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Encouraging Apostasy?


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8 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Really! When were you endowed and sealed?

I don't think you are getting the point, and yet complaining you can't minister in beliefs you do not have.

Sorry this is worse than I thought, you are not getting it that we make Covenants that you don't make.

You said earlier that you don't even want to be married forever unless I am wrong. 

How could you give marital advice to folks who want that more than anything and cannot image anything more wonderful???

 

I was endowed and sealed by the blood of Christ via the atonement.

Methinks you are confusing ministry with teaching doctrine. I have rarely ever tried to minister to, bring healing to, or comfort someone with a doctrinal lesson. In my experience, that usually isn't very helpful.

You have made covenants that I have never made. Ok. Now we can put that behind us. I have no idea if I have made covenants you haven't made. I may have, but that is of no more importance to me than it is to you.

I never would and never have given any marital advice to folks about being married forever. I have however, given many many hours of counseling and therapy to couples and families who struggle with living together in this life. That has been a large part of my life's ministry and part of that to which I was ordained. I have found it an immensely rewarding ministry.

My wife and I have attended our ward through three bishops now and four different visiting teachers/ministers.  Not one of them has every come to our home to minister to us via a doctrinal lesson. Their concern has been for how we are doing? What can they do to help us? Do we have any needs? How are things going in our relationships with the ward? I don't remember one single doctrinal discourse in five years. Now that is ministry!

 

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35 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

No. Why do you think I think you are not committed to your faith?

But I already asked that!

My point is not that you don't think I am committed to my faith, but that my faith is not something worthy of being committed to, especially when compared to yours.

41 minutes ago, Navidad said:

Perhaps I should have said that someday I hope you will see my faith as something worthy of being well-seated in.

 

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2 hours ago, Navidad said:

My point is not that you don't think I am committed to my faith, but that my faith is not something worthy of being committed to, especially when compared to yours.

 

That would be like me telling someone who is married their marriage isn’t worthy to be committed to just because they don’t have children and I do.  Just because you don’t make identical covenants because you have not been baptized by our specific covenant (which requires priests of our line of authority) and have not participated in our temple rituals doesn’t mean your faith does not have much of value to be committed to.

Most of us Saints aren’t all or nothing when it comes to faith, ours and others.  We believe in progression and continuing revelation (which likely includes additional covenants from the way I understand Joseph Smith’s teachings of comprehending the Endowment and the Atonement) so faith and covenanting are part of a very, very long process, so no one is currently committed to all the covenants that we will eventually covenant with God in order to be fully one with him according to our belief.  I personally know a number of Saints who believe it is possible other faiths have some covenants or beliefs that we will need to eventually learn in order to progress.  We can’t say which ones because we have not had it revealed to us though unlike whoever began those beliefs/practices, so it is speculation rather than doctrine in most of our views…but very reasonable speculation.

Edited by Calm
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6 hours ago, Navidad said:

I was endowed and sealed by the blood of Christ via the atonement.

It seems obvious that you are not endowed since you don't understand what it means, nor are you sealed since you have stated you do not want to be.

These involve different Covenants then those you have made.

You don't believe tha Joseph was a prophet worthy of receiving scripture 

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On 5/29/2022 at 2:42 AM, mfbukowski said:

It seems obvious that you are not endowed since you don't understand what it means, nor are you sealed since you have stated you do not want to be.

These involve different Covenants then those you have made.

You don't believe tha Joseph was a prophet worthy of receiving scripture 

Let me take these on one at a time from my understanding of what each means to me. That is all I can speak to - I won't try to explain what they mean to you. In the same manner you cannot explain what they mean to me.

I am endowed by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. I have assurance of the inheritance of eternal life. Eternal life is my endowment via the gift of Christ in the sum totality of his atonement. It is signed, sealed, and delivered via a covenant between Him and me of which both the Father and Holy Ghost are witnesses. 

