26 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.
As part of his argument for changing their system of government, King Mosiah reminded his people of a basic principle of decision-making: a group of people counseling together is more likely to make consistently wise decisions than an individual working alone. Mosiah explained that the people were taking too great a risk by allowing so many significant decisions to be made by a single person. They had been fortunate to have a righteous king in his father, Benjamin, but they couldn’t always count on that (Mosiah 29:13-16). Having heard firsthand the afflictions endured by the people of King Noah, they were well aware of the difficulties they would face under an unrighteous king (Mosiah 29:18). Mosiah warned them that even if a person seemed wise and good, there was no guarantee they would stay that way (Mosiah 29:7-9). And he warned them that an unrighteous king is extremely difficult to dethrone (Mosiah 29:21-23).
Church leaders have emphasized this principle in discussing how the Church is governed. For example, President Gordon B. Hinckley described the importance of counselors in each presidency in the Church:
No president in any organization in the Church is likely to go ahead without the assurance that his counselors feel good about the proposed program. A man or woman thinking alone, working alone, arriving at his or her own conclusions, can take action which might prove to be wrong. But when three kneel together in prayer, discuss every aspect of the problem which is before them, and under the impressions of the Spirit reach a united conclusion, then we may have the assurance that the decision is in harmony with the will of the Lord.
I can assure all members of this church that in the First Presidency we follow such a procedure. Even the President of the Church, who is Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and whose right and responsibility it is to make judgment and direct the course of the Church, invariably consults with his counselors to determine their feelings. If there is a lack of unity, there follows an absence of action. Two counselors, working with a president, preserve a wonderful system of checks and balances (“In…Counselors There Is Safety,” General Conference, October 1990).
In our most recent General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson reaffirmed that this principle applies to the decisions made by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles today:
When we convene as a Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, our meeting rooms become rooms of revelation. The Spirit is palpably present. As we wrestle with complex matters, a thrilling process unfolds as each Apostle freely expresses his thoughts and point of view. Though we may differ in our initial perspectives, the love we feel for each other is constant. Our unity helps us to discern the Lord’s will for His Church.
In our meetings, the majority never rules! We listen prayerfully to one another and talk with each other until we are united. Then when we have reached complete accord, the unifying influence of the Holy Ghost is spine-tingling! We experience what the Prophet Joseph Smith knew when he taught, “By union of feeling we obtain power with God.” No member of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve would ever leave decisions for the Lord’s Church to his own best judgment! (“Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” General Conference, April 2018)
Today, I will remember the importance of counseling with other people as I make decisions. I will follow the pattern of our Church leaders and discuss my decisions with with others, particularly with the people who will be affected by those decisions. I will remember that, as Mosiah taught, a group of people who unite behind a decision are more likely to be right than a single individual making a decision on his or her own.