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bclaggett

Accept TWO callings, or not?

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I was released from one calling on Sunday and asked to take on two to replace it. When I got the early Sunday morning phone call to come in for a meeting with the Bishop, I told myself I would not decide until I had time to submit the decision to prayer. That's where I'm at, and I'd like some input from other members. Would you take on two callings if it potentially conflicted with your family's economic livelihood and your personal callings in life?

I was released Sunday from the Young Men's presidency after about one year as Scoutmaster and 2nd Counselor. This has been a challenging calling with only 5 - 8 Aaronic Priesthood youth who attend YM during the week, but I've done the best I could, though I grew up a non-member in traditional Scouting and think it's much better.

So I was asked first in a meeting with the Bishop to become the Weblos leader. He said I can do it pretty much any night of the week I want. He told me they had another calling in mind for me as well, and that a brother from the Stake would be issuing that call. I told the Bishop I had concerns about being able to fulfill two callings: I've been largely unemployed for the past year. (If my father had not given us a significant gift, we would likely have lost our house. The Bishop knows my tithing total, so he's not completely ignorant of my situation.) I told the Bishop that taking care of my family's needs has got to come first. (We have four sons 8-14.) He said let's wait on the Weblos calling and you talk to the brother from the Stake.

The Brother from the Stake asks me if I am willing to "accept a calling to serve the Lord" or something like that. Talk about putting you in a box. Of course I said yes. Then he asked if I would serve as Ward Membership Clerk. "What's it involve?" I ask. "Two to three hours a week updating records, people moving in, people moving out, entering new callings..." he said. "Well, I could do that..." I ventured. (Keeping records is a no-brainer, I thought to myself. I already know most of the software.) "Great, let's get your wife in here..." and I stopped him. "Please understand, I promised myself I would study any calling offered me and submit it to prayer before I accepted." He was definitely shocked. He listened to my reasoning and then brought my wife in. He explained the calling, and I deferred my decision as I said I would.

During Sacrament meeting the Weblos leader was called to replace me as 2nd Counselor, and they called a new fellow to fill the empty 1st Counselor position.

My wife is Pioneer stock; I'm a convert of 16+ years. She's a bit taken aback that I would even consider saying "no" to a calling. I told her what she already knows: I have received personal revelation from God that He has two great callings for me that have nothing do do with church: the first is a business He has called me to build, and the second is an organization He has called me to lead. Each requires, depending on the week, from 5-10 hours of time per week. My business requires 2-3 evenings a week and at least one Saturday a month. My responsibilities to the organization take me out of town for a weekend once a month, and I will spend two full weeks next summer with that organization. Both of these are demanding and my Bishop knows nothing of them.

Before I converted, my first bishop taught me to always study out my decisions and submit them to the Lord for confirmation. Brigham Young taught "the greatest fear I have is that the people of this Church will accept what we say as the will of the Lord without first praying about it and getting the witness within their own hearts that what we say is the word of the Lord." (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye In Holy Places, pp. 162-3, "The Prophet, Seer, and Revelator," Address delivered to seminary and institute teachers, BYU, July 8, 1964)

So I am studying and gathering information about the two callings before I make a decision and submit it to prayer. We have a smaller ward and there are not enough warm, active bodies to go around. I believe I could manage the Weblos calling. I called a former membership clerk and asked him how much time he put in each week. “12-15 hours,” he said. “Visiting new move-ins to verify their address, to get a phone number, track down families who have moved with no forwarding address…” and just simple record-keeping, printing reports, updating records. That time requirement was a bit of a shock.

I’m anxious to let the Bishop and the Brother from the Stake know what Heavenly Father has answered. I know He will give me direction.

Has anyone else ever said "no" to a calling with a clean conscience? Let me know what you think!

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Yeesh. I was a membership clerk, and I never spent anywhere near 12-15 hours a week. Ever. I didn't visit anybody. Just the reports and record updating. My experience was more along the lines of what your SP describes.

