Sunday, April 18, 2010

Taking Our Callings Seriously

Just a little background before I tell you the story.  I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon).  In our church the members serve in various postions to help the ward unit (parish) function.  These are "callings" because we are called by the Bishop (priest, minister) to serve.  We address each other as Brother and Sister.

Many years ago, Brother L, who is mentally handicapped but very active in the ward, was given a calling to take care of the hymn books.  It was a low-key, simple calling that the Bishop felt he could do.
Brother L was to make sure the hymbooks were back in the holders on the back of the benches at the end of the meetings. 
He went the extra mile. 
The next week was Fast and Testimony meeting, where the members of the congregation stand and bear testimony of Christ.  Brother L stood and chastized the members of the ward for leaving their hymn books on the benches and not taking care of them.  The next week there were notes on the inside cover of the hymn books.  The note read:

Put the hymn book away
Do not let your children play with the hymn book
Do not write in the hymn book
Do not bend the pages of the hymn book

On the back cover was a note with rules for the rules.  It read:

The members of the ward must not have given heed to the RULES because Brother L wasn't satisfied with their care of the hymn books.  A few weeks later, during the middle of the week, he took a wheelbarrow to the church, loaded up all the hymn books, and took them to his home.

The next Sunday was Fast and Testimony meeting.  Imagine the surprise to have all the hymn books gone!  Brother L stood and chastized the congregation again and told them he would get an attorney if necessary to make the people treat the hymn books with respect.  The Bishop stood and said, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all took our callings as seriously as Brother L.  Brother L, we promise that if you bring the hymnbooks back we will be very careful with them and follow the rules!" 
The books were returned and were never taken from the chapel again.  Either the members followed the rules or Brother L found out it was too expensive to hire an attorney!

I've told my bishop that I want that calling!  I have some great ideas!  He hasn't given it to me yet.


Kristina P. said...

Interesting! I get the point of what the bishop was saying and trying to make, but I think perhaps it was a little overzealous.

Although, I will always remember this story when I think about my calling.

It was great to meet you last night, Connie!

Kazzy said...

I love the wheelbarrow story! That really is dedication. Have you ever tried pushing one of those when it is full? Ugh!

Tracy said...

Thought provoking!!...Maybe I want that calling too!! ;-)

Cherie said...

Ok this story made me smile for a couple of reasons.
First, I had an experience about 15 years ago. For years I had been either in the Young Women's Presidency, The RS Presidency or The Primary Presidency. It seems I would get released from one and called to another Presidency. Finally after I had been in the last calling for several years the Bishop called me into his office and he said, "Sister Bakow you have done so much for the ward and you have had so many busy callings I want to ask you, "What calling would you like to have?". With a totally straight face I looked at him and said, "I would like to be the hymnbook duster." ha Ha Ha You could have heard a pin drop - He was definately not expecting that answer - it still makes me laugh today. He ended up having me do the Sacrament meeting programs for 6 mths to give me a break. I always look back on that story with a smile.
This story was great because I know a couple of mentally handicapped people who take the things they do VERY seriously and I could totally picture this happening. The Bishop handled it well.
And, incidentally, I think the hymn books should be treated with respect!
Great post :D

Cherie said...

P.S. And wait....Hold the Phone - You had another blogger meet last night? Do tell!! I see in Kristina's comment that you met her :D

Cheeseboy said...

What a great story. Sometimes we can learn the most from those we deem "mentally handicapped."

That guy should have been put in charge of home teaching. It might actually get done!

Natasha said...

A good message here on the need for more respect in our world; respect for other, for people who might appear different, for other people's possessions and for authority.

Great story Connie.

Best wishes for a beautiful week,

gigi said...

I love that story and I would love to be the one in charge of taking care of the hymn books.

Small House said...

This story mad me smile! My goal has always to be the ward librarian, but now....I want the hymn book calling.
I have to hand it to this guy!! And your bishop does have a point.
Have a great day.

Yvonne said...

Great story, Connie. It would be wonderful if each of us was that committed to our callings. (I think your Bishop handled it perfectly)

Barbaloot said...

Good for Brother L. We could use him in my ward:)

I always tell the Bishop that I'd be happy to be the Elder's Quorum Greeter. I think I'd be really good at that:)

Garden of Egan said...

I think that the bishop handled it well.
We should all be so dedicated.

Beth at Aunties said...

This brought a huge smile. We do have one who is that dedicated in a ward maybe that is why they are celestial and we have to work at it!:)

Brenda said...

Great Story! Thanks for sharing!

I just got called to Nursery. I've had busy callings the past several years. I was thrilled! The primary presdent felt apologetic to me. It was funny! I'm loving the Nursery!

Mikki said...

Now that is definitely taking your calling seriously. I'm in the nursery. It's a pretty sweet calling--play time, snack time, puzzle time, singing time; ah, little ones have THE life!
(I actually do miss Relief Society though). :)

Julie Harward said...

This is so cute...too bad not all take their calling so sincerly LOL every ward is quite the story aren't they?! Come say hi :D

Jenny said...

Several thoughts have popped into mind as I read this post.

First, I think that it was wonderful that he took his calling seriously. It certainly gave him a way to serve the ward & teach them.

Next, I have picked up a few hymnals and been disappointed to find the cover falling off. This in a new building that was not even a full 2 yeas old.

Ann Marie said...

I loved this story!
I felt for the poor guy!
We should respect all of the things we are given!

~ And I agree with the Bishop. If only we all were as passionate in our callings.. things would always be SUPURB! ~ Especially with Visiting Teaching...

Jenny said...

What a great story. It's neat when someone is willing to give 110%!

Valerie said...

That story is amusing, yet touching. I love Brother L and his enthusiasm/conviction!

wendy said...

That made me giggle ---hire an attorney.
but he was dang serious, and so should we be about how we treat our chapels, the hymn books, more respect needs to be given in all areas I think.

I used to work as a Judges clerk ---that would have been an interesting case to hear. (tee,hee)
State of Utah vs LDS Hymn Books

Kerin said...

Such a great story, and what a good life lesson! I just had to link over from Bassetts Bull, so that I could get the delicious looking chicken cordon bleu casserole recipe.
Making it for dinner tonight. Yum!
Oh.. I have also asked our bishop for several callings... bell ringer, librarian, coat hanger-upper, rug shaker, etc... Nope, I'm still in the primary presidency :)But, I'm still holding out hope!

Have a great day!

Heather said...

I had to share this with my husband. We both had a laugh! What a cute story! How sweet he truly cares for those books as we all should! This is a good lesson. It makes you think about how much we take our callings seriously.