Subject: NEVER refuse a church calling - doctrine or myth?
Date: Dec 25 12:39 2004
Am I the only one who grew up in the church with the teaching that you should never refuse a calling?
Is it okay for Mormons to refuse church callings?
Here's what the church says:
"I often hear about members who refuse Church callings or accept callings and fail to fulfill their responsibilities. Some are not committed and faithful. It has always been so. But this is not without consequence."
"The Savior spoke of the contrast between the faithful and the unfaithful in three great parables recorded in the 25th chapter of Matthew.... And when the Lord came in His glory, He separated the sheep, who had served Him and their fellowmen, from the goats, who had not. Only those who had “done it unto one of the least of these my brethren” were set on His right hand to inherit the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world."
"My brothers and sisters, if you are delinquent in commitment, please consider who it is you are refusing or neglecting to serve when you decline a calling or when you accept, promise, and fail to fulfill. I pray that each of us will follow this inspired declaration:"
"There’s surely somewhere a lowly place
In earth’s harvest fields so wide
Where I may labor through life’s short day
For Jesus, the Crucified.
(Hymns, no. 270)"
Jesus showed the way. Even though He shrank from the bitter path that led through Gethsemane and Calvary, He submissively said to the Father, “Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done”.
“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” We need to remember the purpose of our service to one another. If it were only to accomplish some part of His work, God could dispatch “legions of angels,” as Jesus taught on another occasion. But that would not achieve the purpose of the service He has prescribed. We serve God and our fellowmen in order to become the kind of children who can return to live with our heavenly parents.
- Dallin H. Oaks, “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go,” October 2002 General Conference, Ensign, Nov. 2002, Page 67
Now what is the church really saying here?
1. Refusing callings is not without "consequences."
2. Members who refuse callings are like the goats who do not inheret the kingdom.
3. Refusing callings is paramount to being unfaithful to "Jesus, the Crucified."
4. Members should just be submissive like Jesus and say "not my will, but thine, be done."
5. You could lose your soul for not accepting church callings.
6. Members serve in callings in order to be the kind of "children" who will return to heaven.
And they say Mormonism is not a manipulative cult?
Subject: Go home and pray about it. The answer will be YES
Date: Dec 25 13:08
That's what I was told as a convert, every time they "extended a calling" to me. Your name would be called out in SM, summoning you to the bishop's office (no notice, so any after church plans had to wait). Bish would say, "Sister NG, THE LORD has called you to Primary, RS, bulletin board monitor...whatever"). "What is your response to THE LORD, Sister NG?" Any hesitation would be met with the instruction to "Go home and pray about it. The answer will be yes". All righty then...
I had no idea saying no was "allowed". I didn't know other members (especially BICs) turned down the summons from on high. In my experience, Mormonism deals in absolutes. Once you make the baptismal commitment, they own you. Every step on the Mormon hamster wheel is presented as a requirement. If you have a problem with that (or just plain can't do it) hey, you made a covenant. As a mo, I wore a permanently puzzled expression and my most frequent response was "I did?" I had no idea that meeting attendance and church callings, among other things, were mandatory, which is how they were presented to me after baptism.
The temple ritual "Bow your head and say yes" epitomizes Mormonism to me - bowing in acquiescence isn't a measure of your agreement but rather a sign that choice is not an option.
Of course, at some point, you can exercise your option to jump off the wheel! It just takes a while sometimes to realize that.
Subject: Re: Go home and pray about it.....
Date: Dec 26 05:43
Author: a day late & a download short
I can see your response to the temple ritual, as based on the overall perspective that you acquired, NG.
When I read of a letter that Joseph Smith wrote, in November, 1838--after languishing for a time, while still in Liberty Jail--it seems that many things are made quite clear, through such thinking:
"We farther [sic] caution our brethren against the impropriety of the organization of bands or companies, by covenants, oaths, penalties, or secrecies....Pure friendship always becomes weakened the very moment you undertake to make it stronger by penal oaths and secrecy. Your humble servants [viz, Joseph Smith and other 'heads'] intend from henceforth to disapprobate every thing that is not in accordance with the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and which is not of a bold, frank, and upright nature."
