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VioletSkye

What to call your bishop or stake president when they are released?

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In my previous ward, they read a statement in sacrament that was released by the first presidency.  The statement counseled ward members to refrain from calling previous bishops by the title bishop.  I believe it was to avoid confusion?  I am looking for that statement.  Can anyone confirm this and/or help me find the official statement I'm looking for?

 

Thanks!  :)

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We've always called our previous bishops bishop.  This statement was read shortly after a new bishop was called in our previous ward.  It would have been approximately 5-8 years ago? My husband and I thought it was odd at the time, but I never really looked at or read the official statement for myself.  I would just like to read it.  Mainly so we know we are not crazy.

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I don't remember a formal letter, but I haven't paid attention to such things in several years now.  

 

While it is technically correct to call a man "Bishop" if he been ordained to that office, it isn't necessary.  For example, we don't call all of the members of the Elders' Quorum "Elder [name]."  We reserve the title "Elder" for those serving is particular callings.  Likewise, the typical preference is to refer to the person currently acting as bishop as "Bishop [name]" and the former bishops as "Brother [name]."  

 

Strictly speaking, it is inappropriate to refer to a former stake president as "President [name]" as president is not an office in the priesthood.

 

Realistically, people develop such strong bonds and emotional affiliations with the bishops and stake presidents that it is common to refer to them as Bishop and President even after the release.  In most cases (at least among adults) this fades and they gradually return to Brother in the course of a few years.  And that's fine.

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I've been a member over a decade and I still can't get used to calling people Bishop/President/Elder/Brother/Sister so-and-so.  I tend to call everybody by their first names except for the missionaries because it's wierd saying Sister so-and-so when you hang out at the park.  You know if I don't know you well enough to know your first name because then I call you brother or sister.  Eeek.

 

But yeah, I try to at least remember to call the bishop Bishop in church.

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I've never been a fan of calling former bishops Bishop, but people do it all the time. As far as I'm concerned when they're realeased they just go back to being Brother so-and-so, likewise with stake presidents or anyone else. I don't actually recall ever having any counsel about this, but I do recall once many years ago a stake president counselling our ward to use titles when the person was in office - specifically he told us to call our bishop "bishop" instead of using his first name. We were a very small and close ward.

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I attend church in a building where I wad the Bishop of the Ward that meets there and attend the Branch that meets in the same building and served as the Branch President. I have some who call me either Bishop or President. I am not aware of any letter being read stating that we should call them Bishop.

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I attend church in a building where I wad the Bishop of the Ward that meets there and attend the Branch that meets in the same building and served as the Branch President. I have some who call me either Bishop or President. I am not aware of any letter being read stating that we should call them Bishop.

 

I think the OP said there was a letter stating we shouldn't call former Bishops by that title.

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Do we want to ask what you do call him?? Lol!!!

 

My two previous Bishops are family friends and I always called them by their first name outside Church and in Church "Brother..." I call my present Bishop "Brother..." as well. No particular reason (in case someone thinks Suzie is just trying to be difficult lol). It just cames natural to me and he is okay with it. As a matter of fact, if he calls and leaves a message he says "Hi, I am brother...please give me a call whenever you get a chance".

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It is interesting to read posts on this thread.  It appears that our relationships with our bishop has an effect on the manner in which we address them.  Perhaps we should be more concerned in how our bishop addresses us.

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1. When I was in my early 20's I had a bishop that I really attached too and to this day I still call him bishop as a good sign and gesture that I appreciate his service and what he meant to me at that point in my life.

 

2. Its been 15 years since my mission but if I saw my mission president today I would still call him president because hes another special person in my life and I would want to do all I can to show him that I appreciated him.

 

3. My bishop from a few years ago is an ok guy, I call him brother.

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Odd, in our Ward when a Bishop is released he reverts back to Brother so and so. We had been told by the Stake once that this was the appropriate thing to do when I was in another Ward but don't know if it was official direction or not from higher up.

