The ones that you love — well, you love them. And the ones that you hate? They exist to make you stronger. They may be a test. Or, you may be there to help others. Therefore, all callings are good.
Similarly, all foods are good. The ones that you love, well, you love them. And the ones that you hate? They provide variety so that you can better appreciate the ones you love.
All faith healings are good. The ones that work, go to prove that faith healing is as valid as medicine. And the ones that don’t, well, the recipient probably didn’t have enough faith. Either that, or God had another plan.
All Sunday School teachers are good. The ones who teach well, they help us learn. The ones who teach . . . less well? Why, they make us become more patient and accepting, and less demanding.
All blog posts are good. The ones that you love, are wonderful. The ones that you don’t love — hmm, let’s not go there.
All logical and rhetorical tricks are good. The ones that convince you, serve to teach you some important life lesson. And the ones that don’t convince you? Mostly, they illustrate your need to stop trying to analyze everything so much, and just believe what you’re told.
All items on this list are good . . .
It’s true! It’s true! All the news is good!
If God is omnipotent, then all things that he does not cause, he allows.
..and all the children are above average.
There’s good, and there’s Mor(e)-Good, Kaimi.
Woe unto them that call broccoli good, and good broccoli; that put unprepared lessons for light, and light for boredom; that put bitter blogposts for sweet ones, and sweet blogposts for bitter. For though they shall burn as stubble, their posts will receive many witty comments. Not including this one.
The calling of Sunday School presidency secretary is not good.
The calling of Relief Society visiting teaching supervisor is not good.
The calling of elders’ quorum moving coordinator is not good.
The calling of assistant financial ward clerk is not good.
List your own.
The calling of Eldersâ€™ quorum Ride Dude is not good.
Sunday School Secretary not good? Are you kidding me? That is one sweet calling! Take the rolls around once per week, boom, you\’re done. No hassles during the week. Give me that calling over 99% of all others.
Do you draw the line at that “Prodigal Son” video?
Mostly, I really dislike the kinds of semantic and logical tricks we hear too often in church settings.
“All callings are good.”
“But I hate my calling, it makes my life miserable, etc., etc.”
“Well, then it’s a test. Or, it’s a way to learn humility. Therefore, all callings are still good.”
Sure, if we define “good” broadly enough to include everything. But then it becomes a meaningless term.
Here\’s my take on it.
Moroni 7:19 says: \”search diligently in the light of Christ, that ye may know good from evil…if ye will lay hold upon every good gift, and deny it not, then ye certainly will be a child of Christ.\”
In just about everything we can experience, there is bound to be something that is or can be called good, relative to the gospel. Even if something is very negative, more likely than not, there is something good about it. Faith is recognizing that part which is good, and not condemning it. I wouldn\’t simplify it in terms of \”all callings are good,\” but I would simplify it in terms of \”life is 10% what happens to you and 90% your attitude and how you react to it.\” I\’ve had bad things happen to me as Mormon, and I don\’t downplay them or gloss over them. But at the same time, I can recognize elements in those things that were good, and of God, and I don\’t toss them out by complaining about my calling or making blanket criticisms of the church. In the end, everything that is good comes of Christ, and what kind of a disciple of the Savior would I be to reject even the smallest element of goodness that comes into my life? I am not and will never be a mere murmurer.
Kaimi, I love the way your post interprets itself into such irresistibly uniform virtue.
But (you knew this was coming): the very uniformity of the ensuing virtue troubles. It seems inadequate–and, to put it bluntly, unambitious–simply to claim that evil is good. Let’s go further and claim that evil is better than good, because, as all of your examples above demonstrate, we learn more from evil than from good.
QED: Evil is good, good evil; okra is dark chocolate, dark chocolate okra…..
“For any given doctrine that one wants to believe, there is never a shortage of arguments by which to support it.” – Leszek KoÅ‚akowski
I am a soon-to-be-SA YSA recently thrust from my grad student ward back into an average Utah YSA ward. Translation, I\’m old. My bishop called me in a few weeks back, pushed a list of activities committee members across the desk, and said:
\”Well, as you can see there are a lot of people. What they really need is adult supervision, and that\’s your job.\” I promise a direct quote, and basically all he said. No heart warming \”the Spirit, blah, blah.\”
Points for honesty, but it felt like despiration swamped inspiration. I didn\’t say \”no\” being raised conservative Mormon, but in retrospect I wish I had. Frankly, I\’m avoiding my calling and even Sunday attendance because (a) I feel taken in the calling process, and (b) he wasn\’t kidding about the adult supervision thing.
