How can I help families I Home Teach understand the importance of the visits?

How can I help families I Home Teach understand the importance of the visits?

Question

 

Gramps,

I’ve got two families that don’t seem to want home teachers to come. They tell me we can set something up when I see them in person.Yet never respond to texts or phone calls, And when I just stop by they are always busy and never invite us in. I am frustrated because I want them to enjoy the blessings of home teaching and I feel by their behavior I am losing out on blessings as well. What should I do?

Dev

 

Answer

 

Dear Dev,

I commend your for your effort to be a good home teacher and serve the Lord.

Pres. Monson had some counsel that could be helpful here:

Abraham Lincoln offered this wise counsel, which surely applies to home teachers: “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.” President Ezra Taft Benson urged: “Above all, be a genuine friend to the individuals and families you teach.” 

 

As the Savior declared to us, “I will call you friends, for you are my friends.”  A friend makes more than a dutiful visit each month. A friend is more concerned about helping people than getting credit. A friend cares. A friend loves. A friend listens. And a friend reaches out.

Home Teaching-A Divine Service

 

The first step in being a friend to these families may be to appreciate that they do not have a testimony of home teaching.  They may not be interested in religion at all, or may be attending another church.  From their point of view, they have no need of your visits.  Being a friend means trying to understand where they are coming from.

Next, you need to try to build a relationship of trust.  Let them know that you want to get to know them and will accept them as they are.  I know you want to teach them a lesson and see them return to church, but suppose for a moment you are a football fan.  How likely would you be to invite someone into your home who just wants to talk to you about the opera?  On the other hand, if you have a FRIEND, who happens to like the opera, you would likely invite them over and even let them talk about the opera-a little.

How to you become a friend to someone who is avoiding you?  It’s not easy, and it will take time and patience.  The most important thing to do is pray and ask the Lord how to become their friend.  He knows them, and loves them.  He can guide you.  He might inspire you to take them cookies, veggies from your garden, or potted flowers for their garden. Perhaps you will feel prompted to send a friendly letter monthly, or offer to mow their lawn, shovel their driveway etc.

Human nature is such that if they perceive you to be someone who genuinely cares about them, rather than someone who is fulfilling a role, they will likely return the gesture of friendship.  There is a couple in my ward who treated their home teacher much as you describe.  He persisted though and eventually they started letting him in.  He became their friend.  The wife also had wonderful visiting teachers that did the same.  Eventually strong friendships were formed, and when the couple was ready, they began to attend church.  Recently they were sealed in the temple.

Not all of these stories have picture perfect endings like this.  Some people will never return or even let you in the door regardless of what you do–be their friend anyway.  The Lord will not judge you on whether or not your home teaching families come to church, what He is concerned with is how you serve Him by loving them.  Just love them to the best of your ability and the Lord will be pleased with your efforts.

 

Beat of luck,

 

Gramps

 

 

How do you choose someone for a calling?

How do you choose someone for a calling?

Question

 

Dear Gramps,

How do you pick someone for a calling?  Do you just ask the Lord and He somehow tells you who He wants?  Or do you just pick someone that you like and ask God if He approves?  How does that work?

Robert

 

Answer

 

Robert,

Calling someone to serve the Lord uses the exact same process we are instructed to use to seek any revelation from God.  I personally like the instructions the Lord gives Oliver Cowdery in D&C 9:7-9

 7 Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.

 8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

 9 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.

From this instruction to Oliver we can see what the Lord expects.  We should follow this pattern.  The first step is to ask the Lord in prayer.  The next step is to study it out.  Or in other words, do some work.  Use the talents God has given you to prayerfully work out what you think is the best answer.  In the case of callings you should be studying people.  Their situations, their talents, and their needs.  Plus the needs of the calling and the people affected by this calling.

As one prayerfully studies the issues they should pay attention to both their heads and their hearts.  As one does this, one opens themselves up to hearing the inspiration of the Lord.  An answer might come to mind that you might not have otherwise thought of, or it might not, but as part of your studies and labor in this manner, you reach a choice that you think is best.

