to blot out those names for transgression similar to Mosiah 11:20-23 NC. Neither should we want it, in my opinion.
It may be that the Lord’s servants, presumably angels, will take care of this process later, since we gather both good and bad now. The parable continues:
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man who had not a wedding garment. . . . Then the king said unto his servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take and cast him away into outer darkness.” Matthew 10:19 NC
However, for now we have something from the doctrine which can settle disputes. If we say we agree to the doctrine of Christ by baptism, then we consent to not disputing concerning the points of His doctrine.
Therefore, we have already mutually agreed as a body of believers to have any proposal we submit to be scrutinized as a disputation if it seems contentious.
As a last resort, the body does not need any further consent to vote to say an individual proposal is contentious and will not be counted as a vote for that item in discussion. The person who advanced it can still participate in any other item up for discussion, or even the same item provided they don't advance the same argument, or another dispute.
This is all based on the philosophy that contentious arguments are not valid proposals in the body of Christ, even if the content is OK to consider. It's the idea that "I'm going to hold this argument and arrest common consent until you comply" which must be rejected if we want to avoid filibusters (the definition of a filibuster is to act in an obstructive manner in decision making, especially by long speeches, but it can also be by contention).
I could be wrong. IF we want filibusters in this movement, then we should agree to allow filibusters. This is the crux of the decision here. This is about filibustering, not about the content of a proposal. We can consider the content as an option without it being in the context of a contentious filibuster. This does not reject any minority positions, which can be considered until resolved. It only rejects contentious behavior by any given minority. It is not common that a majority is unified enough to coordinate a contentious attack on a minority (Mosiah 13:6 NC). A majority is usually a group of people with diverse opinions, who have negotiated agreement on one item, and their agreement is tenuous. In fact, our majority can agree to listen to minorities until we reach unanimous mutual agreement, while only rejecting contentious behavior.
If the doctrine of Christ inherently rejects filibusters in our councils (as in, it's defined as disputing the points of His doctrine), then we already agreed that filibustering isn't allowed in decisions by the body. We don't have to be like Congress, where they allow disputations, even though it is orderly disputations. We are trying to learn to council without that part of the process. That may seem un-American. But, as Adrian has aptly pointed out, we are striving to be children of God as our main pursuit. We still get to persuade and council and dissent and renegotiate, just not dispute.
Dispute is defined as:
It is distinct from dissenting.
There is some overlap in the definitions, which causes ambiguity and confusion, but I believe taken overall, the meanings can be distinguished.
The meaning given by the Lord for “Mutual Agreement” is “as between one another, you choose not to dispute.” Perhaps that means we have the freedom as a body to reject disputes that individuals offer that hold up the body, because even with persuasion, we can’t convince everyone. But, always remembering that we do not reject the people who do so:
“And behold, ye shall meet together oft, and ye shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together, but suffer them that they may come unto you and forbid them not. But ye shall pray for them and shall not cast them out, and if it so be that they come unto you oft, ye shall pray for them unto the Father in my name. Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold, I am the light which ye shall hold up: that which ye have seen me do.” 3 Nephi 8:8 NC
I have written some thoughts on how these principles can be applied in the comments of the post called “An Invitation” on March 31, 2018 https://guideandstandard.blogspot.com/2018/03/an-invitation.html . I also summarized them on my blog here: http://www.cachevalleybaptisms.org/2018/04/one-possible-implentation.html .
There are numerous ways these ideas could be implemented. These links are merely brainstorming. The principles above are more important.