There have been a few discussions going on in the bloggernacle about being called of God (or the lack of it). Most of the discussion focuses around past and present bishopric members of various wards talking about how hard it is to staff a ward and that it is impossible to have the stamp of approval from the Lord on every calling extended. I’m not sure what the purpose of their discussion is. They aren’t looking for any answers. They don’t seem to have any intention of correcting the situation. Perhaps it’s just a big pity-fest to help them rationalize why they aren’t doing their callings correctly. who knows?
If we turn to the scriptures, we find in the fifth article of faith that “a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.”
Well, I guess one out of two ain’t bad…
President Packer gave a good talk on callings. He points out that:
“When there is a need for someone to serve, the leaders talk about it and pray about it?¢‚Ç¨‚Äùoften more than once. They seek a confirmation from the Spirit, for calls should be made prayerfully and accepted in the same spirit.”
As a lowly member of the ward, am I asking too much that my leaders follow the prescribed pattern in making callings?
President Packer goes on to say:
“One who has authority to issue a call must rely on inspiration to avoid overburdening those who are always willing.”
I wonder if the reason why these bishoprics have such a problem staffing the ward is because they consistently fail in this one area? This talk is a goldmine in information for anyone issuing callings out of “desperation”.
Let’s see what the handbook says regarding issuing callings:
Doctrines of Callings and Releases
A person must be called of God to serve in the Church (see Articles of Faith 1:5). These callings come as the Holy Ghost inspires presiding officers to issue them. Releases from Church callings should also come by inspiration, except when a person’s change of residence necessitates a release or when a calling is for a specific time period, such as full-time missionary service.
Again, we see the need for inspiration in issuing callings in the church.
So, I guess my question is “why do bishoprics take shortcuts and offer calls of desperation, and then wonder why they have such a hard time staffing the ward?”