Ideally at this point you have the answer from the Lord.  But we are all flawed humans and it is possible that we made a mistake or came to the wrong answer.  Which is why we have one final step.  We take our answer to the Lord. We tell him,  “Lord this is what I am going to do.”  Then we pay attention. We may get the “burning in our bosoms” or however it is we understand the Lord’s approval.  Or we may get the disapproval that causes us to forget and feel incomplete.  If we have the Lord’s approval, then we move forward and act as we planned.  Otherwise we go back to studying it out.

This is the pattern that should be followed.  Each leader will do so depending on his or her own understandings, needs and circumstances.

The leader also needs to understand that callings do not remove agency to the person called.  Just because a leader knows who God wants and has called does not mean that the person will accept the calling.  It can be very difficult for some leaders to work very hard to find just the “right” person, only to have that person say no.  It might cause them to doubt that the Lord is indeed answering, or maybe cause them to think they did something wrong.   But we must remember that the whole point of this life is to for us to choose to do the things the Lord commands, and the Lord will not take that choice away.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

Can those in Young Men and Young Women hold callings?

Can those in Young Men and Young Women hold callings?

Question

 

Dear Gramps,

Can  young men or young women have a calling while he or she is still a young men/women and still attending that class?  Many have already reached the age of 18.  Could they have a calling in something like Primary? Please advise.

Best regards,

Romano

 

Answer

 

Dear Romano,

Though it is unusual for one of the youth to hold a calling (other than in their respective class presidencies) it is not unheard of. My granddaughter is currently serving as a “Youth Family History Consultant”.  Over the years I have occasionally seen youth serve in the nursery from time to time, and once there was an 18 year old (still in high school) called to be Branch Clerk.

My concern would be with a calling like nursery that takes a youth out of their regular classes, however, in some individual instances this may be appropriate. It is okay to offer a suggestion, or volunteer, but ultimately it is the Bishop’s decision to make.  He is the one that will be given the guidance of the Holy Ghost in these matters.

 

Gramps

 

 

How can I generate desire in my calling?

How can I generate desire in my calling?

Question

Dearest Gramps,

I’ve currently serving in a tough responsibility in the church, and while I know exactly what it’s worth for me, it’s beginning to wear me down, and my desire to serve is fading. My question is simple: how do you generate desire? What can I do to strengthen my love for the work and rekindle the fire I once had? Or otherwise, should I try to learn to suffer through hard trials? I would love some advice. Cheers and a half.

Kyler

 

Answer

Kyler,

I think both of your proposals are valid, and in part, yes, we must simply suffer through sometimes in spite of a lack of desire. Part of this comes from the fact that we are mortal, and as such, we are imperfect, and no matter how much we learn and grow, we will always fall short. The natural man (the enemy to God) will always be a part of us in this life–thus the principles of long-suffering and the like. We simply grin and bear it.

However, we also know that we can change the very desires of hearts that they have no more desire to do evil, but to go about doing good all the day long. This change usually takes time (a lifetime and more), but it can happen. Of course we know that part of changing who we are is practicing good habits and the like. But even good habits and hard work will be insufficient to truly change our characters at the deepest level. For that we must turn to the Atonement. Only through Christ can we truly become Christlike.

What you are looking for is more application of the Atonement in your life. As we go through our lives, we can, as you have pointed out, get worn down and worn out. As we get older (and I should know) we often want to move more towards ease. The world teaches us that this is the proper order of things. We should ultimately retire and live lives of nothing but pleasure seeking. But the gospel teaches us to endure to the end and to press forward serving God until the end of our lives. The only way we can do this is to become submissive and meek as a little child. That can be a challenge as we get older. We don’t feel inclined, generally, to become more like a child as we get older. But this is the gospel.

Now I don’t know if your situation is related to your age, or simply the calling itself, but the point remains. As we move through life, again and again, we will face the need to humble ourselves and to turn to the Atonement for strength.