My understanding of sealing will be quite different from yours, but it is just as precious to me as yours is to you. My understanding of sealing and endowment comes in part from Ephesians 1: 13 and 14. "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory." This wonderful passage includes both sealing and endowment - a promise of an inheritance and a sealing - marked by the Holy Spirit who guarantees our inheritance until the final day of redemption - to the praise of his glory! Wow - that may not be your endowment and sealing - but it is mine. In my previous post, I stated nothing about being sealed with my wife for eternity. That is a completely foreign concept to me. I did say that Eternal Families is a concept I do not understand and if I remember correctly you concurred that it is a hard concept to understand because all the complexities of it have not yet been revealed. I cannot claim, covet, or desire that which I do not understand. Maybe in another 10,000 years I will understand it better - by and by.

Last, you state that I don't believe that Joseph was a prophet worthy of receiving scripture. Well, I agree with you, but with this caveat. I don't believe that anyone who ever lived is or was worthy of receiving scripture. Not Moses, Paul, Peter, David, nor any other human who has ever lived thousands of years ago, or yesterday.

Worthiness has nothing to do with receiving revelation or with eternal life (in my perspective). Romans 3:10 seems to rule that out. I equate worthiness and righteousness. It is Christ's unique sole and only righteousness that enables us to claim worthiness that is not our own. It is His cloak that we clothe ourselves with just as were the Passover houses cloaked with the blood. 

Neither your faith nor mine, as I understand them equates revelation and scripture. They are not one in the same. Did Joseph receive revelation from God? I don't know, but he could have, in the same way that God may choose to speak to many who offer petitions, supplications, or in the vernacular, seek His will for their lives. I believe in a distinction between general and special revelation. The difference between the two in my understanding is way too complex to be laid out here. Gotta get ready for Sacrament - first time since I fell. I look forward to going.

Edited by Navidad
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On 5/26/2022 at 12:22 PM, Navidad said:

I think your reply is powerful. In less than two sentences you have identified the LDS Church as a member's church, people, tribe, and culture. That is an awful lot of engagement and entanglement in one basket. No wonder leaving is such a challenge for so many. Leaving all of that is a lot of loss. I can't imagine that much investment and identity in any one organization. They are four completely separate things for me. Thanks for making me think!

I know this went down a different avenue, but this and your next post was very illuminating for me. Both of you and of a phenomenon I see in church compared to myself. 

With you (at least to me), your general POV makes more sense as your main values are influenced by your really loose affiliations in the world around you. It makes it easy to jump in and out of experiences but it also means you likely can’t see the value as much of cementing roots in one place and holding certain dogmas strongly (like eternal families, like a specific church being true or holding a unique divine authority). A Christian faith/walk is then defined through this lens. Which makes sense where the areas (particularly in LDS and catholic persuasions…but likely others) don’t make sense and the negatives to having cemented roots seem apparent. 

on to the church. The one’s I’ve seen struggle the most with leaving are the ones where these areas overlap heavily. When people, tribe, and culture are strongly affiliated with the first ID (church) leaving and changing beliefs…even beliefs within still a church construct can be excruciating or a prolonged difficult process. I’ve seen more than one who leaves but still holds pieces and feels a draws to their previous ID (sometimes good, sometimes bad). I've seen members within not struggle to cater their beliefs to better fit their needs/circumstance. This is by no means a universal experience though. My experience with the 4 areas is more complicated than that. I assume most are, but that could be my bias of projecting my own experience onto another. If I were to split mine it would look like this: 

church: LDS specific…but tied more to its spiritual foundations than a physical building or meeting place (the last 2 years especially have proved that to me, as our family does church more at home until our daughter is vax’d). I venture out and study and often find things to like/value in other faith traditions or churches, but my spiritual lens is inherently one that is LDS. In the scriptures I read for guidance, the beliefs I hold, and many of my most treasured spiritual experience have inherently LDS flavor to them. It long ago moved from the community I grew up in to the faith I proactively hold.