---Times & Seasons, July, 1840
Commentary: Historically-speaking, I don't think that that intent lasted very long, do you?
Subject: Re: Go home and pray about it. The answer will be YES
Date: Dec 26 11:48
It is so interesting how seeing the big picture can change our belief.
The Mormon church makes big claims - claims about truth - claims on peoples time and energy. Any thinking person is going to continually assess the basis for such claims.
The fairly sudden decisions we make about our relationship to Mormonism is probably not as sudden as it seems. But the nature of Mormonism makes it seem sudden because the big deal for them is whether we attend a meeting or wear an article of clothing. At some point we just say no to these things - but that is after hundreds of hours of thought, discussion and study.
So as NG says, and it applies to both BIC and convert, we gather facts over time (such as the fact the people refuse callings or that the Priesthood restoration story developed retroactively or that the first vision story was non-existent in the church for 40 years and was trotted out after polygamy was abandoned). Sooner or later we stop believing the big claim because so many subsidiary, testable claims stop making sense.
Subject: Re: NEVER refuse a church calling - doctrine or myth?
Date: Dec 25 13:16
I heard the same crap growing up in the church. They expect the members to accommodate the demands of the cult while mainstream churches try to serve the flock.
No doubt this comes from JS's statement that a church, which does not demand enough, does not have enough saving power. This is idiotic reasoning, of course, but it appeals to obsessive-compulsive personalities.
Joseph Smith, true to form and wedging himself into the picture the way Mormonism always does, thought that Christianity had it wrong for believing that saving-power rests in Jesus Christ alone.
Subject: I like your comments, here
Date: Dec 26 05:59
Author: I like it
I, too, feel that where Jesus Christ is the "sole central theme" of [whatever brand of] Christianity, there is great, potential personal power [read that "empowerment"].
Those other denominations have Christ as the center. It is, after all, called Christianity, not JosephSmithianity.
The thing that those other church denominations traditionally lack is the real power to "organize themselves" [as a take-off on God telling the Church to do the same].
There is precious little church "program" for adults, in sectarian Christianity. Their heart is right, I feel--though--in the emphasis that the "church" is there to serve the people, and not the other way around.
While 'mormon brethren' rush to prop up the image that they have set up, other religions de-emphasize any kind of "institutional perspective": to them, there is no church institution; for, to set one up, they would end up whoring after a sort of false image--
exactly the thing that mormonism greedily salivates after!
I don't know what is worse: the paucity of "church programs" in sectarian Christendom--to draw adults into a greater active role--or what I just stated, above, about Mormonism.
I choose a Sovereign Christ over a corporate conglomerate made up of "Christ and The Boys".
Subject: It makes me think
Date: Dec 25 14:00
How many times I went into the Bishop's office hoping he wouldn't give me a 'calling' and walk out with that dumb grin on my face, saying thanks. Talk about learned helplessness.
Once the mormon church has done a mind-job on you, you learn to internalize it and do it on yourself.
Subject: Re: NEVER refuse a church calling - doctrine or myth?
Date: Dec 25 15:09
Many years ago a church leader came to our stake conference and he said, while we should try to accept every calling extended to us, sometimes it's OK to say no. He said there might be something they don't know about our personal situation, that would make it too difficult for us to do the job. I had to say no to a few callings, but I never felt like the church owned me, nor did I feel guilty for not accepting. What I did or did not do was always between me and God, not the church.
Subject: My mother had to do it a few times...
Date: Dec 26 01:16
...and only because she was worn to shreds.
How is a single mother with three children and a full time teaching job, supposed to manage a stake calling and two ward callings simultaneously?
It was no secret that she was stake and ward music directors because she was talented and there were few who could do it (in the ward, there were no other competent organists). But calling her into primary, and then into RS shortly after, they were expecting way too much of someone who was trying to rebuild a hopeless marriage with an abusive man (because that was what was counseled to her by the leaders of the church!!) and work to support her family.
Subject: You sure hit the nail on the head, here, Decon-.
Date: Dec 26 05:25
Author: the true 10-penny nail
What a bunch of guilt-tripping, ego-centric, rabidly-maniacal, elitist snobs!
Let them have their guilt trips: all to themselves!
Let them preach into their own bathroom mirrors and thus get that "hang-dog" look that brow-beaten people get!
