Let’s face it. Sometimes people aspire to callings/positions/assignments in this church. And usually the more prestigious the calling the more people there are that aspire to it.
Admittedly it is not rare that someone will aspire to a humble calling just because they love it – primary teacher, chorister, scout master, youth Sunday School teacher, nursery worker, etc. In fact most of us have preferred ward callings. This is usually a function of what we do best – everyone likes an assignment they are good at after all. I doubt the Lord has any qualms with this sort of thing. But this post is about aspiring to prestigious assignments.
There are several motivations to gun for a prestigious calling and not all of them are particularly wicked. Here are a few starting from the most innocuous:
- A person desires to serve more people. They, along with Alma lament “Oh that I were and Angel” and wish to be more effective in crying repentance to people. They know Mormons are most likely to listen to those called to be their leaders so they aspire to be such.
- A person wants to serve God and feels that the prestige to the assignment they have in the Church is a direct measure of their standing before God. They think “If I get called to be the RS President or Bishop that means God is very pleased with me”. They aspire to the calling in order to feel assurance that they are in good standing with God.
- A person desires a calling because of the glory associated with it. People look up to and respect members of bishoprics or stake presidencies. Receiving such a calling carries a cache of honor and glory and some people seek that glory.
There are problems with all three of these motivations. Obviously the person gunning for earthly glory will have their reward in just that. The person seeking high callings as a measure of their standing before God will have serious self-doubt issues to deal with when the day of their release comes. The person who waits to get a calling to serve with all their time, talents and energy is wasting their precious probationary time in that waiting process.
This subject has something to do with us bloggers — especially those of us that use our real names. Whatever we write on a blog is suddenly our published opinion. Published opinions have come back and bitten many people in many fields over the course of human history. If a person aspires to be a bishop, or stake president, or stake RS president, or general auxilliary presidency member, or general authority some day, blogging (at least in one’s own name) may be a roadblock to that dubious goal. We talk about doctrines on blogs that no one talks about in Sunday school. Blogs are, by the very nature of the medium, prone to heterodoxy. Published heterodox opinions are probably counter-productive to those who are campaigning for high and holy offices in the church.
As you might have guessed, I think gunning for a prestigious calling is a bad idea. I think/hope that whatever aspirations for high callings in the church I have had over the years have left me now. I have decided that I will explore the truth of God in writing here and look under every nook and cranny until I find it. If that means I get passed over for certain callings in the future I am fine with that. I am not trying to impress my family or neighbors or ward members or stake members with my callings anymore. If I am going to impress them I want it to be with my love for them. I really am mostly interested in impressing God at this point. I trust him enough (as well as my leaders) to give me whatever assignment he wants me to do anyway.
In the meantime, I intend to aggressively seek the truth here. If it means we have some unorthodox discussions or that I come to some seemingly heterodox conclusions, so be it.
(I hope I don’t chicken out and start aspiring to the honors of men again in the future…)