An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

Letter to My Bishop

Letter to My Bishop
No, this is not a confession piece about flunking my temple recommend interview. A post on made me think of suggestions I’d like to make to my own bishop.
Some of my suggestions would be quick and easy to implement: 1) Lock the organ keyboard and let pianists who can play hymns at the tempo they’re written accompany the singing. 2) If you must assign three different speakers to talk on the same theme in sacrament meeting, at least admonish them not to all use the same conference address. 3) Encourage ward members to recognize that non-LDS people also have family values. 4) Remind parents not to leave dirty diapers in the restroom garbage after the block. Most likely the trash won’t be emptied for a week.

My most radical suggestion, however, would be to let people choose their own callings. Wouldn’t it be fun to have people who are truly enthusiastic fill all the positions? Most wards have a diverse group of members with widely differing talents. My own children were fortunate enough to have their lives enriched by ward members with talents and interests different from those of their parents. Left to us, our kids would have had far fewer camping, back-packing, and boating experiences. Personally, I’m glad to do grubby things like cleaning the meetinghouse, washing up following ward dinners, and pulling weeds for elderly or ill ward members if hardy, fun-loving souls will coach sports teams, deal with giggling and/or hysterical adolescent females at Girls’ Camp, and take Scouts on 50-mile bike rides.

So, would a ward function if everyone did what they wanted to instead of what they were called to do? Maybe. I’m always amazed when apparently sincere people tell me they really love callings I wouldn’t accept at gun point—such as taking the youth on a river run. And some people hate turns on the clean up committee which I don’t mind. Probably there is enough diversity in most wards to get the work done—or decide if the job really needs doing. If nobody in the ward volunteers for Food Storage Coordinator, maybe it’s because nobody in the ward has a current need to fill their basement shelves.

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