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clwnuke

Bishop submissions rejected by the First Presidency

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I just finished reading a dialogue on another Mormon discussion board about what disqualifies a person to be a Bishop. One reader mentioned a situation where it became known (wrongly or rightly) that a good Brother in the ward who was well liked and faithful had his name submitted to the First Presidency and it was not approved. When a friend told the good brother about the matter, he indicated that he didn't know anything about it but that the Stake President had recently become far less cordial towards him.

 

When I served as a Stake Executive Secretary we did not have any rejections, even for fairly marginal candidates in difficult units. But I have often wondered "Why the secrecy on the matter?"

 

If someone has their name submitted to the First Presidency and it is not approved why not tell them? And if they are deemed inadequate or unworthy to serve as a Bishop why not tell them the reasons so they can address the matter or at least put their mind at ease as to whether they will ever be called?

 

I've served in a Bishopric, on a High Council, as an EQP and HPGL, in a Stake Mission Presidency, as an Executive Secretary to a Stake Presidency, as Scout Master multiple times, as YMP, Seminary Teacher, Temple worker, Baptistry leader etc., I don't know if my name was ever submitted for Bishop, but I have never been called.  Nevertheless, I think most people like me could handle knowing what limits them from serving as a Bishop if they were rejected. If there's no specific reason, just a spiritual prompting, tell them. If there's a nasty note from a mission president in their file, tell them. Who's pride and what charade is protected by not telling them? 

 

A simple email/letter from the First Presidency would suffice:  "Dear Brother Smith, your name was recently submitted as a candidate for Bishop in the Cookie Cutter Ward by President Grant. We congratulate you on your worthiness to be submitted for consideration for this Holy calling. However, we note that you received church discipline in 2003 and have chosen not to approve your name at this time. As you remain faithful this limitation may be removed in the future. We pray that you will support the new Bishop in your ward with full fellowship and sustain us in this difficult decision. Sincerely, The First Presidency."

 

Because people are imperfect some good Brothers have and always will find out that their name was submitted and rejected. It is not hard to see how evasive Stake Presidents become when a name is not approved and people find out. Since Stake Presidents don't know why a brother is rejected, their minds can begin to imagine the worst of those good brothers and it haunts the rejected brother every day as they constantly wonder why their faithful service renders them inadequate in the Lord's eyes.

 

It makes enduring to the end difficult for those brothers as they can feel that the Brethren they are sustaining, and the rod of iron they are grasping, may not be supporting them. They can feel betrayed by those they are supposed to trust most, leaving them alone and bitter. But all of this could be avoided with simple and full transparency. 

 

It's Christ's Church, and He may run it as He wishes, but He allows me to ponder and after years of considering the subject I've come to think that every faithful Priesthood holder deserves the common courtesy of knowing if their name was submitted and an explanation of the result. After all, rejected missionaries are usually told why and the Bishop that is ultimately approved by the First Presidency gets to find out, right?

 

Thoughts?

 

 

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I think you're almost 100% wrong. (Maybe 98%.)

 

If someone is being kept from receiving saving ordinances or such blessings, then yes, he absolutely has a right and a need to know why. But there is no "right" to being called to be a bishop. God calls whom he calls.

 

Why the 2% wiggle room? Because if my name were ever submitted for such an office and rejected, I would very much want to know why. It would not be my right to know why, but I would be curious. So in acknowledging that I would want to know (and frankly, I would never seek after any such leadership calling, because I am not an idiot or a masochist, but I would still want to know why I was rejected from consideration), I can't quite say I'm 100% opposed to what you say.

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Totally agree on the rights issue, but I do think they deserve to know. This is an administrative practice by the church and not a matter of doctrine. Hence, it can easily be changed. I've been a Membership Clerk before and knew about every member with restrictions in their records. They recognized their wrongs, but in these cases a good brother may be rejected and never know why. 

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Rejected because they were ineligible, or rejected because they weren't the right choice?

Either way, tell them. If they were ineligible their names would likely not be submitted in the first place.

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Does the bishop in a ward tell each and every other potential candidate for any ward callings why they were rejected in favor of another candidate?

I don't see why a bishop being called would be any different.

Yes it would be interesting, but I don't think it is really practical or relevant, especially because it opens the door to contempt where often no harm is intended.

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I think it's a bit more concerning that there are people exercising unrighteous judgement based on someone who was considered to be a potential bishop in the first place. (At least it was implied to in the OP[original post])

Edited by Crypto

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Well, it's like they say, God knows your sins, maybe the church does too.

I mean, how do they know if you are active or not?  Are they somehow taking attendance records at Sacrament Meeting?

I suppose I would want to know.  To be sure it was not some false information or something.

I don't have to worry, tho'.  I have a beard and I'm not married, so I'm categorically out of consideration.  Even if I get married, I probably won't shave the beard.

dc

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This reminds me of something that happened to me when I first graduated from college. I was interviewed and recommended for a technical post at GCHQ (similar to the NSA in America). Of course they have to do a lot of background checks on prospective employees - which I assumed was just to make sure I wasn't a Soviet spy (this was at the tail end of the Cold War). And since I wasn't a Soviet spy I naturally assumed this would be a formality. However, the investigation dragged on for quite some time, during which I bummed around doing occasional warehouse work and gradually lost interest in working for GCHQ. Finally a letter arrived from GCHQ saying that as a result of their investigations they would not be able to employ me.

