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Guest mormonmusic

Priesthood Leadership Conundrum

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Guest mormonmusic

You're a Bishop and you hear in the Priesthood Executive Committee meeting that there is an investigator that wants to be baptized. He's had all the discussions, has been to Church for a couple months, and it sounds like he also has a testimony of the gospel.

However, the Elder's Quorum President indicates this gentleman keeps claiming he's an Apostle -- which, as you know, isn't something we believe you self-proclaim or self-appoint yourself to. We have the quorum of 12 Apostles, but they are called by the Lord through the Prophet.

This investigator's claim that he's an Apostle have been verified by the Gospel Essentials teacher, a couple ward missionaries, and the full-time missionaries.

As Bishop, should you go along with seeing this person baptized? What do you think should be done if you were the Bishop?

Edited by mormonmusic

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This bishop should do what every bishop does--interview the potential member. That would be an appropriate time to ask pertinent questions and do some teaching.

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Guest mormonmusic

Thanks -- at the time this happened, I was a full-time missionary, and called my mission president over this one.

One point to raise here is the Mission President, acting under inspiration, has authority in questions like this, not the Bishop. The Bishop's has stewardship after the new convert is baptized. So do you think the Bishop's involvement is relevant since this person was still a non-member?

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You're a Bishop and you hear in the Priesthood Executive Committee meeting that there is an investigator that wants to be baptized. He's had all the discussions, has been to Church for a couple months, and it sounds like he also has a testimony of the gospel.

However, the Elder's Quorum President indicates this gentleman keeps claiming he's an Apostle -- which, as you know, isn't something we believe you self-proclaim or self-appoint yourself to. We have the quorum of 12 Apostles, but they are called by the Lord through the Prophet.

This investigator's claim that he's an Apostle have been verified by the Gospel Essentials teacher, a couple ward missionaries, and the full-time missionaries.

As Bishop, should you go along with seeing this person baptized? What do you think should be done if you were the Bishop?

This is not the bishop's affair. It is for the missionaries to decide, not the bishop.

That said, if the bishop is concerned, he should make his concerns known both to the missionaries and to the mission president.

Fwiw, the word "apostle" (Απόστολος, "apostolos") just means "one sent forth". This man who calls himself an apostle may not have delusions of grandeur, just ideas that God has called him to proclaim the gospel.

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This could be where I'm lacking knowledge in the administrative aspect of the church, but I thought the bishop was responsible for baptisms. MPs are responsible for the missionaries, but the bishop is the one to do the interview for baptism?

When I was on my mission, we had no wards or stakes in the country, so the MP was the presiding authority and conducted all interviews.

Regardless, I do not think that the bishop is out of line to interview a potential member. The bishop is the bishop for all the people in the geographical region (whether member or non-member). Typically, we think of this in temporal situations (a non-member family needs food assistance, the bishop gives them a food order), but I think that he is reponsible for the spiritual welfare of all people as well (at least in my head). Due to priorities, he must focus on his member's spiritual needs, but he doesn't exclude those non-members who seek his counsel.

Or am I just talking out of my head on this?

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This could be where I'm lacking knowledge in the administrative aspect of the church, but I thought the bishop was responsible for baptisms. MPs are responsible for the missionaries, but the bishop is the one to do the interview for baptism?

When I was on my mission, we had no wards or stakes in the country, so the MP was the presiding authority and conducted all interviews.

Regardless, I do not think that the bishop is out of line to interview a potential member. The bishop is the bishop for all the people in the geographical region (whether member or non-member). Typically, we think of this in temporal situations (a non-member family needs food assistance, the bishop gives them a food order), but I think that he is reponsible for the spiritual welfare of all people as well (at least in my head). Due to priorities, he must focus on his member's spiritual needs, but he doesn't exclude those non-members who seek his counsel.

Or am I just talking out of my head on this?

I think you're right as far as the bishop interviewing a potential member, but the mission president has the authority to approve convert baptisms. As far as I know, the bishop has no authority to stop any convert baptism, though I can't imagine that a mission president would just ignore a bishop who said, "Hey, wait a minute, something's wrong here."

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As has been said, this issue would be the mission president's stewardship. The bishop has every right to interview the prospective member, but he cannot not authorize the ordinance. He can, however, hold up the confirmation process. A baptism is not complete (and is not recorded) until the confirmation also happens and is recorded. And whereas the convert confirmations happen in Sacrament meeting now and not immediately following the baptism, that is something the Bishop could delay.

If the bishop was sufficiently concerned about this being a problem, he should contact the mission president and share his concerns.

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A baptism is not complete (and is not recorded) until the confirmation also happens and is recorded. And whereas the convert confirmations happen in Sacrament meeting now and not immediately following the baptism, that is something the Bishop could delay.

You are probably right. Since the bishop controls the sacrament meeting, it seems he could certainly nix the confirmation during Church. But the confirmation need not be done in sacrament meeting, so this is just a procedural trick. If I understand the administration of the Church correctly, the bishop has no authority to stop any convert baptism including confirmation, procedural tricks notwithstanding.