Turning to the Atonement is done through obedience.

“Now wait a minute,” you may say. “I’m asking how I can serve better and you’re telling me the solution is to serve better?”

Well…yes. It’s one of those gospel paradoxes. Lose yourself to find yourself, etc.

This is the plain truth of it. If you want to get the fire of your calling back, then figure out how to magnify it more. Serve more. Pray more. Study more. Turn to the Lord for strength in all of this, and He will bless you and help you to develop the humility you need. He will bless you that your weaknesses will become strengths.

 

Gramps

Does the release from a presiding office mean a loss of keys or authority?

Does the release from a presiding office mean a loss of keys or authority?

Question

Gramps,

Does the release from a presiding office mean the loss of keys or the suspension of authority?

Grant

 

Answer

Grant,

When a person is released from a calling that has keys associated with it, they no longer hold those keys. The person newly called holds them. I’m not sure how it would work or what it would even mean to hold keys but have the authority suspended. Keys are rights. If the right is removed, one does not have keys. For example, the right to authorize the sacrament in his ward rests with the bishop. If a man wishes to give the sacrament to his family while away on a family trip, he must ask the bishop for the permission to do so. The ward member has no right to authorize this himself. When the bishop is released, he no longer has the right to authorize the sacrament ordinance. So it is with other ordinances. And you could apply it across the board — baptism, temple ordinances, etc. The one who has been given the keys has the right to authorize the performance of these ordinances, and upon their release they no longer have that right.

Now, here’s where it might get confusing. Elder Boyd K. Packer taught, concerning bishops, in 1999:

“Once ordained, he is a bishop for the rest of his life. When he is released from presiding over a ward, his ordination becomes dormant. If called again to preside over a ward, his previous ordination is reactivated. When he is released, it becomes dormant again.”

But this is an ordination. The keys are authority. The authority is removed when the ordination is dormant, and so the keys are removed as well when a bishop is released. If one wanted to think of it as the keys being dormant as well, I suppose it could not hurt, but it really amounts to the same thing. No authority = no keys and vice-versa. It just does not make sense to have authority but not have authority.

Gramps

How do I balance my marriage and church callings?

How do I balance my marriage and church callings?

Question

HI Gramps.

I have a calling in my ward as assistant scout master and it requires a lot of time and dedication.  My wife however gets mad or upset if I have a meeting to go to and she wants time to spend with me.  I want to accomplish the responsibilities I have, but I am only one man and I can only do so much.  I want my wife to be happy, but at the same time I need to magnify my callings.  Any suggestions?

Kyle

 

Answer

Kyle,

Callings are one of the important parts of the way the Kingdom of God is organized in our time. We are taught to accept and magnify our callings.

So are there times to turn down a calling?

Yes. There are times when we simply cannot accept a calling. For example, it would be foolish of us to take a calling that interfered with a job. It would force us to either fail at our job or fail at the calling.

Ideally, when extending callings, our leaders should have a full understanding of our situations and be able to make perfect decisions in all cases. For example, Handbook 2 states,

“Before calling a married person to an assignment that requires a significant time commitment, Church leaders consider the effect of the calling on the marriage and family.”

But being imperfect and mortal afflicts even the greatest of men. Simply put, we cannot expect that every time we get a calling that it will work out.

There is a clear hierarchy of priority when it comes to callings. Gordon B. Hinkley taught,

“Each of us has a fourfold responsibility. First, we have a responsibility to our families. Second, we have a responsibility to our employers. Third, we have a responsibility to the Lord’s work. Fourth, we have a responsibility to ourselves.”

Note that although a priority is indicated, none of these four items may be discounted as unimportant. We have a responsibility to fulfill all of them dutifully.

Though there is a time and a place, I have rarely found myself comfortable with the idea of asking to be released from a calling (or turning it down in the first place). What I am comfortable with, and I think we should all be comfortable with, is being upfront and direct about our situations with our bishops.