Culture: This one is inherently mixed. Being raised lds is a part of it, but if I'm being honest, it's not a super prominent feature. At least in comparison to much of my family on my mother's side who come from a long line of members (about as long as you can go). But my culture is also east coast, irreparably US, influenced by varying ethnicities, and somewhat flexible to the context. I don't have a single prominent feature that overtly pins me. People who try, often get a little frustrated doing so and land on "weird," Because I don't properly exude the stereotype or box they most associate me with. 

Tribe: Since you name it as family, I'll probably do the same. Some of my family I'm loosely connected to but still fill a tie to...even beyond the veil. Such as my great-grandmother and woman I'm named after. My closest tribe I interact with regularly. My husband is my best friend, my daughter is my angel (and test of patience depending the day :P). There is a sense of responsibility and meaningful connection to many beyond that though. Including several of my brothers, and maintaining a connection in general with many of my other siblings and my closer in-laws. I have several roles in my tribe and I take these seriously. There are tribe members I've chosen not to affiliate with...but those are few and for reasons of toxicity. My family Is primarily LDS, but by no means solely LDS...including my bio-dad and a number of my siblings at this point.

People: This varies and is likely tied to forms of love, investment, and connection. My closest chosen people mesh with my tribe strongly...as an I consider them extension of family even if they're not blood related. Others are less so. These are ones that fit into categories of sharing ideas, interests, stories, and experiences. My people are all over the place; sometimes literally. Some are well educated, some are not. Some are young, some are old. None of my closest share a very similar background though my 3 oldest friends all have a strength I deeply value/gravitate to. Caring, helping, sharing, etc are inherent traits in my chosen peoples.    

 

From my standpoint, your definitions are in some ways familiar but in others very very different. The degree of emotional and personal independence is not my experience. At some point I may have had it more...in some ways I still do. But I value more healthy loving connection, a chosen value I've fostered most of my adult life. To extricate myself from my varying communities is not one of simply picking up and going to a spot that better suits me. It would be disentangling myself to some degree to parts of myself. In some ways it's not a full possibility. But what you described makes sense why it would for you. I guess one could describe this as enmeshment...but that seems more from the value context of someone who's life is strongly defined by independence. It's not for me.

 

With luv,

BD

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On 5/20/2022 at 10:39 AM, jkwilliams said:

A young married couple in my family told me of their tentative decision to leave the church (the reason isn’t important to this thread). They asked me to keep it confidential, and I did. The only advice I offered them was 1) make sure you are both agreed in whatever decision you make, and 2) don’t let anyone else (including me) influence or pressure you in any way; the decision is between you and God. 

I did not say anything pro or con about the church. It struck me that, in my former active LDS days, I would have volunteered my services to help them resolve their issues. I would have tried hard to get them to stay. But now I feel it’s none of my business what they do, and it would be wrong to try and influence them. 

I’m wondering if, from the believing perspective, it’s better to stay out of it and let people make their own decisions. I think it probably is.

Incidentally, I think watching them go through so much pain and turmoil (particularly from one side of the family) and feeling powerless to help partly explains why I’ve been a bit quick-tempered here lately. 

If you read my above post, it probably isn't too suprising to know that when I'm with a person in this place, I usually dig deeper. My younger self may have tried to keep them here (maybe?)...but my current self marks from where they're at but still wants to help people get to a healthier outcome. This doesn't necessarily mean keeping them in the faith. A) I'm not that powerful B) it wouldn't be genuine if they did. But if someone's coming to me talking about concerns around, church, god, spirituality, or family...they don't come to me expecting a brief/light convo on it. 

 

With luv,

BD

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1 hour ago, BlueDreams said:

From my standpoint, your definitions are in some ways familiar but in others very very different. The degree of emotional and personal independence is not my experience. At some point I may have had it more...in some ways I still do. But I value more healthy loving connection, a chosen value I've fostered most of my adult life. To extricate myself from my varying communities is not one of simply picking up and going to a spot that better suits me. It would be disentangling myself to some degree to parts of myself. In some ways it's not a full possibility. But what you described makes sense why it would for you. I guess one could describe this as enmeshment...but that seems more from the value context of someone who's life is strongly defined by independence. It's not for me.