 

By now I was determined to reject any offer of a job from GCHQ anyway, and was already making arrangements to go back to university. But the letter still bugged me: it was laconic to the point of rudeness, giving no indication of what they had against me. If there was something nasty in my background I wanted to know about it! However several letters and telephone calls left me none the wiser.

 

After a few days I let the matter go and concentrated on preparing for grad school. But it still left a nasty taste in my mouth. I still wonder now what the skeleton had been discovered in my closet!

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This reminds me of something that happened to me when I first graduated from college. I was interviewed and recommended for a technical post at GCHQ (similar to the NSA in America). Of course they have to do a lot of background checks on prospective employees - which I assumed was just to make sure I wasn't a Soviet spy (this was at the tail end of the Cold War). And since I wasn't a Soviet spy I naturally assumed this would be a formality. However, the investigation dragged on for quite some time, during which I bummed around doing occasional warehouse work and gradually lost interest in working for GCHQ. Finally a letter arrived from GCHQ saying that as a result of their investigations they would not be able to employ me.

 

By now I was determined to reject any offer of a job from GCHQ anyway, and was already making arrangements to go back to university. But the letter still bugged me: it was laconic to the point of rudeness, giving no indication of what they had against me. If there was something nasty in my background I wanted to know about it! However several letters and telephone calls left me none the wiser.

 

After a few days I let the matter go and concentrated on preparing for grad school. But it still left a nasty taste in my mouth. I still wonder now what the skeleton had been discovered in my closet!

Remember lewy when you were growing up, and how you got into that fight that one time?

Remember how you said some pretty bad things if you ever saw him when he was grown?

Remember how lewy always said he'd grow up to be a spy one day? :P  ;)

Edited by Crypto

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I think you're almost 100% wrong. (Maybe 98%.)

 

If someone is being kept from receiving saving ordinances or such blessings, then yes, he absolutely has a right and a need to know why. But there is no "right" to being called to be a bishop. God calls whom he calls.

 

Why the 2% wiggle room? Because if my name were ever submitted for such an office and rejected, I would very much want to know why. It would not be my right to know why, but I would be curious. So in acknowledging that I would want to know (and frankly, I would never seek after any such leadership calling, because I am not an idiot or a masochist, but I would still want to know why I was rejected from consideration), I can't quite say I'm 100% opposed to what you say.

 Not only that, Vort (I agree with you, 100%) but if you did seek such leadership, you aren't ready for it. 

But I ask-why would anyone want the job? 

Edited by MormonGator

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The process of calling a new Stake President provides an interesting contrast to the calling of a new Bishop. I have heard this process described often in church meetings by SPs and GAs. As the time draws near to calling the new SP, a church authority works with the SP to develop a list of potential candidates. Those candidates are then asked to fill out some forms, attach a picture of husband and wife, and those forms are sent in to the church.

 

Then, prior to the Stake Conference, the church authority sets a schedule of people to be interviewed and conducts those interviews. If the authority does not feel that the right person has been presented after all the interviews, then others are considered and invited to come interview. My current SP indicated that he was one of those not originally on the list.

 

I find it interesting how much more open this process is compared to the calling of a Bishop. There is no question as to whether one was considered. You may not know why you were not selected, but you also know that there were several other good candidates presented. Bishop candidates are submitted one at a time without the knowledge of the individual, and a new submission is only made if the first is not approved.

 

I've never heard a church authority describe why the calling of a Bishop is confidential or what factors the church considers in the approval process. One can only assume some sort of a background check, especially in today's litigious society, but clearly other important factors must also be considered in addition to inspiration.

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 Not only that, Vort (I agree with you, 100%) but if you did seek such leadership, you aren't ready for it. 

There are many who do not seek the calling, but do seek to be worthy of being called. If you are submitted and not approved, you never know if it was just not the right time, or if you were found inadequate or unworthy. Even Joseph Smith saw no guile in seeking after his status of worthiness with the Lord. I don't believe that any member should feel guilty about wanting to know their status with the Lord and His Church.

 

Administratively, I would think the church would want to provide that status to the individual, but as of today there is clearly something in the process that the church desires to keep confidential. I trust my leaders, but I also know that processes and procedures change over time and equally trust that the process could change.

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 I don't believe that any member should feel guilty about wanting to know their status with the Lord and His Church.

 

 

That's the point though, isn't it?  If you want to know your status with the Lord, get on your knees and ask Him.  There was a great talk about this in the last General Conference about "what lack I yet?"   

When you know how you stand with the Lord, what else matters?  