As for your dilemma about 2 callings, I'm a big fan of being upfront with my church leaders. If I'm out of work now, but will be very busy later, I tell them that. "I'm happy to do both callings right now. Please be aware that in a couple of months, I will no longer be able to do them both." Something like that.

I also was Exec Sec, and sat in meetings where the Bishopric discussed callings. Both Bishops I served under expressed frustration at people just not leveling with them.

Level with them - that's my advice.

LM

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Based on what I am reading, I would commit to prayer after you make your own decision what is right for you and your family livelihood. Having one calling and seeking to magnify it 100-percent, should always be your goal for the Savior. Having two callings, will hinder you from giving one of them your total attention.

Yes, one time I did say no to Bishop but for good reasons he was not aware of. It was not his fault since callings comes by either 'aspiration or it come by inspiration". ^_^

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It's funny you should suggest I "level" with him -- I'm not trying to hide anything.

But there's a paradox in your suggestion: if the Bishop is inspired by God when he selected me, as he's supposed to be, then God already knows what else I'm doing. If the calling is from God, then why do I need to explain these temporal affairs to the Bishop?

I think this neatly illustrates the dilemma of the cultural (or is it doctrinal?) mandate that tells members to accept whatever calling you are given without question. When I told the Brother from the Stake that I would have to pray about it, he had a "deer in the headlights" look on his face that I will remember for a long time. (It was kind of funny actually.)

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I think this neatly illustrates the dilemma of the cultural (or is it doctrinal?) mandate that tells members to accept whatever calling you are given without question. When I told the Brother from the Stake that I would have to pray about it, he had a "deer in the headlights" look on his face that I will remember for a long time. (It was kind of funny actually.)

:lol: Same here when I find out I was picked for the current calling. I had to go back to the Savior and ask why me...^_^

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Guest Alana

Just go for it. If you were working full time you could still fit those in. 2-3 hours for membership clerk really does sound more reasonable. Besides, like you said, pray for an answer. You'll get it, and if the answer is to trust your judgment, you have my vote of confidence.

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I was called to work in the nursery on the day my son was old enough to attend. I was struggling at home (a stay at home mother and during the winter months in Utah) and spiritually, trying to keep the motivation to stay active and live the gospel the way I knew I should. It was the first time I've ever contemplated saying no to a calling. I talked it out with my mother and a few close friends, most of them encouraging me to let the bishopric know of my current situation, making sure that they know I am willing to serve, but that I'm having a difficult time. Ultimately I accepted the calling and never had the opportunity to speak with anyone about my concerns. The nursery was in need of a lot of help, with the current leaders never showing up and parents of children coming in to take care of it. I was needed, so I did it. I served for 2 months before meeting with the bishop to get a recommendation for marriage counseling as things at home didn't improve as I hoped that they might if I served with faith. As I finally told my bishop what I was going through, his immediate reaction was, "I'd like to release you from nursery. There are others who can serve at this time and you need to be taking care of yourself, your home, and your marriage."

Yes, I think it's important to explain circumstances to leaders when they are extending a call. I believe that callings are inspired, but that people aren't perfect (those extending the call or those being called). Sometimes the result of an inspired calling isn't that the calling is accepted. If I had been able to talk to my bishop about my concerns, he would have been aware of circumstances in our home 2 months sooner. Who knows what it would have changed, but I always try to remember that the Lord's purposes are rarely seen clearly by his children. I now have relationships with many children and parents that I wouldn't have had without my SHORT service in nursery, and I'm sure there are other reasons that the situation happened the way it did.

ANYWAY, what I'm saying is, be willing to serve, but don't be afraid to let your leaders in on your personal circumstances. We are all human, and struggling through this thing called life together.

Oh, and I did get a calling - I now the piano in Relief Society.

Edited by Honor

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well i currently serving 3 callings now i am the assistant ward clerk a EQ teacher and i am in charge of the ward calander as for finincial issues i know how that is i only take in about 600 a month grant it i dont have a family as of yet but i do not think i would ever turn down a calling.