Thanks so very much for acknowledging that my perspective on my affiliations and connections may in some ways "make sense." That means a lot. You used the word "enmeshment." I like that word a lot. I have for all my adult life tried to avoid enmeshment or co-dependencies with everyone but my wife. I am a big fan of sociology. Sociologist Kurt Lewin talked a lot about communication patterns in his theory of force field analysis in organizations. Enmeshment was one of three core communication patterns emerging in organizations. He saw closed communications as the worst, but enmeshment was quite toxic and dysfunctional in its own way as it led to an unhealthy level of inter-connectedness. I was influenced by him as a young man and thus have always tried to keep my affiliations and communications distinct and able to be lost without devastation. Of course if the day comes I lose my dear wife, I will be beyond devastated.

I also have spent most of my life working in public school districts from Anchorage to Apalachicola and from Salem to San Diego. It is my experience that I dare not affiliate too strongly with folks in any one district, because senior leadership in the same is a tenuous proposition. It can end as quickly as it begins. I thought it important to go to church where there was not a lot of district affiliation. I joined scholarly societies outside of education in order to have a "safe" place for my academic pursuits. That has led me to my PhD work in Mexican history and my fascination with Mormon (broadly speaking) history, of all things!

We have found a "home" of sorts here in Mexico. This morning we went to the historic Juarez ward of the Mormon Mexican colonies, tomorrow I will go down about an hour south to the LeBaron Mormon colonies, and on Thursday to Camargo to see where a group of Catholic Cristeros were killed by union activists in 1932. It is all wonderfully diverse and rich in opportunities to learn and grow. Blessings on you as you progress down the specific Covenant Path that the Savior has laid out for you.

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9 hours ago, manol said:

The oft-repeated promise of "Seek and ye shall find" becomes moot if we do not seek. 

How very true and very well said. Welcome to the forum!

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On 5/29/2022 at 6:56 AM, Navidad said:

My understanding of sealing will be quite different from yours, but it is just as precious to me as yours is to you. My understanding of sealing and endowment comes in part from Ephesians 1: 13 and 14. "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory." This wonderful passage includes both sealing and endowment - a promise of an inheritance and a sealing - marked by the Holy Spirit who guarantees our inheritance until the final day of redemption - to the praise of his glory!

Great!

So you are planning on getting the ordinances to become a God, after you pass, THEN you will be on the covenant path.

No, I really don't think you were saying that, but it is a perfectly good interpretation 

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On 5/29/2022 at 12:41 PM, Navidad said:

Thanks so very much for acknowledging that my perspective on my affiliations and connections may in some ways "make sense." That means a lot. You used the word "enmeshment." I like that word a lot. I have for all my adult life tried to avoid enmeshment or co-dependencies with everyone but my wife. I am a big fan of sociology. Sociologist Kurt Lewin talked a lot about communication patterns in his theory of force field analysis in organizations. Enmeshment was one of three core communication patterns emerging in organizations. He saw closed communications as the worst, but enmeshment was quite toxic and dysfunctional in its own way as it led to an unhealthy level of inter-connectedness. I was influenced by him as a young man and thus have always tried to keep my affiliations and communications distinct and able to be lost without devastation. Of course if the day comes I lose my dear wife, I will be beyond devastated.

I also have spent most of my life working in public school districts from Anchorage to Apalachicola and from Salem to San Diego. It is my experience that I dare not affiliate too strongly with folks in any one district, because senior leadership in the same is a tenuous proposition. It can end as quickly as it begins. I thought it important to go to church where there was not a lot of district affiliation. I joined scholarly societies outside of education in order to have a "safe" place for my academic pursuits. That has led me to my PhD work in Mexican history and my fascination with Mormon (broadly speaking) history, of all things!

We have found a "home" of sorts here in Mexico. This morning we went to the historic Juarez ward of the Mormon Mexican colonies, tomorrow I will go down about an hour south to the LeBaron Mormon colonies, and on Thursday to Camargo to see where a group of Catholic Cristeros were killed by union activists in 1932. It is all wonderfully diverse and rich in opportunities to learn and grow. Blessings on you as you progress down the specific Covenant Path that the Savior has laid out for you.