 

Our Last Bishop was a friend I told him during church or anything church related he was the Bishop, outside of that he was still Brad.

 

As a rule and we were read a letter about this from the Stake a year or so ago. In church we are to refer to each other as Brother or Sister wherever possible.

 

For me I have always divided it as this.

 

Official church business I use either brother or sister or title, ie President, councilor etc.

Church related, teaching or emails etc Brother or Sister.

Outside church and not connected to church topics I use first names.

 

I do this so there is no misunderstandings about official business, gospel items or just being me. 

 

I have seen where at an activity or non church gathering someone took something a Leader said when they would be considered 'off duty' as official and caused all kinds of issues.

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In my previous ward, they read a statement in sacrament that was released by the first presidency. The statement counseled ward members to refrain from calling previous bishops by the title bishop. I believe it was to avoid confusion? I am looking for that statement. Can anyone confirm this and/or help me find the official statement I'm looking for?

Thanks! :)

Odd, that once a Bishop, if called again do not need to be name to that office; only set apart. The are always "Bishops".

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In my previous ward, they read a statement in sacrament that was released by the first presidency.  The statement counseled ward members to refrain from calling previous bishops by the title bishop.  I believe it was to avoid confusion?  I am looking for that statement.  Can anyone confirm this and/or help me find the official statement I'm looking for?

 

Thanks!  :)

 

I doubt it was from the first presidency- I wouldn't doubt you might have a statement like that from your ward or your stake though.  :)

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I would also like to know if there is an official position from the church on this.  When I asked my new bishop if I should stop referring to our recently released bishop as "bishop", he replied, "no, you can keep calling him bishop because it's a way of confirming that everything you may have discussed with him is still confidential". 

 

I would still like to know if is any official position out there either way about what to call our released leaders

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Oh my gosh-I was just thinking about this! 

I am guilty-I still call my old bishop "Bishop", even though he moved to a new ward.

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I was a counselor in a bishopric for several years.  That bishop will always be "Bishop" to me.  He insists everybody else call him "Dave" now, except for me.  I'm the only one he allows to call him "Bishop."  No matter what other bishops I may have as the years roll by, there's a special bond you have as a counselor to "your" bishop.

 

Interestingly, very few members know that when a man is called to be a bishop, it is an ordination.  It is not like being called to be a president.  A branch president or a stake president is called and set apart.  A bishop is ordained.  Forever afterwards, on his membership records, his priesthood office is "bishop," even after he is released.  If a bishop gets called to preside over another ward, he does not have to be ordained again, only set apart.  For that reason, it can be appropriate to refer to one's former bishop by his title.  He still IS a bishop technically--he just is not assigned to preside over a ward.

 

A friend of mine's father was a bishop back in the Korean War.  When many of the men were drafted, a bishop in a ward who shared the building was inducted into the Army.  My friend's dad was called to preside over an additional ward.  Imagine that--being bishop over TWO wards for several years.  I can't imagine it.  Ultimately, he served 23 years as bishop.  That would be really unheard of today.  Most bishops serve for five years.  My "bishop" that I served with served for six and a half.

 

Stake presidents and branch presidents sometimes get called by the title "President" after their release.  It is uncomfortable calling your former stake president "Brother" at first, mainly because we hold them in such high esteem.  

 

It has always amazed me how the Church operates in this way.  No man can end up building up a "following" and create his own personality cult because the future always holds a release for him.  It tends to keep our leaders humble.  I once knew a man who was a high-ranking military officer, who had served as a bishop and in a stake presidency.  He worked in the Nursery with his wife when I first met him.  I was stunned to find out that he was the commander of a nuclear cruise missile wing in Germany at the time.  He was one of the most Christ-like men I ever knew--so kind and humble.

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This is a little old, but in the April 1993 ENSIGN:

"The titles Bishop and President (designating members of temple, mission, stake, and district presidencies and branch presidencies) are appropriate even after the leader has been released." 

https://www.lds.org/ensign/1993/04/i-have-a-question?lang=eng

 

Edited by tsiglin2

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