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I also have 2 callings at the moment. I am a Sunday School Teacher (16-17 year olds) and I'm on the activity committee for the Elders quorum. Granted the second calling is very easy (no meetings yet and it's been 2 months), and I team teach with another Elder in the Ward, so the burden isn't that great. I'm not sure that I would ever turn down a calling, unless I felt extremely bad about it.

Funny story: I was sitting in Sacrament meeting a couple of years ago, when they called my name and announced to the ward that I was the new Singles Rep for the ward. This was a shock to me, as no one had talked to me about it. I was sustained, then quickly whisked off to the Bishop's Office afterwards to see if I would accept the calling. :lol:

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President Eyring said the Lord magnifies those who magnify their callings. Some times we as members of the church look at our callings as something we "have" to do ... not something we get to do. I was out of work for nearly a year ... the longest time in my life. I had one calling when I lost my job when I went back to work I had 2 and 1 volunteering situation within the church. The more I worked for the Lord the better it got. I now have a wonderful job with bennies ... maybe this was the blessing for the patience the Lord was trying to teach me. I have added a 2nd volunteer situation now that I can do more.

The Lord will never give you anything that you can't handle and if you believe as I do that the leaders are called and inspired then your circumstances have already been taken into consideration. Go with your heart and the spirit not your head. If you accept jump in with both feet and serve like everything depends on you and let the Lord handle the rest. It works ... and you were called for a reason. Maybe there is someone in those records than needs to be found and working with the youth is so very important. they need good leaders if we expect to keep them where they need to be.

I am the Relief Society Secretary and teach the 14-15 years olds in Sunday School. I adore those kids. I also do Family search indexing and volunteer at the temple each month in one of the non ordinace functions. For me this makes my life so very much better.

Prayer is te answer but instead of asking if you should accept the calling sask the Lord to bless you and your family so that you can fill your calling faithfully. Amazing what a difference in wording makes.

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President Eyring said the Lord magnifies those who magnify their callings. Some times we as members of the church look at our callings as something we "have" to do ... not something we get to do. I was out of work for nearly a year ... the longest time in my life. I had one calling when I lost my job when I went back to work I had 2 and 1 volunteering situation within the church. The more I worked for the Lord the better it got. I now have a wonderful job with bennies ... maybe this was the blessing for the patience the Lord was trying to teach me. I have added a 2nd volunteer situation now that I can do more.

The Lord will never give you anything that you can't handle and if you believe as I do that the leaders are called and inspired then your circumstances have already been taken into consideration. Go with your heart and the spirit not your head. If you accept jump in with both feet and serve like everything depends on you and let the Lord handle the rest. It works ... and you were called for a reason. Maybe there is someone in those records than needs to be found and working with the youth is so very important. they need good leaders if we expect to keep them where they need to be.

I am the Relief Society Secretary and teach the 14-15 years olds in Sunday School. I adore those kids. I also do Family search indexing and volunteer at the temple each month in one of the non ordinace functions. For me this makes my life so very much better.

Prayer is te answer but instead of asking if you should accept the calling sask the Lord to bless you and your family so that you can fill your calling faithfully. Amazing what a difference in wording makes.

Actually, He will give you a calling to enlarge your soul for growth and provide the way to accomplish it.

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It's funny you should suggest I "level" with him -- I'm not trying to hide anything.

But there's a paradox in your suggestion: if the Bishop is inspired by God when he selected me, as he's supposed to be, then God already knows what else I'm doing. If the calling is from God, then why do I need to explain these temporal affairs to the Bishop?

because we all still have our agency.

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But there's a paradox in your suggestion: if the Bishop is inspired by God when he selected me, as he's supposed to be, then God already knows what else I'm doing. If the calling is from God, then why do I need to explain these temporal affairs to the Bishop?

A few months ago, our Bishop addressed a combined Priesthood/RS group in the third hour and talked about callings. He told us explicitly that no, inspiration is not involved in every calling. He figures that God relies heavily on him to use his God-given powers of reason, and the Bishop relies heavily on the ward to be upfront with him so his reasoning is based on reality. Of course, many callings are indeed guided by the spirit, and many potential callings are not extended because of the spirit. But it's not a blanket "God told me, and I'm telling you, and you're dissing God unless you accept" thing.