I know nothing of Kurt lewin (that I’m aware of). My picture of enmeshment comes from when I was in my masters program and they showed us this grid: 

image.gif.2687262ecd6ec4d5313c96dc807aa0a0.gif

this was focusing on family/systemic relationships specifically, but I still see it applying to people’s experience of faith. After all, what we assume of our faith often starts at home and then branches out as we grow. I should note that this doesn’t mean that where there’s major overlap between categories of church, tribe, culture, and people, that this automatically assumes it must be enmeshed. It’s not. I’m thinking more ones that I’ve met who’ve moved this overlap into the “high dependency, high ‘we,’ and high loyalty” spiritually. Where any exploration of different opinions, even within the church’s frameworks make them uncomfortable or resistant. Or on the more chaotic enmeshed side where doing something wrong leads to excess over correction. It doesn’t happen all the time…or even most the time. But it does happen and I would assume the more one’s world is heavily one thing the easier it is to slip into a more enmeshed relationship.   
 

on the other note, disengagement to me is equally unhealthy and according to some sources harder to correct. I could believe it from what I’ve seen. Personally I came from a family that entailed chaotic enmeshment and my natural urge veered to counteracting that by disengaging a lot. Finding a comfortable middle was hard and at times painful. But immeasurably rewarding. I don’t want to psychoanalyze you and if it feels like that, please feel free to ignore it, but from what you describe to your degree of independence/avoiding deep connections it kinda sounds like disengagement. Which is why it sounds vaguely familiar for me. But again, it’s not mine to call, and I hesitate to say so since I don’t know you. Such a place though, it would make sense why most forms of deep communal identity would come off looking like and enmeshed relationship. 

 

with luv, 

BD 

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On 5/28/2022 at 7:25 PM, Navidad said:

I believe ministry potential has to do with the exercise of those gifts given by the Holy Spirit such as teaching, helping, counseling, etc. that are given to help build up a church. The vast majority of "ministry" callings in the LDS church are limited to members. That is simply the way it is. I am not being a critic of the church in pointing that out. It is simply something new for me given my varied ministry background in different, especially non-denominational church settings. Ministry is not only officiating. It is the use of one's spiritual gifts for the good of, and building up of the whole body.

Hi,

Can you be more specific here? (and maybe our LDS friends can chime in). What specifically can't you do in the LDS church as a non-member that you could do in a non-denominational church?

You mention teaching. I can see why this might be restricted. Since you do not believe specific LDS church claims, it would make sense that you couldn't teach them.

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8 minutes ago, MiserereNobis said:

Hi,

Can you be more specific here? (and maybe our LDS friends can chime in). What specifically can't you do in the LDS church as a non-member that you could do in a non-denominational church?

You mention teaching. I can see why this might be restricted. Since you do not believe specific LDS church claims, it would make sense that you couldn't teach them.

I prefer not to be more specific because inevitably someone will suggest I am complaining or whining about it.

There is a church handbook, #2 I believe, that spells out rather specifically what a non-member may do in the way of ministry in an LDS ward. For example if it hasn't changed, a non-member could be involved in leadership in music ministry, play the piano, etc.

I know that non-members may help clean the chapel. A non-member may take the sacrament, although it seems that some limit it to those who are either family of members or active investigators.

It seems that some things that are not specifically mentioned are up to the discretion of the local bishop. For example both my wife and I have spoken on several occasions each in what is called the Sacrament Talk. It is a sermonette given by one, two or three, people each Sunday. We have each given the annual Christmas Sacrament service talk. When my wife spoke one of the Area Presidents was presiding over the service. He gave her a big hug after the service, only then to discover she wasn't a member! It didn't seem to bother him at all.  We have both shared our testimonies on several occasions on the Fast Sunday. This is the Sacrament service on the last Sunday of the month. That is something where you just get up, go up to the platform and share your heart. It is voluntary and no one has ever stopped us or counseled us not to do that. The bishop asked both of us to pray to either open or close the service. I have sung solos, trios, duets, and quartets in the Sacrament service on a number of occasions. I have also sung in the ward choir. Both my wife and I have been substitute teachers in the adult Sunday School class when we were studying the Old Testament. Our bishop reasoned that we had more exposure and knowledge of the OT than his members, so it made sense to him to have us teach verse by verse exposition in the OT.

