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Dear Gramps,

Our branch is very small and we don’t have enough regularly attending priesthood holders to fill all the positions without each person tackling more than one. I understand this is necessary at times but I was wondering if you could explain to me why the job of branch clerk must be filled by a man. Is it because this person works so closely with the branch presidency? Please withhold my state. Thank you!




Dear Tanya,

You’re fortunate to be living in a small branch rather than in a large active ward. I have a definition for an active church unit (ward or branch) and an inactive unit. The active unit is where there are more positions available than there are people to fill them, and an inactive unit is where there are more members in the unit than there are positions to be filled. The important thing is not how well oiled and how efficiently the unit is run, but whether every person who is willing to serve has the opportunity to do so. When they get too many people in a ward that don’t have the opportunity to serve, they divide the ward.

Now to your question. In a ward, the ward clerk must hold the Melchizedek priesthood, and the executive secretary and ward clerks are included in the bishopric. In a branch in the mission field, only those positions are filled for which there are members available to fill them. When I was a missionary over 50 years ago, I was president of a branch with a total of 42 members, another with 17, and yet another with only six members. However, if there were no male members available who could be ordained to the priesthood, the branch president to care of the books. (Incidentally, there are now stakes organized in all three of the towns where those branches were.)

The church is for the benefit of the members, not the other way around. I am of the opinion that at least 51% of the blessings associated with every position of service in the church accrue to the person giving the service rather than to those being served. May the Lord bless you and your associates as you support the work in your branch.



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