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As a former Bishop I am often addressed as Bishop…. The fact that people still remember me in my calling is nice but sometimes confusing to most members of our ward who never knew me as their Bishop.

Has the church ever issued any guidelines on the use of priesthood titles after a person has been released from service in that calling?

Gregory

Bishop Gregory,

When one has had a calling that involves keys of priesthood administration, and especially with positions to serve as a “Judge in Israel”, that title is permitted to be used when addressing them by name. To my mind, the callings of Bishop, Stake President, and Mission President may always be called Bishop or President.

Why is that? Because you have been given keys of priesthood administration. Those keys may be inactive once released, but you have been given those keys. Also, because of the sacredness and reverence for the duties and responsibilities of such callings, it is very respectful to address the individual by their past service.

In contrast, a returning missionary is no longer addressed as “Elder”. Why is that? For one reason, they are home and no longer in the area where they are called. The second reason is that they didn’t hold a title or position as one of a “Judge in Israel”. They were given the missionary mantle, but it wasn’t one to help resolve or absolve sins or transgressions.

Hope this helps!

Gramps

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