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Guest mormonmusic

I think you're right as far as the bishop interviewing a potential member, but the mission president has the authority to approve convert baptisms. As far as I know, the bishop has no authority to stop any convert baptism, though I can't imagine that a mission president would just ignore a bishop who said, "Hey, wait a minute, something's wrong here."

I like what Vort said. And although my mission president had authority to make the call about this Apostolic investigator, he used wisdom. He told me to visit the man myself and get a feel for his claims. And second, he said "The bishop needs to interview him".

I see this wisdom in this -- the Bishop will be responsible for this person after baptism, so a wise Mission President would want the Bishop to be in agreement with the decision to baptize the investigator -- even if that Bishop had no formal authority to approve or deny it.

I actually met with this investigator and he was a very good-hearted man who seemed to have it all together. He wasn't weird or strange or anything -- but he said he felt he had this ability to understand and explain the meaning of the scriptures. He thought that was the defining characteristic of an Apostle.

We actually read him the sections in the Book of Mormon that describe spiritual gifts, and helped him see that this was a spiritual gift, not a formal assignment to the role of Apostle. We also explained the office of Apostle and how callings are extended in the Church.

He accepted this. The Bishop then interviewed him, was satisfied he understood the gospel well enough to be baptized. The man was baptized shortly thereafter with full agreement from the mission and the local Bishop.

I also thought it was wise of my mission president to delegate all the leg-work on this one. He solved the problem with a few short words "The Bishop needs to interview him -- you go and see him too Elder Mormonmusic".

To me, it was an example of democratic, and effective leadership. Just because one has authority doesn't mean they need to be authoritarian to get the job done. In fact, often quite the opposite.

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The bishop is responsible for every person within his ward boundaries, not just the ones who are baptized members. If he has concerns about a potential convert, then he should consult with the Mission President and Stake President about the situation. If a potential convert has illusions of what their role in the church will be, it needs to be addressed.

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Ok so wait...... the guys says he is an apostle?? What?!? I would hope this investigator may just need a lesson about current terminology. But if my investigator said he was gonna be an apostle and he meant that literally, then I don't think the guy is ready for baptism. I would agree that the MP would be the proper authority to handle this.

We had a situation where a prospective member had some past issues and the MP came down and interviewed her and we could then proceed with the baptism.

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Guest mormonmusic

Ok so wait...... the guys says he is an apostle?? What?!? I would hope this investigator may just need a lesson about current terminology. But if my investigator said he was gonna be an apostle and he meant that literally, then I don't think the guy is ready for baptism. I would agree that the MP would be the proper authority to handle this.

You're right, he didn't understand terminology as we understood it, and upon being corrected, accepted it, stopped proclaiming his Apostleship, and then was baptized with full agreement of everyone...

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You are probably right. Since the bishop controls the sacrament meeting, it seems he could certainly nix the confirmation during Church. But the confirmation need not be done in sacrament meeting, so this is just a procedural trick. If I understand the administration of the Church correctly, the bishop has no authority to stop any convert baptism including confirmation, procedural tricks notwithstanding.

Actually (and I just looked this up to make sure) confirmations are done under the bishop's direction. Neither the mission nor the mission president have the authority to authorize a person's confirmation (CHI, 36).

The bishop does have another procedural trick he can do to stall and protest a baptism. He can refuse authorization for any member of his ward to perform the baptism or act as witness. It's a cheap shot, and if it ever came to that point, then there are serious issues between the missionaries, mission president, and bishop that need to be addressed. If such a contention were to materialize, I would imagine it would be time to get all those parties and the stake president involved in sorting things out.

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Actually (and I just looked this up to make sure) confirmations are done under the bishop's direction. Neither the mission nor the mission president have the authority to authorize a person's confirmation (CHI, 36).

Well then, that resolves that question. Thanks for the authoritative word.

The bishop does have another procedural trick he can do to stall and protest a baptism. He can refuse authorization for any member of his ward to perform the baptism or act as witness.

Not sure how this would affect anything, since the missionaries are fully capable of baptizing and witnessing by themselves.

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Not sure how this would affect anything, since the missionaries are fully capable of baptizing and witnessing by themselves.

It doesn't really affect anything except making a pretty strong statement that the bishop doesn't support this. Personally, I think that

1) Any missionaries that would go ahead and baptize a person under this kind of episcopal objection are pretty arrogant.

2) Any bishop that would make such a show of objection is pretty arrogant.

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Thanks for the learning. If the mission president is responsible for baptisms, then does he interview 8 y/o kids BIC for baptism? If no, why not?

Baptisms of children of record are handled by their parents and the bishop. They are not convert baptisms, so they are not handled by the missionaries.

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Guest mormonmusic

It doesn't really affect anything except making a pretty strong statement that the bishop doesn't support this. Personally, I think that

1) Any missionaries that would go ahead and baptize a person under this kind of episcopal objection are pretty arrogant.

2) Any bishop that would make such a show of objection is pretty arrogant.

I've found that when disagreements lead me to start thinking in these legalistic kinds of terms, it's time to step back and get spiritual about everything. Figure out a spiritual solution to the problem that is without contention.

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