I think this neatly illustrates the dilemma of the cultural (or is it doctrinal?) mandate that tells members to accept whatever calling you are given without question.

I've never heard any church leader use the phrase "without question". I can't swing a dead cat in church without hitting a dozen people using the phrase "prayerful consideration".

I've never turned down a calling. I once was given a calling, and told the Bishop a few things that had him withdraw the offer.

LM

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It's funny you should suggest I "level" with him -- I'm not trying to hide anything.

But there's a paradox in your suggestion: if the Bishop is inspired by God when he selected me, as he's supposed to be, then God already knows what else I'm doing. If the calling is from God, then why do I need to explain these temporal affairs to the Bishop?

I think this neatly illustrates the dilemma of the cultural (or is it doctrinal?) mandate that tells members to accept whatever calling you are given without question. When I told the Brother from the Stake that I would have to pray about it, he had a "deer in the headlights" look on his face that I will remember for a long time. (It was kind of funny actually.)

Ever thought maybe there is a reason he needs to be aware of your situation and that is why Heavenly Father inspired the calling? No so you would take the calling but to cause you and himself pause for thought.

-Charley

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Even then we must be careful on saying no, there are occasion when in fact, it was Him that made that calling directly to that President [in the walls of the temple].

personally I believe if you accept a calling and set apart the Lord finds a way. Having said that I might be willfully disobedient and turn down magazine rep if that was ever threatened again

-Charley

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I didn't read the whole thread, but I was reading the daily gems on lds.org and came across this:

"I recall my initial reaction when I received this sacred call from the Lord to serve as the newest member of the First Presidency of this Church—I felt joyfully overwhelmed. Since then I have learned new dimensions of the words humility, gratitude, and faith. . . . In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we do not seek, nor do we decline, callings that come from God through inspired priesthood channels. I pray that God will grant me strength and an understanding heart to magnify this sacred calling according to His will and purpose."

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Faith of Our Father," Ensign, May 2008, 68

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If you are concerned about the amount of time that these two callings will require of you, take your concerns to the Bishop and discuss it with him. With additional knowledge, he may decide that one calling is enough. On the other hand, he may feel that he still wants to extend both callings. But it helps him understand the needs and [instantaneous] limitations of his members if they are candid and upfront with him.

I can discuss with you some aspects of the membership clerk calling. I am currently the clerk in my ward, and I spend about 6 hours a week performing my duties, and those include bishopric meeting and PEC/ward council. My calling would be nearly impossible if I didn't have my membership clerk and my financial clerk. Because I get a lot of face time with the bishopric and coordinate with quorum and auxiliary presidencies, some people think that I do a lot to keep the ward running smoothly. The truth is, the membership clerk and the financial clerk collectively keep the ward running. Without the two of them, the ward's administration would grind to a halt.

But here's the really neat thing about membership clerk and financial clerk. In my ward, they each put in about two hours a week. On a busy week, maybe three hours. Very frequently what happens is the bishopric identifies something that needs to be taken care of, and I pass on the list to those two, and they do it all. For the most part, they come in on Sunday, do their thing, go home, and don't think about it again until the next week.

The membership clerk keeps track of Sacrament meeting attendance; tracks who has been sustained for callings and records when they are set apart; records ordinances as they take place; and looks over the membership records for any errors or omissions that need correcting. For example, at the moment, we are trying desperately to make sure each family's children are properly recorded, and that their blessings are recorded if they were performed.

The membership clerk also spends a lot of time updating addresses and contact information, and generating reports for who in the ward we are having trouble locating. But we restrict his responsibilities to these people to the administration. We send the Elders' Quorum and High Priests out to track the people down. So it is very possible that as a membership clerk you could only work 2-3 hours a week, and those mostly at Church on Sundays.

I'd be happy to discuss more with you if you like. Just drop me a note. Hope this helps give you some expectations.