Beat me brow some more, you long, tall Oak(s), you!
Subject: Turned down high council calling
Date: Dec 26 09:07
I am in my early 40's. Very high social status/income. Prominent in the community. I also work 12-14 hour days, so "spare" time is limited. Over the last 20 years I have turned down 2 callings as stake missionary (I already gave them my best 2 years of my life), one as ward mission leader, and about 5 years ago I about gave the stake president a stroke when I told him "no" to a calling to the high council. He already told his councillors, the high council, and my ward council. The only reason I gave was time, but really I couldn't see myself standing in front of congretations pretending I believed something I didn't. I also hated the thought of sitting in on those dread disciplinary councils.
Since then I have had callings relegated to new converts and the less valiant (primary teacher, finance clerk, etc). Fine with me!!! All my friends and contemporaries have gone on to become high councilmen, bishops, and even one to the stake presidency. I think I have become blacklisted.
Subject: "high social status"
Date: Dec 26 09:22
This was likely the primary reason you were offered the calling in the first place.
Such things happen all of the time in the Mormon Church.
Perceptive observers will recognize the favoritism and nepotism for what it is, and also the fact that such things really don't belong in a church that claims it's the only true one.
Subject: Were you blacklisted because you refused a calling?
Date: Dec 26 10:25
Interesting story, thanks for sharing. This does add some valuable light to this conversation.
Do you think you were "blacklisted" because you turned down the chance to be on the High Council, or because of some other reason?
Subject: blacklisted because...
Date: Dec 26 20:56
Author: finance clerk
I figure I was blacklisted because of turning down the calling to high council. By blacklisted, I mean that somehow behind the scene, the powers that be will no longer consider me for a high calling. I think it caused the Stake Pres. a considerable amount of embarassment. And since they don't like being told "no I won't", want to avoid the same problem. I figure as long as I keep to myself and my wife keeps paying tithing on my income, that they might leave me alone.
From my experience (and others will attest I am sure), the more you give in to callings and assignments, the more you are given. Do your 100% home teaching for a few months in a row, get another family or two assigned to you. Do a good job as Elder's Q pres, next go round, you are in the bishopric. Go to the temple regular, you are called as a temple worker. You get the idea. So why start the process? I put a stop to it.
Subject: I think that's probably true.
Date: Dec 26 11:51
My mom used to call me just to ask what callings I held. I remember telling her once that I was ward membership clerk and played piano in priesthood meeting in addition to home teaching. She didn't think that was enough (or rather I wasn't holding a leadership calling). I used to tell her that when they made her bishop she could get the Lord to assign me to something else.
I've turned down stake callings. One of them would have put me in regular meetings with the stake presidency. Other people would have taken it just to "get noticed" so they could move up the hierarchy. I thought they were a bunch of jerks and they always made me feel like I wasn't good enough. I'd had enough of that shit from my mission, so I never put myself in those situations.
I would tell them that I needed to discuss it with my wife so I could buy time to figure out how I was going to decline. Then I'd wait for them to call back. When they did, I'd say that we had a lot going on and didn't feel right about it. I'd also tell them that we were thinking of moving. We weren't, but it helped get them off my back.
Every time I didn't jump and say YES, I'd get disapproving looks. So, I'd say "Anything else?" That's the secret to answering a disapproving look. "Anything else?" That puts the conversational monkey on their backs.
I was just so NOT into the Mormon approval bandwagon. I just wanted them all to go away and leave me alone. I'm so glad we found our way out.
Subject: Re: I think that's probably true.
Date: Dec 26 12:09
Our son did something similar. While both he and his wife were in grad school, plus raising a child, they tried to call him to a stake position.
He deliberately went to the meeting in flipflops and shorts, yet they still extended the calling.
When he declined, honestly citing a lack of time, they told him perhaps he needed to get better organized. He too had been on a mission and knew better than to take this crap as revelation from God, so he stood his ground.
Subject: That mormon bandwagon gives me the heebie-jeebies.
Date: Jan 03 07:12
It's hard to respect those who claw and grovel for a chance to do meaningless drone work for a nothing but a fake smile now and then and no pay.
