It's a Calling from the Lord, So I Should Accept It, Right? Not So Fast...

I recently had yet another conversation with yet another friend about
the topic of accepting callings from LDS Church leaders.

My friend told me that he didn't think he should question the calling his Church leader gave him because, after all, it's the leader's responsibility to receive revelation regarding such callings, isn't it?

This is a very common mistake made by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to think that only Church leaders issuing callings should receive revelation about who should serve in those callings.

"Don't you think you should also receive revelation as to whether the calling is right for you?" I asked my friend.

"Well, I guess so", came the response.

I explained to him an experience I had while serving in an LDS bishopric a few years ago.  All the members of the bishopric felt very strongly the impression to call a certain sister in the ward to be our Primary president. The call was made, and the Bishop visited with the sister. During the interview, the sister explained some physical problems she had been having recently, which the bishop was completely unaware of. These ailments made it very clear that now was not the right time for her to serve as primary president.

We learned from that experience that Church leaders very often do receive revelation as to whom to call to certain callings, but sometimes for reasons that we least expect. Sometimes inspiration to issue a calling may actually be inspiration that leads to finding out something important about a member of the ward that may have otherwise gone unknown. Needless to say, after that doubly revelatory experience, the call to serve as Primary president was issued to someone else.

Members of the Church usually understand their current situation and their personal limitations better than anyone else. Therefore, each member is entitled to know whether or not those limitations would make it too difficult for her or him to serve in a calling issued by a Church leader.  Because we received revelation to ask that sister to accept a calling, the bishop received further revelatory insights on how to show the caring and compassion that someone in his ward needed.

Next time a calling is issued to you, don't feel compelled to take it.  Instead, take some time as necessary to find out for yourself whether the Lord wants you to take that calling.  Not only can Church leaders receive revelation about callings, so can you.



  1. I completely agree. Thanks for posting.

  2. I was asked to serve in a calling a long time ago. When the call was issued to me, I did not feel good about it! I felt that no prayers had gone up to the Lord as to whether I should serve in that capacity. Although I did accept the calling, it turned out not to be a successful one...not for me, but for those I was asked to serve. I had had this same calling twice before in less than 4 years and felt that I was being asked just because nobody else wanted it.

  3. Doesn't that really mean that the "inspiration" the whole bishopric felt was then, in fact, something else?

    This raises a larger issue for Mormons. How often are we interpreting our impressions of people based on other factors, or our own emotions as inspiration or revelation?

  4. Anonymous: Great example. Thanks for sharing!

    Spencer: If you're referring to the example I gave in the blog post, no. It was inspiration to talk to a person who needed help.

  5. Great observation: "Church leaders very often do receive revelation as to whom to call to certain callings, but sometimes for reasons that we least expect."


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