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Thanks for your informative and thoughtful reply. I am going to put this to prayer. I don't feel "inclined" to accept both callings, and am torn between the enjoyment I know I will derive from working with the 10 year old boys and the responsibility for preparing and delivering quality meetings, and with the simple show-up-and-get-it-done responsibility of the membership clerk. So I don't know what's right and will listen for the Lord's input.

I understand that we sometimes receive callings that we don't look forward to and that will help us to grow as individuals as we give it our best. I don't always understand the Lord's plans for me. I do trust He knows what is best for me and that He will bless me as I am obedient and ready to receive those blessings.

As I've gathered information, I was heartened to read this:

"President Brigham Young said something to the effect that 'the greatest fear I have is that the people of this Church will accept what we say as the will of the Lord without first praying about it and getting the witness within their own hearts that what we say is the word of the Lord.' " (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye In Holy Places, pp. 162-3, paraphrasing from Journal of Discourses 9:130)

So I'll pray about it and talk to the Bishop on Sunday, and let you all know the outcome.

B

Edited by bclaggett

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Here's the latest: I spoke earlier tonight with the Stake High Council member who has extended the call as Ward Membership Clerk. I expressed my conflict given my time constraints. He had no idea that the Bishop had issued another calling to me as well. So he said he'd talk with the Bishop and get back to me.

I was until last Monday working full-time, and that well-paying contract job unfortunately ended unexpectedly, two months early. I also work 3-4 evenings a week on a personal business that is our economic future. I am also a leader in a youth program that takes up several hours a week and one weekend a month. I have a testimony that both of these -- the personal business and the youth programs -- are "callings" that God has given to me.

On top of everything else, my wife has a prolapsed bladder (stage 1) that is going to need surgery at some point -- this year or next. This requires hospitilization. I pay my own health insurance premiums now and the out of pocket for her surgery would be around $7000-$10,000. Which we don't have. Our premium is going up about 20% next month to $821.

We are also considering whether to put our house on the market. We live in the foreclosure epicenter of the U.S., San Joaquin County, California. Our house on 1 1/2 acres of land outside of town, purchased for $630,000 4 years ago, might bring $500,000 IF we could find a buyer. Comparably sized homes in town are selling for $300,000 and up. Few people want to pay a premium for extra land. Selling it quickly is extremely unlikely. A friend at church who also lives in the country on 2 acres has had his house on the market for 1 1/2 years and in that time has had 5 prospective buyers look at the house. I began to refinance the house when I landed the contract job; now that it's ended, I cannot get the job verification required for the loan. Our 5 year fixed loan floats to an ARM in August, meaning the payment rises considerably. I was going to take some extra money out and pay off $21,000 in credit card debt we'd accumulated during the past year while I've been unemployed. Ouch.

All of which is to say my mind is weighted with very difficult decisions. I feel like my family's economic survival is on the line. My wife, the died-in-the-wool Mormon, can't believe I just don't automatically say yes to both callings. She sees a lot of things in a rather black-and-white mode.

My health insurance agent is encouraging me to provide some less than legal paperwork to push through better insurance coverage for my wife's bladder problem, and my mortgage broker is encouraging similar paperwork to qualify for the refinance. When I told my wife I was trying to figure out whether I should do this or not -- I don't feel comfortable about it, but maybe you can see the pressure I feel -- she basically told me that because I didn't automatically say yes to both callings that I have been led into temptation by the devil to consider creating the false paperwork to get better insurance and the refinance.

I reminded her without getting too mad that Brigham Young taught us to get a witness about what our leaders tell us and that's what I am up to.

One piece of good news: I have landed a new client for my personal business so I'm working on that project that might mean a month's income. I'm focused on the solutions and keeping the wolves from the door. I know that God is watching out for us and answers our prayers. But do keep me in your thoughts and prayers!

B

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I have yet to turn down a calling and have had multiple callings in the past. If you trust that your bishop is called of God, then the way will be prepared.

1 Ne. 3: 7

7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

Just a thought. Best wishes.

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