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What do we think inspired calling means?

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1.  What do we as a people believe about inspiration in callings—meaning, what are we expected to believe? That God finds us worthy of a task? That God knows what will occur and wants us to experience whatever that is? That there is a plan set and we have to follow the plan or upset the universe? 

2.  When we pray about who to marry or where to live, (two common prayers among members) seeking inspiration, what do we believe God is telling us? That our intended spouse or residence is safe for us? Won’t hurt us? Is our soul mate? Is what they say they are? Holds a promising future? 

I recently read Steve young’s autobiography and am curious about his and other people breaking engagements because it didn’t “ feel right”.  I read between the lines and tend to assume that when people say this they are suggesting that The Spirit is warning them, and that they heeded the warning, end of story. 

I know what I have come to believe about these things. I also know that while true to the faith, my faith looks a whole lot different than mainstream thought. 

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And if the stock reply applies : free agency... and it of course applies... what value do we place on the inspiration? 

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31 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

1.  What do we as a people believe about inspiration in callings—meaning, what are we expected to believe? That God finds us worthy of a task? That God knows what will occur and wants us to experience whatever that is? That there is a plan set and we have to follow the plan or upset the universe? 

2.  When we pray about who to marry or where to live, (two common prayers among members) seeking inspiration, what do we believe God is telling us? That our intended spouse or residence is safe for us? Won’t hurt us? Is our soul mate? Is what they say they are? Holds a promising future? 

I recently read Steve young’s autobiography and am curious about his and other people breaking engagements because it didn’t “ feel right”.  I read between the lines and tend to assume that when people say this they are suggesting that The Spirit is warning them, and that they heeded the warning, end of story. 

I know what I have come to believe about these things. I also know that while true to the faith, my faith looks a whole lot different than mainstream thought. 

On one hand I think of inspiration as a very personal interplay of how someone feels about the experiences they personally have.  This definition of inspiration is very subjective and individualistic.   

I also recognize that there can be group experiences where more than one person has a relationship towards something that the group identifies as inspirational.  However, I think its also the case that each individual in the group has a somewhat different relationship to what they collectively feel is inspired, and individual interpretations will vary.  

I don't think inspiration is something we can capture in a container and transfer via title or position of authority.  Just some thoughts I have on the subject.  

Edited by hope_for_things

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Excellent question!

I was brought up being taught that the callings we receive are what God Himself would ask us to do if he was our Bishop.

Personally, I think there's a pragmatic element to callings: at some point, a decision has to be made with the incomplete information and imperfect people who both extend (and accept/reject) the callings.

Do I think God Himself would give me the callings I've had?

Maybe. He does have a great sense of humor but....I've seen a trend where ya know, certain people are thought of being more likely to succeed if they are called to positions they have previously accepted (youth leaders get called as youth leaders in future wards; same for Primary). This assumes a lot, like they had no challenges or problems or setbacks they couldn't overcome with faith; that they enjoyed their prior callings, etc. etc.

on the other hand, would I rather join the EQP in their group therapy sessions in the gym? No

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35 minutes ago, nuclearfuels said:

the other hand, would I rather join the EQP in their group therapy sessions in the gym? No

Haha! But how does that make you feeeel?  I thought RS was for crying and EQ was for ego stroking? Generally speaking of course. ;)

Edited by MustardSeed
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1 minute ago, MustardSeed said:

Haha! But how does that make you feeeel?  I thought RS was for crying and EQ was for ego stroking? Generally speaking of course. ;)

I think those roles haev changed in some areas

NOt areas I'd call smarter though

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In my experience, most of the time, any willing righteous member can serve successfully and meet the needs of members in any calling they will accept and magnify.   When it is critical to Heavenly Father that a specific person serve at a specific time and congregation in a specific way, then He doesn't let listening leaders mess that up.  

What I expect leaders to do is (a) expect and accept the recommendations of the leaders of the organization (absent only a worthiness issue they might not know, and then only after specifically confirm that with God); (2)  teach them to seek the Lord's help in establishing any criteria they might be using to reduce their lists, and then cast the net widely for those meeting the criteria (e.g.  if the pres needs a counselor who is strong enough to speak up, then consider those with whom they have felt challenged working with, not just friends who tell them what they want to hear); and (3)  really listen for promptings, which requires clearing room in brain and heart to be open to hearing what He wants.