Subject: Callings are extended by the Lord
Date: Dec 27 09:56
The bishop or his counselors just do the actual asking. Callings are supposed to be inspired of the lord, then the person who receives the inspiration prays for confirmation and the call is extended. So if you refuse a calling, you are really refusing the Lord. Talk about guilt!
In reality, callings are made out of desperation not inspiration, and usually a body is needed to fill the position. Any body will do. This is why one finds the occasional pedophile teaching in Primary.
In many wards outside of the corridor (and inside), the numbers of available people to fill callings is VERY low, and typically you'll find most TBM's with 2, 3 or even 4 callings. It's not inspired, it's simply the reality of the church. COB will institute a new program into the body of the church, which will need callings, and thus another calling is extended (the church's equivalent of an unfunded mandate). The membership is spread thin and getting thinner (not at the waistline however), and as more and more people ask to be released, it's going to cause significant problems in the church as many programs (like scouting) will not have enough members to run it.
In a recent letter from the stake president to all the members of the stake, they made a big deal about not asking for a release of your calling as it's a calling from the Lord and to ask for a release is akin to asking for a release from the blessings you will receive....please, give me a break.
Subject: I was blacklisted ....
Date: Jan 01 23:27
I had some stupid, boring calling I that I was hoping to be released from (and I was not too thrilled about when I was first called to it and the ward leadership knew it). Then, the ward I was in was going to be split and I thought that I would be finally be free of it!!! Anyway, some stake clerk calls me at 10:30pm!!!...and tells me I have to meet with one of the counselors in the stake presidency the next morning at a remote chapel. So when I met with this counselor he prefaced the call "you should have your whole family here with you as this calling is so important". He the proceeded to offer me (you guessed it) the same damn calling. I was so pissed that I turned it down rather curtly.
So the ward splits and the new bishop then says in a meeting while looking directly at me that "one should never turn down a calling" (the prick). Well, from the inception of that new ward and bishop "Prick" I was blacklisted from any other callings, or even any contact from the ward leadership. FYI, I was a convert, not ethnic LDS, so I was unaware about the "landmine" that I had just stepped on.
After over a year of this crap I start doinging some research on the Morg through the internet and found out what a total fraud it is. After almost two years into the new ward bishop "Prick" calls me into his office at the request of someone close to me to finally introduce himself and find out what was going on with me. Well, by that time I had so much knowledge about the Morg I proceeded to ask him probing questions about the church and watched him squirm like a snake. He was very glad to get me out of his office.
When I finally sent my resignation letter in I have never seen such relief and responsiveness from an LDS church official as bishop "Prick".
So even being blacklisted can have a happy ending!!!
Subject: And...Never ask to be released either.
Date: Jan 03 07:00
"While we do not ask to be released from a calling, if our circumstances change it is quite in order for us to counsel with those who have issued the call and then let the decision rest with them."
Subject: I quit once...Take this job and sh
Date: Jan 03 07:43
I once left the stake president hung jawed by quitting a "calling." I was the unit mission leader of a branch and it was during a "commit now" program. We had several baptisms but obviously not the conversions. Even my branch president wanted to slow down the lets get them wet today approach.
The BP wanted the investigators to have more time to get acquainted with the members and the church due to the rapid inactivity after baptisms so he wanted much of the dunking to wait. I was in full agreement with him but when he interfered, with the missionaries, he got trounced on by the MP. (military police aka mission president)
The BP was told that the investigators were absolutely hands off material until they became members. So the BP took his orders and waited. After the baptisms he actually excommunicated some of the new members. (one in the same week, really)
I also was making an attempt at my stake seventies meetings to address our problem. (I was never a seventy...In those days seventies was missionary program stuff that I never really understood. I still don't and I probably don't even have it spelled correctly.)
I never got to first base making my point about the program's problems. A few days later I set up an urgent appointment with the SP and went in to see him and quit my job. He told me that he would consider releasing me and I told him to read my lips. "I don't care what you do "officially," just let it be know that as soon as I stand up from this chair I will no longer be acting in any capacity as the branch unit mission leader."
Not long after I was released with a vote of thanks for doing a fine job and someone else was "called". The "commit now" program remained until the next MP came. My eyes were opened over this experience but sadly no one else's were.