So I would ask you in return, does your bishop know of the stress being put on your family life due to your calling? If he does not, he should. Go and talk with him about it. It may be that he will advise you to continue in the calling, and perhaps offer suggestions as to ways to ease the home situation. It may be that he will choose to release you. Either way, he should make that call with understanding behind it.

With wisdom, a balance must be struck. Callings are important. We should be doing all we can to magnify them. And we should not use the general difficulties of life and family as an excuse to do less than what we could with them. But we also should not be prioritizing our callings over the well-being of our families. However, most times when there is a balance that needs to be struck, we may find that what is truly required is merely a bit more sacrifice on our parts.

Could one in your situation, for example, give up other activities to spend time with ones spouse? Is it really only a choice between the wife and the calling? Is there nothing else to give of lesser importance? Could we watch less TV, or spend less time with sports or hobbies? Are there other aspect of our lives we could address to solve the problem? These are questions we must all answer for ourselves.

Elder Ballard taught the importance of this balance,

“As a result of their focusing too much time and energy on their Church service, eternal family relationships can deteriorate. Employment performance can suffer. This is not healthy, spiritually or otherwise. While there may be times when our Church callings require more intense effort and unusual focus, we need to strive to keep things in proper balance. We should never allow our service to replace the attention needed by other important priorities in our lives. Remember King Benjamin’s counsel: “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength” (Mosiah 4:27).

Ultimately, you must decide if the concern is truly valid or not and make a judgment. You have the right to inspiration for your home — and as indicated, home and family comes first. Get on your knees and seek inspiration in this regard.

Gramps

What are the responsibilities of the Beehive President?

What are the responsibilities of the Beehive President?

Question

Gramps,

I have recently been called to be the Young Women’s Beehive president but I am only 12. I don’t really know how I am supposed to call for counselors and what my responsibilities are or what I have to do. I am stressed and I really don’t want to fail.  So what are my responsibilities as president and how do I call for counselors?

Jaclyn

Answer

Jaclyn,

Congratulations on your new calling.  What an exciting time for you.  I absolutely love when I receive questions from our youth.  I understand your concern as to what your responsibilities are.  I commend you for asking, as I’m sure you want to do everything you need to do to magnify your calling.

According to the Church Handbook of Instruction it states the following responsibilities:

They watch over and fellowship class members, especially those who are new members or less active and those who have disabilities or other special needs. They pray for them, spend time with them, and become genuine friends.

They help class members establish close friendships, learn leadership skills, and live the gospel.

They help each young woman know that she is welcome when she becomes a member of their class.

They support class members’ efforts in the Personal Progress program.

They hold regular class presidency meetings.

They conduct the Sunday meetings for their classes.

They help plan activities, including Mutual.

The class presidents serve on the bishopric youth committee.

Now keep in mind that each ward or branch has their own unique issues and circumstances that might also be considered.  I recommend that you work closely with your Young Women adviser assigned to the Beehive class (if you have one) or your Young Women Presidency.  They will help to guide you and direct you as well.

As far as calling counselors, pray to Heavenly Father to help with this.  Follow your instinct on this.  Many times callings are given not because that person is the best qualified but sometimes because the calling will help to strengthen them as well.

Good luck with your new calling.  You will do great I’m sure.

Gramps

What is meant by “chosen by the body” in the selection of the First Presidency?

What is meant by “chosen by the body” in the selection of the First Presidency?

Question

Dear Gramps,

D&C 107:22 says that the First Presidency of the Church should be “chosen by the body”. Does this refer to the general membership of the church, or how are we to interpret this verse? It seems these brethren are chosen by God, and we as members have no input on the matter. So how are we to interpret this? Thanks for your time and effort on this wonderful web site. I try to read it every day.

Robert (more…)

Is Not Fasting a Sin?

Is Not Fasting a Sin?

I know the law of fasting is a law that applies to all the church members. But at the same time, it is not required for entering the temple or to have Church callings. How serious is not fasting in the Church?  Could someone be called as Stake President or a Bishop without having fasted before?

Giovanny (more…)

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