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Accepting callings in the Church

Accepting Church callings  

30 members have voted

  1. 1. Should a member in good standing in the church always accept a calling?

    • They should accept all callings regardless of circumstances.
      1
    • They can refuse a calling under certain circumstances.
      16
    • They should only accept callings they feel like they can do.
      0
    • They don't have to accept any callings
      13


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We are told that all Church callings are inspired of the Lord and because of that we should never refuse a calling,
although I am not sure who the first one to say that was.
I have only refused one calling in my life, and that was scoutmaster.
At the time I was a full-time married college student and working full-time in the evenings after school
and had no time during the week to do the calling, nor did I have any money that would be required to buy all the 
scouting stuff I would need. When I explained this to the Bishop he agreed the calling was not for me.
Has anyone else had experience refusing a calling? Should we never refuse a calling? If we do refuse does that mean we lack the faith to do it?

No.jpg.fcc764b1f5d122f37523c573b8959a08.jpg

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Posted (edited)

I have refused several callings and no one ever had a problem with it.  Otoh, at least some of the leaders also knew I volunteered when I could and saw a need so that may have had to do something with it.  Also most were familiar with my husband since he usually was in some calling that had him high frequency of contact, so if they didn't know me well, they knew of the situation.

And I don't see it as a lack of faith, but an awareness of what God wants of me at the moment.  If he wants me out there in every calling, he can cure me.

Edited by Calm
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I just finished reading The Next Mormons by Jana Riess and they had a similar question like this in the survey.  One of the possible answers to the question about reasons to decline a calling, was "It's never OK to say no".  By generation the results are interesting.  47% of the Boomer/Silent generations picked that answer, 36% of GenX did, and only 27% of Millennials picked it.  This seems to show a clear generational shift around the taboo of saying no to a calling.   I know they have some additional information on their web site.

https://thenextmormons.org/

 

 

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52 minutes ago, JAHS said:

We are told that all Church callings are inspired of the Lord and because of that we should never refuse a calling,

I've never heard this.  We've been told this by who?

A calling should be 1) acceptable to the Lord 2) acceptable to the presiding authority issuing the calling 3) acceptable to the person accepting the calling.

Having been on both sides of the table, accepting and issuing callings, I feel that there are time when it's right to turn down a calling, but at the same time it was right for the calling to be extended. 

 

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28 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

I've never heard this.  We've been told this by who?

A calling should be 1) acceptable to the Lord 2) acceptable to the presiding authority issuing the calling 3) acceptable to the person accepting the calling.

Having been on both sides of the table, accepting and issuing callings, I feel that there are time when it's right to turn down a calling, but at the same time it was right for the calling to be extended. 

 

The never turn down a calling idea might originate with some members simply expressing an opinion rather than Church policy. People say callings are given after the church leader has pondered and prayed about it and received revelation from God that the call should be extended to someone. When they put it that way to the person being called, how can they turn it down? Who are they to contradict revelation from God?

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20 minutes ago, JAHS said:

The never turn down a calling idea might originate with some members simply expressing an opinion rather than Church policy. People say callings are given after the church leader has pondered and prayed about it and received revelation from God that the call should be extended to someone. When they put it that way to the person being called, how can they turn it down? Who are they to contradict revelation from God?

It comes from General Conference talks.

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I don't know the answer to the poll but I do know that the members who believe that you should never turn down a calling in the church are doing most of the work.

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33 minutes ago, JAHS said:
1 hour ago, ksfisher said:

I've never heard this.  We've been told this by who?

A calling should be 1) acceptable to the Lord 2) acceptable to the presiding authority issuing the calling 3) acceptable to the person accepting the calling.

Having been on both sides of the table, accepting and issuing callings, I feel that there are time when it's right to turn down a calling, but at the same time it was right for the calling to be extended. 

 

The never turn down a calling idea might originate with some members simply expressing an opinion rather than Church policy. People say callings are given after the church leader has pondered and prayed about it and received revelation from God that the call should be extended to someone. When they put it that way to the person being called, how can they turn it down? Who are they to contradict revelation from God?

 

17 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

It comes from General Conference talks.

As Nehor mentioned it has been said in conference talks
Elder Boyd K Packer:
"Bishops are inspired! Each of us has agency to accept or reject counsel from our leaders, but never disregard the counsel of your bishop, whether given over the pulpit or individually, and never turn down a call from your bishop."   The Bishop and His Counselors 1999 Ensign

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1 hour ago, CA Steve said:

I don't know the answer to the poll but I do know that the members who believe that you should never turn down a calling in the church are doing most of the work.

They are also the ones who are going to get exalted.

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Posted (edited)

You left out the one that I'd say covers it.  

A member of the church should accept every calling made to them, after disclosing any limitations/concerns they may have to the leader who then still thinks Heavenly Father wants them to issue the calling to you, if you also get personal confirmation.    If you don't get personal confirmation, then you should still accept it if you can (not the least because maybe it is your not being able to hear the spirit instead of it is not right), but you are not under covenant to do so.

Edited by rpn
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2 minutes ago, rpn said:

You left out the one that I'd say covers it.  