So here\’s my question. Can callings be bad? Should I have listened to the Spirit and said \”no\” initially? Was that the Spirit telling me to say \”no\”? Should I ask to be released? I\’m not looking for personal counseling, but rather a good discussion of the issues at a more general level.
In my experience on a bishopric, there are two aspects to callings and keeping a ward staffed: one is administrative, and the other is spiritual. The two are always present and sometimes in conflict. This can lead to misplaced callings. Callings should always be considered by the member and a spiritual confirmation should be sought. There is nothing wrong with asking for some time, then coming back to the bishop and saying, ‘I realize the ward (or stake) has a need, but I feel this isn’t right for me right now.’
A bishop should not approach a calling with that kind of flippant attitude. All callings should be solemn and serious as it is a request for a consecration of someone’s time, an application (however minor) of sacred covenants. The bishop (or bishopric member) should be transparent in their request: we’ve prayed about this, we’ve thought about this, we saw you come in and saw a need that you could fill — whatever is true.
Callings, like spouses, are not ‘one and only’ propositions. Hey, many are called, yadda yadda yadda.
‘It is clear, said [Pangloss], that things cannot be otherwise than they are, for since everything is made to serve an end, everything necessarily serves the best end. Observe: noses were made to support spectacles, hence we have spectacles. Legs, as anyone can plainly see, were made to be breeched, and so we have breeches. . . . Consequently, those who say everything is well are uttering mere stupidities; they should say everything is for the best.’ —Candide, Voltaire
I do understand the seeming ridiculousness of claiming all to be good – “if we’re not learning and growing from it, it’s our fault.” I will even grant that there are some callings in which you simply may not learn, you may not even feel as though you are helping someone else. #14, perhaps the administrative need seems to trump your spiritual well-being.
But Kaimi, the difference between food and callings is vast, and I think it unfair to make such a comparison. Because while it is obviously silly to categorize all foods as good, we are not serving the Lord through eating all foods. However, in callings, we are. Aside from any apparent (or not) blessings, simple obedience and willingness to submit has, I believe, a large part in accepting callings. It’s not all about us; it’s not even all about others. It’s about the Lord.
I think the cliche holds true, that you take away what you put in. As active church members, we often hear of our responsibility to “magnify our calling.” What does that really mean? I think that not only does it mean that we do everything we can to fulfill the requirements of that calling, but we also enhance and increase the perceived value of the calling.
I’ll serve wherever I’m called. But so help me, that doesn’t mean I have to LIKE it. We’re about to move into a new ward, and if I get called into the Primary (again), I’ll humbly accept and praise God with clenched fists and gritted teeth. [sigh]
Bonus points if my wife gets called to Primary. She already hates small children enough as a result of her last foray in the Primary–if she gets stuck there again, we’ll probably put off childbearing for another three years. :(
Clearly, Brother Jones, if you have not yet learned to delight in serving in the primary, the only solution is to call you to that organization again, and again, and again… (Ironically, having kids might help you understand the calling better, and get you out of it. Teaching primary with a baby crawling around the classroom is a bear.)
I was in a pattern for a while where after about a year in a ward (give or take) I’d be called as membership clerk. Then I’d suddenly leave the ward, with one of my last acts being to send off my own record.
After that happened three times in four wards (I wasn’t in the fourth ward very long) I moved back to the first of those wards (my parents’ ward). In a matter of weeks I was called in to see the stake president’s counselor (who had been bishop of that ward). I went in expecting that this time they were going to get it over with and call me as ward membership clerk right away. Instead, I was called as assistant stake clerk. Nearly five years later I’m still an assistant stake clerk, and for the past two and a half years I’ve been stake membership clerk as part of that.
I estimate that out of the last nine years and three months, I have served as some sort of clerk for seven years and three months. I don’t expect it will ever really end.