I have prayed in Elder's Quorum, my wife prayed in RS (the ladies group). We may not hold a ministry calling (a more or less several year calling) of any type. My wife apparently is eligible to sit in the primary class as the second adult in the room, although she doesn't and can't teach. One year I was not allowed to sing in the community Christmas concert sponsored by the LDS churches in the area. For the next three years in a row I sang as a soloist in it. So, things change depending on leadership.

Neither of us have had an official calling for anything. They did have a debate about whether or not my wife could be on the kitchen committee for funerals, meals, special events, etc. I think they must have decided no to that. I once gave the Bible reading and prayer for the ward evening Christmas program. That is about it. We are not assigned any members to support or help in the community; recently we have had no one assigned to us for the same. I will happily let my friends here chime in with more detail. My understanding from a previous conversation on this forum is that most will tell you they have never had a non-member do some of the things that we have been allowed to do. We now have a new bishop. I doubt very much that we will be doing any of those things under his leadership. Not a complaint. Just a fact. Take care.

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6 hours ago, Navidad said:

There is a church handbook, #2 I believe, that spells out rather specifically what a non-member may do in the way of ministry in an LDS ward

Just the General Handbook now. They got smart and just made all of it public since it was being leaked frequently.  (I don’t know if that was why, there are other intelligent reasons I can think of such as to avoid people speculating about the guidelines.)

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/general-handbook?lang=eng

As far as non-members:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/general-handbook/30-callings-in-the-church?lang=eng#title_number5
 

“People who are not members of the Church may be called to some positions, such as organist, music director, or a calling to help plan activities. However, they should not be called as teachers, as quorum or organization presidency members, or as Primary music leaders.”

Edited by Calm
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6 hours ago, Navidad said:

My understanding from a previous conversation on this forum is that most will tell you they have never had a non-member do some of the things that we have been allowed to do.

I have never been around a nonmember who told me they wanted to do most of the stuff.  :)  Have had nonmembers give testimonies and partake of the sacrament. Also give a solo or take part with performing as a group a musical number.   And they helped in Scouts. 
 

FYI for SB,

There is a calling that is labeled “minister” that has combined the men’s home teaching and the women’s visiting teaching, which was usually meeting in the home and sharing a short lesson as well as visiting and seeing if there were needs unless the individual requested no lesson, no visiting.  Each member/family is supposed to have a minister, but unfortunately it is all volunteer and some of us are poor at this (I have a really hard time calling strangers…I am quite shy in many ways, though once the connection is made I probably look the opposite, so I do great if I was with a partner who did the calling and poor if I had to be the instigator.). I haven’t done ministering for awhile as how mobile I am each day is unpredictable. 

The Church likes to structure wards to create connection and commitment ideally, but not overwhelm members and deprive their families of them.

 

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/general-handbook/30-callings-in-the-church?lang=eng#title_number5

“Each calling should bless the people who are served, the member who serves, and the member’s family. Callings also give members opportunities to grow.

Members are blessed for sacrifices they make to serve in the Church. However, a calling should not place undue burdens on individuals and families. Nor should callings make it difficult for members to fulfill their employment responsibilities.

Generally, each member is called to serve in only one calling at a time, in addition to being a ministering brother or sister. Exceptions should be rare and prayerfully considered. Not every potential position needs to be filled.

When extending a calling to a married member, leaders ensure that the spouse is aware and supportive of the calling. Before extending a calling to a young man or young woman, leaders obtain approval from his or her parents or guardians.”

Added:  

instructions on ministering 

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/general-handbook/21-ministering?lang=eng#p1

Edited by Calm
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