A member of the church should accept every calling made to them, after disclosing any limitations/concerns they may have to the leader who then still thinks Heavenly Father wants them to issue the calling to you, if you also get personal confirmation.    If you don't get personal confirmation, then you should still accept it if you can (not the least because maybe it is your not being able to hear the spirit instead of it is not right), but you are not under covenant to do so.

Too long to make it one of the choices, but a good one.

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I think it's a balance.  I don't think callings should be turned down on preference (I mean, go ahead, but I just don't think so), but accepted on the premise that there is an opportunity to grow, serve, and be served by, and become closer to the Lord and other people in the ward; in a way that may not at first be apparent because of our fears and weakness.  On the other hand, 'no' should always be on the table, and yes, one can evaluate with personal revelation. 

I've never said 'no' to a calling initially, but I did ask for a release from one.  I was waking up nauseated every day for a year under the stress and personality crap and for whatever reason, my lack of faith or whatever, it wasn't resolving, and in the end, I had to do something kind for myself and not cause myself to go through pure torture.

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2 hours ago, JAHS said:

The never turn down a calling idea might originate with some members simply expressing an opinion rather than Church policy. People say callings are given after the church leader has pondered and prayed about it and received revelation from God that the call should be extended to someone. When they put it that way to the person being called, how can they turn it down? Who are they to contradict revelation from God?

As you stated (and ksfisher implied) a Priesthood authority receives personal revelation/confirmation to extend a call.  That revelation/confirmation isn’t negated or foiled if the call is not accepted.  There may be any number of Divine purposes to extend a call, accepting the call isn’t always required to fulfill those purposes.

l believe the only Divine responsibility one has after receiving an invitation to fill a calling is to seek Divine guidance in how to respond to that invitation.

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Posted (edited)

I don't believe that every calling in the Church is done by inspiration and it does not have be so.  Does on really need inspiration to know if member X should be called to nursery or tending the library?  Many callings can be done by anyone.  It is also important to tell people giving the callings if one can't do them.  My work schedule for example forces me to work every other weekend.  Which means right now, I don't attend any Sunday school classed based on the new Church schedule.  So anyone who extends a calling to me to be a Sunday School teacher means I have to say no because I will not be at church that week to do it. 

Edited by carbon dioxide
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If anyone here has been in a bishopric or stake presidency and can claim that every calling they ever issued was the result of clear inspiration from the Lord, let me know.

I've sat in bishopric meetings for a total of about 8 years (as counselor and exec sec)... There were plenty of times that callings were more of a "best fit" or "no inspiration to the contrary".  Given that, I think it's perfectly fine for a member to politely decline a calling. 

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4 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

I don't believe that every calling in the Church is done by inspiration and it does not have be so.  Does on really need inspiration to know if member X should be called to nursery or tending the library?  Many callings can be done by anyone.  It is also important to tell people giving the callings if one can't do them.  My work schedule for example forces me to work every other weekend.  Which means right now, I don't attend any Sunday school classed based on the new Church schedule.  So anyone who extends a calling to me to be a Sunday School teacher means I have to say no because I will not be at church that week to do it. 

I was given the choice of callings.  I was told these were open and did I feel like any would work. It was weird.

I was called for nursery because I was in there with my son anyway. 

I was called to be in primary and I had to stop myself from laughing.  I had 2 two and under  and the oldest won't go to nursery alone. I asked him how was I going to teach with my little ones with me. He seemed surprised that I would have my kids with me. My husband couldn't take them with his calling. It was just awkward. 

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Took me a while to realize this. The bishop has keys of revelation for how to guide the ward. You have keys of revelation for how to guide your life (and family if that applies). Both revelations need to happen for a calling to work well.  sometimes they conflict. Just as it is inappropriate for a member to step into the bishops role, it is inappropriate for a bishop to take over a members role and claim he has revelation that a certain calling is the lords will for them. 

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12 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

I don't believe that every calling in the Church is done by inspiration and it does not have be so.  Does on really need inspiration to know if member X should be called to nursery or tending the library?  Many callings can be done by anyone.  It is also important to tell people giving the callings if one can't do them.  My work schedule for example forces me to work every other weekend.  Which means right now, I don't attend any Sunday school classed based on the new Church schedule.  So anyone who extends a calling to me to be a Sunday School teacher means I have to say no because I will not be at church that week to do it. 

Yes. Sometimes callings are more by desperation than inspiration. In Pocatello Idaho my wife and I were about to move into a house from an apartment in another ward. Before I even went to church for the first time in the new ward the stake presidency called me to be in the Elder's quorum presidency. Turns out almost all the men in the new ward were old retired High Priests and there were only about 5 or 6 active Elders in the entire ward so I was the only one they could choose. 

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3 hours ago, Buckeye said:

Took me a while to realize this. The bishop has keys of revelation for how to guide the ward. You have keys of revelation for how to guide your life (and family if that applies). Both revelations need to happen for a calling to work well.  sometimes they conflict. Just as it is inappropriate for a member to step into the bishops role, it is inappropriate for a bishop to take over a members role and claim he has revelation that a certain calling is the lords will for them. 