From a member being called perspective, we should take the time to seek our own confirmation of callings.  And we should fully disclose circumstances that our leaders may not know about.  And generally we should accept and magnify to the best of our ability any calling made to us.

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4 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

1.  What do we as a people believe about inspiration in callings—meaning, what are we expected to believe? That God finds us worthy of a task? That God knows what will occur and wants us to experience whatever that is? That there is a plan set and we have to follow the plan or upset the universe? 

2.  When we pray about who to marry or where to live, (two common prayers among members) seeking inspiration, what do we believe God is telling us? That our intended spouse or residence is safe for us? Won’t hurt us? Is our soul mate? Is what they say they are? Holds a promising future? 

I recently read Steve young’s autobiography and am curious about his and other people breaking engagements because it didn’t “ feel right”.  I read between the lines and tend to assume that when people say this they are suggesting that The Spirit is warning them, and that they heeded the warning, end of story. 

I know what I have come to believe about these things. I also know that while true to the faith, my faith looks a whole lot different than mainstream thought. 

I find that speaking for the entirety of Church membership on a particular point at a particular time only reflects the understanding of that particular individual at that particular time on that particular subject. So, I typically speak for myself unless quoting the Articles of Faith, a manual or something like that. Teachings about callings and personal revelation abound and can be considered "mainstream" but interpretations of what they mean also abound.

I've heard it said that all callings come from God. I see a calling requiring a few givens: extended by proper authority, accepted in faith and real intent (which may involve prayer, sacrifice, etc.), set apart by the laying on of hands, and active engagement in carrying them out. So I think all callings are from God when we make them so, and I think learning God's will about my calling is an ongoing conversation with Him, and takes as much effort as I am willing to apply. We can have the faith to accept them or the faith to say no.

Personal revelation in my experience has to be fairly specific, so I don't draw extrapolations or other ancillary conclusions, especially about others. If I want to know whether my intended is safe, non-abusive, or a soul-mate, honest, and promising (whatever any of these may mean to me at the moment), I would need to seek that particular revelation or discernment. If I want confirmation that my decision to marry this person is in line with God's will, I do need to be ready to take a step of faith (if I am willing) and commit to make it work if I get an impression such as, "It's your choice."

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7 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

What do we as a people believe about inspiration in callings—meaning, what are we expected to believe? That God finds us worthy of a task?

I have come to find that inspiration from God is not the result of some callings. I knew a member who was a doctor and was called as a stake president who was molesting his female patients under the guise of being necessary medical procedures. He was later found guilty of this and put in jail and lost his membership over it. No way was this guy "worthy" to fulfill the calling, although he did manage to convince many people that he was a righteous priesthood holder. He hurt a lot of people from the things he did and the lawsuits that came from it.  A Stake president is usually selected by a general authority. I can't believe that GA was inspired by god to call that person to the position.
 

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11 hours ago, JAHS said:

I have come to find that inspiration from God is not the result of some callings. I knew a member who was a doctor and was called as a stake president who was molesting his female patients under the guise of being necessary medical procedures. He was later found guilty of this and put in jail and lost his membership over it. No way was this guy "worthy" to fulfill the calling, although he did manage to convince many people that he was a righteous priesthood holder. He hurt a lot of people from the things he did and the lawsuits that came from it.  A Stake president is usually selected by a general authority. I can't believe that GA was inspired by god to call that person to the position.
 

As I noted above, in order to constitute a bona fide calling from God, it must meet several criteria, none of them necessitating the authority issuing the calling to have any divine inspiration, though that is typically the case and a reasonable expectation.

I’ve heard it said that no priesthood authority stands between us and the Lord, and I believe this to be true. They stand beside us and point the way to the Savior*. So probably the most important criterion for a calling to be of God is that the calling is accepted (or not) in faith and real intent. This is part of the covenant we make with God when entering the straight and narrow path through baptism. When we act in hypocrisy, “Amen to the [calling] of that man…Hence many are called, but few are chosen.”

* Oddly enough, the GA may well have been inspired to call the doctor as an opportunity for him to repent, but there is no way of telling.

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What about inspiration for marriage? 

I perceive that most people pray to determine if this is the right person for them.   I hear a lot of people say, “I had thought I got confirmation on my choice but my spouse ended up doing me wrong”.  So if the answer is “well, free agency” then what are we really praying for? I mean, what are we really looking for in the prayer?

I told my kids, for example, that contrary to cultural discussion, praying about the intended does not at all provide guarantees about your intended.  Rather, it invites deep reflection of the self and ones own readiness for the task and commitment to work through struggles to come. 