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For me the Fifth Article of Faith would be the answer to why I was not called (or called even if that ever turns out to be the case)

 

5 We believe 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.

 

Its all right there...  As for people who for some reason snicker at a man that got turned down and simply showing off their own sins.   Anyone that makes it pass their Stake President to have their names be submitted has got to be doing lots of things right.  No their not perfect, but at that level it more about being the right person at the right time, (aka who God wills) then some personal imperfection or transgression.

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I've never heard a church authority describe why the calling of a Bishop is confidential or what factors the church considers in the approval process. One can only assume some sort of a background check, especially in today's litigious society, but clearly other important factors must also be considered in addition to inspiration.

 

Do you think the bishop should tell you that your name was taken to the Lord for the new YM president and rejected? Or to the woman when she was considered as a Primary teacher?

 

How do you get right with the Lord? You get a temple recommend, use it worthily and continue to strive to do better. Callings are offered to someone who the Lords wants in that position. The Lord sometimes reveals why a person is good/not good for a particular calling.  Sometimes He doesn't say anything other than "no." 

 

I guess I really don't understand why knowing why one was rejected for a calling would be helpful. I'm assuming you mean ANY calling and not just bishop. If you do mean just a bishop, then why is that calling more important to you where you wish people were given reasons for rejection (even if there is no "reason")?

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I can see why knowing why would be valuable in a job interview, just so that you could improve skills and be more prepared for your next application. 

 

For church, I agree that our temple recommend tells us about our standing with the Lord, as well as praying to him. Someone who is called as bishop is no more favored than someone who is called as building facilities manager or 15-year-old Sunday school teacher.

 

It's not who has a better standing than whom, it's who the Lord needs where at a specific time. I'd say that many times, none of us knows why we have the calling we do, other than knowing that's where we're needed and where we need to be at that time, according to the revelation the bishop gets for his ward. 

Edited by Eowyn

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There are many who do not seek the calling, but do seek to be worthy of being called. If you are submitted and not approved, you never know if it was just not the right time, or if you were found inadequate or unworthy. Even Joseph Smith saw no guile in seeking after his status of worthiness with the Lord. I don't believe that any member should feel guilty about wanting to know their status with the Lord and His Church.

 

Administratively, I would think the church would want to provide that status to the individual, but as of today there is clearly something in the process that the church desires to keep confidential. I trust my leaders, but I also know that processes and procedures change over time and equally trust that the process could change.

 I trust them too, but since the leaders don't know me as an individual, I would strongly decline virtually any calling like that. I'm very blessed, I don't think I'll ever be called. It's not my thing. I also am not getting laser treatment for my tattoos anytime soon, nor am I cutting my hair.

Edited by MormonGator

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Nuke,

 

To ask for this is nothing short of saying to the brethren:  You need to explain yourself!!!

 

I understand you're doing everything you can to not sound like you have that attitude.  But you're asking for about 5,000 letters per year to be written explaining the individual reasons why a person was rejected -- and they are legion.  While special cases may require such detail, the brethren already have a lot to do.  You want them to write that many letters per year just to address why a calling for bishop was rejected?  Then add to that another 1000 or so for other offices that require 1st Pres approval.

 

Even if you were to just ask for a black and white check box (ineligible or not the right time) what makes you think it's that simple?  What if neither are truly the correct answer for an individual?  Do you still expect an explanation?  How do you suppose they go about it?

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Nuke,

 

To ask for this is nothing short of saying to the brethren:  You need to explain yourself!!!

 

I understand you're doing everything you can to not sound like you have that attitude.  But you're asking for about 5,000 letters per year to be written explaining the individual reasons why a person was rejected -- and they are legion.  While special cases may require such detail, the brethren already have a lot to do.  You want them to write that many letters per year just to address why a calling for bishop was rejected?  Then add to that another 1000 or so for other offices that require 1st Pres approval.

 

Even if you were to just ask for a black and white check box (ineligible or not the right time) what makes you think it's that simple?  What if neither are truly the correct answer for an individual?  Do you still expect an explanation?  How do you suppose they go about it?

 

 

I read a different intent from him...  (not that you are not right in the work-load)

 

I read it as hey some members of the stake are pointing fingers at the brethren that got denied thinking there must be some hidden sin or something.   His idea of a solution was to have a letter written to refute that.  I think it is the wrong solution but I don't think it is coming from wanting the Leaders to do even more work or doubting the Leaders.

 

Personally if such fingers are being pointed I think the solution is for the Stake President to crack down hard on such.  After all if he thought highly enough of the men in question to propose them as bishops, he should be willing to defend their character from gossip.

Edited by estradling75

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How does anyone know who has been recommended and rejected? Seriously, how does that get around? It means someone is gossiping and that someone is at a high level. So, yeah, I supported the SP to do a smack down. Unless it is the SP, then I would expect the Area Authority to do the smack down.

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We have example in scripture – when David was selected to be king of Israel. One may think that each of his brothers were rejected but that is not really the case – the brothers that were submitted were not rejected – the truth was that it was David that was selected and the other that were submitted were not the one that G-d had selected. The brothers of David were no more unworthy and rejected than were all the other individuals in Israel – It was just part of the process to get to the one G-d had selected – not those selected by men.

Edited by Traveler

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