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In a lot of ways, I was an unconventional elders quorum president. It’s been over six months since I was released, but I was going over the collective six years I served two terms as elders quorum president. I realised some of the initiatives I took wouldn’t be seen in your average elders quorum.

Here are a handful:

  • Assigning an 18-year-old elder as a home teaching companion to a 17-year-old priest
  • Announcing the presidency would no longer phone for home teaching reports, but expected the companionships to phone us
  • Accepting service done for an assigned family as home teaching even if no message was left
  • Calling an 18-year-old priest as a secretary
  • Assigning my counsellors to attend ward council quarterly
  • Fighting to prevent advancement to high priest based on age

Have you done anything unconventional in your calling?

19 thoughts on “Unconventional

  1. Ignoring the scouting program as a YM pres, Not out of apathy or laziness like it usually gets ignored. Deliberately. We still ended up doing all of the stuff, but no uniforms, ceremonies or badges. Ever. My young men could have checked off all of the boxes and got all their awards if they wanted to. They didn’t. They actually cared about personal development and service for their own sakes, not for awards or recognition. Really proud of them for that. Basically I treated every activity as having 1 main purpose. Other purposes were present, but the main one was to build the necessary relationships with the boys so that they would actually pay attention for 45 minutes on Sunday morning. Excellent results with this approach.

    Also ignoring fast offering collections, but I did this in a very passive-aggressive way. I would argue that it was intrusive and outdated and caused more negatives than it generated positives. I would be instructed to do it anyway. I’d say “sure, we’ll talk about it in our next presidency meeting”. Then I wouldn’t mention it again until it came up again in PEC 6-8 months later. Repeat cycle. Totally worked.

    Beard and colored shirts in YM, EQP and Bishopric. Just to stick it to the man :)

  2. jjackson, I am pretty sure ignoring the Scouting programme is conventional. ;-)

    I went with the beard, too, but only because I hate shaving.

  3. Yeah, I know scouting gets ignored, but I actually told people I outright. Parents were not pleased….

  4. I am currently the YM president. We have at least two boys who are totally gung-ho about scouting. I applaud them for it, and hope to help them get their Eagles. Actually, they both just need the project to finish up. Also, we have two young men who are turning 12 in the next couple of months who love scouting, so, I plan on helping them out.

    Other than that, we have at least 2 or more that refuse to do any scouting activities at all. I’m having to somehow balance the two. I’m trying to do similar to jjackson did and have meaningful activities that will help the boys who want to earn merit badges and still reach the boys who hate scouting. It can be a fine line. So far it has worked fine.

    I think scouting can be an important and effective program, but often, some boys get left at the curb because it really isn’t for them.


    I can see doing any of those things you mentioned, and have seen most of them done at one time or another in the wards I have attended, all except for calling an 18 year old priest as secretary. That one is one I haven’t seen before.

  5. Calling an 18yo as my 2nd counselor the week after he was made an Elder (and 3 months before his MTC due date). It felt right and now he is getting ready to leave I have another kid from my ymp days returning off his mission next week to replace him. Some how it all felt like the right choice when I pondered it, so maybe not so unconventional after all.

  6. EQP’s don’t call counselors. Stake presidents do. EQP’s make a recommendation.

    Just sayin’…

  7. No kidding EQPs don’t call counselors. But I sort of thought it was general practice to rubber stamp whoever they recommend…that is until I tried to recommend some. It was even worse when I tried to call a secretary. I’d get a list of “availables”. I’d pick one. Then get told no. I’d get another list with a star beside the name that was the last person I wanted in pres. meetings. So I’d pick someone else and get told no. Then I’d get asked to consider the same name that had the star and be given another list. I’d pick someone else. This went several rounds. I was annoyed at first, but then I just started having fun with it. They finally figured out that I was messing with them. Then it wasn’t so much fun anymore.

  8. Technically, you do call the secretary.

    If I had to do it all over again, I would offer my suggestions for counselors and if any of them were turned down, I wouldn’t offer any other names. Same for secretary.

    If that means that I’m flying solo, so be it. That’s pretty much the only thing I’d do differently.

  9. Yes you are correct – but I am such a spiritual giant the SP could do nothing but approve everything I said or risk the consequences from above :-)

    The kid is a great counselor. He is an Eagle Scout who completed all the merit badges. State champion and national finalist in the science fair, saved enough money running his own business to pay for all of college if he had to (scholarships everywhere). No worries there and he is off to Mongolia real soon.

  10. JM – I thought I did use the word “call” referring to the secretary. But it always has to be approved by the Bishop, and that’s where the problems arose. I should have taken your approach right off the bat instead of my passive-aggressive tactics, it would have saved a lot of trouble.

  11. Whenever we had a calling to fill, we would consider several names. We would let the bishop know were going to choose from these names. That would give him time to let us know if any of them were being considered for a different calling or if they were unworthy to serve. Then we would discuss it at our next meeting, make a decision, and pray about it. Once we received unanimous confirmation, we told the bishop who we picked. He never turned us down at the end stage.

  12. Based on what my DH says, you’re actually pretty conventional-at least, judging by the wards we’ve been in. I’m not sure about the last point on HP advancement, but most of the men we’ve seen become HPs, about 75% were under 40.

  13. Interesting, the things I had listed I haven’t seen done by other elders quorum presidents. Granted, I have had only 9.

  14. On second thought, the wards we’ve been in have been pretty unconventional, but you wouldn’t know it by looking, well, maybe in this current one you could tell, haha. I think our current bishop kind of likes the “unconventional.” The 2nd counselor in the bishopric has a “stubble” beard and wore a dark gray shirt on the stand a couple of weeks ago….ooo, what a rebel!

  15. IMHO, the only reason why the bishop has anything to do with any call in the EQ would be because of a known worthyness issue. Period.

    The elders quorum is a stake quorum. Bishop = ward level callings. Does the bishop get veto power on any other stake level calling? Not in my experience. Why he does in the EQ is a mystery to me.

    If the EQP wants to call someone as secretary, then the only reason why he needs to consult with the bishop is in case there is a worthyness issue. If there isn’t, there shouldn’t be any issue with issuing a call.

    Same goes for the counselors, but those come from the Stake President.

    It’s not that the bishop approves it. He is just privy to information that the EQP may not know.

    re: 13, Kim, you had a nice bishop. but it shouldn’t matter if he was being considered for another call. The elders quorum is a stake level call.

  16. I think it matters, if only for courtesy. I hated it when the stake poached people I already called. I wouldn’t want to upset someone because I pulled away a person they were going to call to their organization.

    That being said, the one time my bishop said I could have someone, I talked him into doing it anyhow, and he ended up being the worst secretary I ever had.

  17. Very interesting post..Being unconventional can lead to great things. I’m sure a lot of people benefited from the unconventional things you did.

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