 

Edited by MustardSeed

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Also, thank you all for thoughts.  

I personally don’t believe in divine intervention with most callings. 

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2 hours ago, CV75 said:

* Oddly enough, the GA may well have been inspired to call the doctor as an opportunity for him to repent, but there is no way of telling.

I doubt God would have done that with the chance of making so many other people suffer for it. I just chalk it up to a lack of receiving inspiration for the calling. They went solely based on his past experience and recommendations from other local church leaders at the time which I am sure was all very convincing.

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22 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

What about inspiration for marriage? 

I perceive that most people pray to determine if this is the right person for them.   I hear a lot of people say, “I had thought I got confirmation on my choice but my spouse ended up doing me wrong”.  So if the answer is “well, free agency” then what are we really praying for? I mean, what are we really looking for in the prayer?

I told my kids, for example, that contrary to cultural discussion, praying about the intended does not at all provide guarantees about your intended.  Rather, it invites deep reflection of the self and ones own readiness for the task and commitment to work through struggles to come. 

 

I don't believe that God's answers are always (or maybe even usually) meant to lead to the least stress and heartache possible, so I absolutely think that He can tell someone that's it's o.k. to marry a spouse who will eventually 'do them wrong.'   I'm beginning to learn God can be good, trustworthy, intimately involved in our lives, and still lead us into the wilderness.  It's usually deep in the wilderness where all the good spiritual growth can happen (as annoying as that is).

I agree with you that praying about an intended does not guarantee anything about them, except whether or not God wants you to link yourself with them, but that is an amazing confirmation to seek after and obtain.

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8 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I don't believe that God's answers are always (or maybe even usually) meant to lead to the least stress and heartache possible, so I absolutely think that He can tell someone that's it's o.k. to marry a spouse who will eventually 'do them wrong.'   I'm beginning to learn God can be good, trustworthy, intimately involved in our lives, and still lead us into the wilderness.  It's usually deep in the wilderness where all the good spiritual growth can happen (as annoying as that is).

I agree with you that praying about an intended does not guarantee anything about them, except whether or not God wants you to link yourself with them, but that is an amazing confirmation to seek after and obtain.

If one prays to God knowing that the prayer is not about protection from the wilderness...what does the prayer seek? 

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18 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

If one prays to God knowing that the prayer is not about protection from the wilderness...what does the prayer seek? 

This is just my opinion but I think the prayer seeks for God to keep them to the "most fertile parts of the wilderness" (to quote scripture), the parts where growth is possible.  

 

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1 hour ago, JAHS said:

I doubt God would have done that with the chance of making so many other people suffer for it. I just chalk it up to a lack of receiving inspiration for the calling. They went solely based on his past experience and recommendations from other local church leaders at the time which I am sure was all very convincing.

Perhaps, but there is no way of telling. Alma 14 allows that "the Lord receiveth them [the victims] up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they [the perpetrators] may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day." Now these persecutors and the chief judge were not called of God, but the same general principle applies to those who are victimized by those who are called to be leaders and do such things. In any case, a lack of divine inspiration in issuing callings is not what makes a calling not of God. regarding those who do receive inspiration, "It takes faith to believe that He knows the people He calls perfectly, both their capacities and their potential, and so makes no mistakes in His calls." https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/the-lord-leads-his-church?lang=eng

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I think we have misunderstood culturally then the reality of what inspired means.  

Sort of like the way we often attribute the term blessings as being money related. 

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11 hours ago, rchorse said:

As a bishop, my experience issuing callings was interesting. In some cases, I received very direct and clear revelation about who needed to be in a calling. But most of the time, it came through a process of counseling with my counselors and praying about it. Sometimes, we received a very clear answer as we prayed. Other times, the answer was more along the lines of "All the options you're considering are fine. Do what you think is best." In at least one case, members of the ward council and my counselors pressured me for months to call a couple into nursery. It always just never felt quite right. I finally gave in after almost a year, and we called them. Within 2 or 3 months it blew up in our faces, and I had big problems with this couple because of this calling.

So, in my experience, leaders do make mistakes in callings, but I also believe that the vast majority of callings are inspired and that leaders do their best to seek the will of the Lord when deciding on and issuing callings.

