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A disease has attacked our ward – it has affected so many people in that they refuse to accept callings to serve, to speak, to attend, etc. I was raised to believe you accepted a calling whenever possible. I would also like to know whether it is better to accept a calling and do a half-way job, or to refuse the calling, knowing (that perhaps at this particular time in your life) you cannot devote the time and effort required to fulfill the job as you know it should be done. Answer needed quickly as possible! Thanks much!!





Dear Janie,

Concerning the disease in your Ward, it seems that all of us are diseased (sinners) in one way or another. The following account in Matthew bears on the subject of your concern:

And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.


And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?


But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.


But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Matthew 9:10-13)

We often expect perfection in others simply because they are members of the Savior’s church. But he has called them (and us) into his Kingdom, not because we are perfect, but because we have the potential to become perfect. “Today” is a transitory state. We pass through today on the way to tomorrow. Thus, we should not judge as if today were frozen in time, or as if today were the judgment day. If we see imperfections in others, the very best teaching tool that we can employ is the power of our own righteous example.

Now, as to whether or not we should accept a calling if we feel that we don’t have the time to do it as we feel that is should be done. In this regard, there are several things to consider. First, how would you respond if you knew that the call you were receiving came directly from the Lord? He knows perfectly well your abilities and your limitations, your potential and your imperfections. The bishop is the Lord’s legal agent and representative for the administration of his ward. As members of the ward, we are as responsible to the bishop as if we were being directed by the Lord. We learn from D&C 1:38 that

What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

Although the bishop is the Lord’s legal and official representative, yet he has the limitations of mortality. Although he has the right to inspiration and revelation, the Lord often lets the bishop know of the conditions of any member of the ward from the testimony of that member. Thus, it is our obligation when being interviewed by the bishop or his representative for a calling to acquaint that person with the conditions of time, worthiness, attitude, availability, etc. that would impact the performance of the position to which we are being called. When the responsible authority is in possession of all the pertinent information concerning ourselves, we should then be ready to respond to his directions as though we were responding to the Lord.






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