So what do active faithful members do with statements from general authorities like Elder Boyd K Packer when he said:
"Bishops are inspired! Each of us has agency to accept or reject counsel from our leaders, but never disregard the counsel of your bishop, whether given over the pulpit or individually, and never turn down a call from your bishop."  (The Bishop and His Counselors 1999 Ensign)

 

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I think a "member in good standing" can be very, very different different than a "good member" or a "member in good standing before the Lord." The latter can get away with anything! :)

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, JAHS said:

So what do active faithful members do with statements from general authorities like Elder Boyd K Packer when he said:
"Bishops are inspired! Each of us has agency to accept or reject counsel from our leaders, but never disregard the counsel of your bishop, whether given over the pulpit or individually, and never turn down a call from your bishop."  (The Bishop and His Counselors 1999 Ensign)

 

Are you sure he didn't mean phone call?

At any rate, any call is worth discussing openly enough with him for the Bishop to withdraw the call when appropriate as more light and knowledge is obtained. Not good to turn it down out of hand.

Edited by CV75

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I understand why packer and others would emphasize the need to accept callings.  So many many people just take and refuse to stretch themselves in the spirit of community.  That said, I don’t have a problem saying no if I have a legit concern. I’ve taken on many callings that were inconvenient.  But I’ve also said no when needed. 

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Posted (edited)

Your poll is missing an option:

- Be open and transparent with your bishop/Stake President about your concerns and limitations.  Tell the dang truth (both to him, and to yourself) about why you're worried about the calling.  Counsel with your priesthood leader on the matter, and come to an agreement with him and the Lord on what to do.

IMO, that option is the clear winner.  I wish more folks understood that. 

I was offered a calling, did this, and got offered a different calling from a thankful bishop who wished more folks would just be truthful with him.  I've sat in bishopric meetings and watched men do their absolute best to wring every available drop of spiritual guidance into their mix of things they know about the members, trying to find something that works best for everyone. I've watched people accept callings under false pretenses "Sure bishop, no problem!" followed by going inactive or never showing up because you have to work.  I've also watched folks speak openly about what they're good at, what they like to do, favorite and least favorite callings, and why.  No really, let your bishop know you.

 

Edited by LoudmouthMormon
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1 hour ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

Your poll is missing an option:

- Be open and transparent with your bishop/Stake President about your concerns and limitations.  Tell the dang truth (both to him, and to yourself) about why you're worried about the calling.  Counsel with your priesthood leader on the matter, and come to an agreement with him and the Lord on what to do.

IMO, that option is the clear winner.  I wish more folks understood that. 

I was offered a calling, did this, and got offered a different calling from a thankful bishop who wished more folks would just be truthful with him.  I've sat in bishopric meetings and watched men do their absolute best to wring every available drop of spiritual guidance into their mix of things they know about the members, trying to find something that works best for everyone. I've watched people accept callings under false pretenses "Sure bishop, no problem!" followed by going inactive or never showing up because you have to work.  I've also watched folks speak openly about what they're good at, what they like to do, favorite and least favorite callings, and why.  No really, let your bishop know you.

 

Very important. While I would never refuse a calling you can share your concerns and limitations openly. It is also appropriate when circumstances change to go to you bishop or one of his counselors and let him know because you may need a release.

It is not appropriate to accept a calling and then just not do it.

I say this as someone who has had trouble sleeping the last couple of nights while trying to come up with a plan to present to the bishopr to move people to fill vital callings with people who will actually do them. There are so few.......

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Very important. While I would never refuse a calling you can share your concerns and limitations openly. It is also appropriate when circumstances change to go to you bishop or one of his counselors and let him know because you may need a release.

It is not appropriate to accept a calling and then just not do it.

I say this as someone who has had trouble sleeping the last couple of nights while trying to come up with a plan to present to the bishopr to move people to fill vital callings with people who will actually do them. There are so few.......

This drives me up the wall the worst. I had to get after my husband for years, now he doesn't accept the call to home teach/minister, but back then he would never do his home teaching. I'd keep telling him that his families need someone.

He is one that he'd go help a neighbor in a heartbeat, but when it came to assigned families, he just wouldn't do it. But he was the one everyone turned to for help, since he is a handyman like no other, I'm lucky.

He had a shop at one time and welded a product he had in many stores. So many times he welded for people free of charge or helped people in their yards to get rid of weeds or whatever was wrong with their grass. 

Just needed to shared my husband's good qualities, in fact, he had more lady friends than I ever did. They'd call or walk over to speak to him, cause he also loves making yard ornaments, or ornamental signs, wood things. I'm thinking that will be the case in our new neighborhood, haha.

ETA: I jumped in and wrote my post to you without reading the very end of your post. Good luck bud, hope you can get the inspiration for sure, and to me a little inspiration and the knowledge of the person/persons goes a long way. 

ETA again!: Nehor, be sure and look at inactives as a possibility as well, sometimes they will come out of the woodwork and thrive. I came out of a short stint of inactivity as a young single adult when called to team teach Primary. Or people like myself as inactive, would like a calling that doesn't involve teaching or bearing my testimony. I crave some interaction with people since being inactive. Try thinking of people like them too. :)

Edited by Tacenda

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