I believe some callings the Lord tells the bishop exactly who needs to be there or where they need to be.  Other times the Lord leaves it up to the Bishop to decide and is okay with whom he chooses after good effort to council and decide.  I think in both situation it's revelation due to the bishop holding the keys. It doesn't matter if the Lord decides or if the Lord has the bishop decide they are both revelation.  In this pattern the Lord is allowing the bishop to learn how to make decisions and grow and it's possible that he might not get it perfect but that's okay, the Lord will bless everyone regardless when the correct desires are in place.  This pattern is the same for our lives as we can't and won't be guided in all things - we have to learn how to make good decisions on our own at times it's about becoming more like God and acting not being acted upon..  

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27 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

I think we have misunderstood culturally then the reality of what inspired means.  

Sort of like the way we often attribute the term blessings as being money related. 

I think misunderstanding the true meaning of such terms as "inspired" and "blessings" is more a function of human nature than culture. Human nature very often drives cultural norms. Some people respond well to the light of Christ or their divine nature and run afoul of their traditions or culture. Likewise, the Zion culture is driven by the divine nature.

One can successfully be enticed to do good, can be influenced by the light of Christ, be inspired by or find inspiration in Christ, and enjoy the power and/or gift and companionship of the Holy Ghost and still have mortal weakness, including misunderstanding spiritual principles. But through grace and over time such a person does tend to improve.

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4 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

If one prays to God knowing that the prayer is not about protection from the wilderness...what does the prayer seek? 

The recommendation is to "treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man," including what he should pray for.

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On 2/19/2019 at 11:18 AM, MustardSeed said:

1.  What do we as a people believe about inspiration in callings—meaning, what are we expected to believe? That God finds us worthy of a task? That God knows what will occur and wants us to experience whatever that is? That there is a plan set and we have to follow the plan or upset the universe? 

2.  When we pray about who to marry or where to live, (two common prayers among members) seeking inspiration, what do we believe God is telling us? That our intended spouse or residence is safe for us? Won’t hurt us? Is our soul mate? Is what they say they are? Holds a promising future? 

I recently read Steve young’s autobiography and am curious about his and other people breaking engagements because it didn’t “ feel right”.  I read between the lines and tend to assume that when people say this they are suggesting that The Spirit is warning them, and that they heeded the warning, end of story. 

I know what I have come to believe about these things. I also know that while true to the faith, my faith looks a whole lot different than mainstream thought. 

I can speak for no one other than myself. I don't believe anyone else can speak for me when it comes to inspiration. When I have felt the inspiration of the Spirit, it has always come with an increased feeling of love for others. 

If I related certain events that I am certain were revelation (which I won't here or in any other situation without the express approval of the Spirit), would you believe they were inspired? Of what use would that knowledge be to you?

I can say that as a bishop I received inspiration when making callings, especially when it came to my counsellors and other ward leaders. But how could I prove that to you?

If one feels restrained by the Spirit to do something and complies, how would one know what the outcome would have been if one had not complied?

Except maybe somehow like this...

Quote

1 Nephi 1: 8 Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard.

19 And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world.

20 And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away. But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.....

2 Nephi 1: 4 For, behold, said he, I have seen a vision, in which I know that Jerusalem is destroyed; and had we remained in Jerusalem we should also have perished.

2 Nephi 6: 8 And now I, Jacob, would speak somewhat concerning these words. For behold, the Lord has shown me that those who were at Jerusalem, from whence we came, have been slain and carried away captive.

And then there's the story about President McKay and his brother at the bridge...

As they prepared to drive up a canyon to see some flood damage caused by the Ogden River, he was warned twice (once by an impression of the Spirit and again by his brother who also similarly impressed) not to cross a particular bridge which he had successfully crossed the day before. Not only did he ignore the warnings, he jocularly dismissed them as he revved the engine to dash across...much to his dismay when he was almost decapitated by a rope stretched across the road that they did not see until it was too late. 

 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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3 hours ago, CV75 said:

Perhaps, but there is no way of telling. Alma 14 allows that "the Lord receiveth them [the victims] up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they [the perpetrators] may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day." Now these persecutors and the chief judge were not called of God, but the same general principle applies to those who are victimized by those who are called to be leaders and do such things. In any case, a lack of divine inspiration in issuing callings is not what makes a calling not of God. regarding those who do receive inspiration, "It takes faith to believe that He knows the people He calls perfectly, both their capacities and their potential, and so makes no mistakes in His calls." https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/the-lord-leads-his-church?lang=eng

Yes I agree with all this. I just get annoyed when people say that all callings are inspired of God. 

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