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Ask Angela: I hate my church calling. How do I get out of it?

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  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    June 26, 2013 12:26 p.m.

    I think most of us, if not all of us have felt at some point that we wanted out of a church calling. As someone with a pretty extreme introverted personality I have found many church callings to be very difficult, sometimes to the point of causing pretty serious anxiety in my life. At some points in my life I have been able to buckle down and pull through them, at other times I have requested to be released. I will second what the article says, don't try to find excuses and passively try to get released from your calling. Pray about it and if you feel okay about it then let the appropriate people know that you want or need to be released. Hopefully you have understanding leaders that will listen to you and be willing to work with you.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    June 26, 2013 1:22 p.m.

    I used to have the idea that I would die with my hand to the plow rather than ask for release.
    With age I've determined that callings aren't always inspired.
    Tell them you want to be released and move on.

  • crmeatball South Jordan, UT
    June 26, 2013 1:35 p.m.

    Would any of us go to the bishop and ask for a specific calling? No, we would not. The same is true for being released. The bishop follows the same inspiration in extending releases as with extending callings. Now, it would not be inappropriate for an individual to go to the bishop and express frustration over a calling due to time, dislike, and so forth, but ultimately, he is the person who has the keys to receive the revelation regarding who is called and who is released. Counsel with him regarding any of these frustrations. Perhaps the added information will help him with the inspiration needed. And keep in mind, like was said in the article, the calling is voluntary. But I would never recommend someone just not do it. The calling is not from the bishop, you are not volunteering for him. It is from the Lord through the bishop. Doing so selfishly places yourself before the Lord and those you have been called to serve. Counsel with your bishop, he will be able to help you find joy in your calling. But joy in service will not come until we turn outward, forget ourselves and go to work.

  • Hunt Spanish Fork, UT
    June 26, 2013 1:59 p.m.

    I'm sorry but Bishops are not necessarily inspired in every calling they make. I've been in a bishopric, I know. Many, many, callings are done so out of necessity to get a position filled, not by inspiration. To blindly believe that a Bishop was inspired to call you to a position is to not be practicing your religion properly. You should, as we all are taught, seek personal inspiration as to the rightness of any calling. Never should you blindly throw your faith behind any leaders decision when it effects your life and your personal happiness. Leaders are fallible and in so many instances are proven to have participated in behavior that unbeknownst to others make them unfit to even be in the position of authority they have been placed.

    To argue otherwise reminds me of a "righteous" return missionary telling a girl he prayed and was told that she was the one for him. Should she defer to him based on who he portends to be or base her decision off of personal feelings and inspiration?

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    June 26, 2013 2:29 p.m.

    In all but the most dire situation, I would be uncomfortable to just go and request a release. I would prefer to present to the Bishop my full situation and let him consider whether release would be the correct option.

  • abcde Taylorsville, UT
    June 26, 2013 2:41 p.m.

    I was once in that position, even went to the temple to get some motivation and came out still feeling like I wanted to be released. Talked to my bishop and he had already begun looking for someone to fill that calling. The Lord knows. Let Him lead you in the right direction.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 26, 2013 3:21 p.m.

    Claim ownership of your life. Do not relinquish it to someone who is no more connected to inspiration than you are, and who has no right to your life even if they make that claim.

  • Floyd Johnson Broken Arrow, OK
    June 26, 2013 3:40 p.m.

    crmeatball

    Yes I would ask my bishop for a specific calling. "I noticed the Connors are moving. Keep me in mind when you are trying to fill that calling." In fact, I told my stake president exactly that when I received my last calling. "I am happy to do that, but when my boy turns 12 I feel very strongly about doing scouts with him." We discussed the time frame and agreed that both callings could be completed. I had a similar conversation with my bishop the following week.

    I agree that it is inappropriate to just stop fulfilling a calling.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    June 26, 2013 4:32 p.m.

    I thought callings were voluntary. Why then is this even an issue. Meet with the bishop and tell him you are stepping down from the calling. End of story. Plus, no these positions aren't called from the lord, they are called from man. They need a position filled, and it gets filled. It has nothing to do with the lord. Do you think the lord would have you be away from your family to fulfill a church calling? No way.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    June 26, 2013 4:41 p.m.

    And no, it isn't inappropriate to just stop fulfilling a calling. It is voluntary. If they don't take no for an answer then just stop doing it. I have seen times where people try to step down, only to be guilted back into it by a leader. Not good.

  • snowman Provo, UT
    June 26, 2013 8:18 p.m.

    Brahmabull: The church callings are definitly inspired by the Lord and If You don't want a calling say no.

  • Cedar Breaks Cedar City, UT
    June 26, 2013 9:06 p.m.

    For me it's a matter of understanding & sustaining the leadership of the church & living up to convenants that I made. Sure, I had callings that I didn't like & like most of us wonder why I was called to the calling. I can share my experience, it's far more rewarding than denying the blessing of the calling than to asked to be released. It's amazing if we believe that the Bishop / Stake President, etc. is called of God & is entitled to revelation, what else matters? It never cease to amaze me, in my life when I turn down a blessing, God seems to withdraw other blessings. This is just my experience.

  • Striker Omaha, NE
    June 26, 2013 9:49 p.m.

    You don't go to your bishop and say, "release me." Worst advice ever. How many bishops would love to be released? They hang in there. Wow, awful article.

  • Swedish reader Stockholm, Sweden
    June 27, 2013 2:38 a.m.

    The Lord won't do things for us that we can do for ourselves. Go tell your Bishop how you feel - the Lord won't tell him how you feel since you can do it yourself. I've asked to be released once. I had 7 callings and inofficial callings in my ward (yes, this is how it is in Europe), was a single mother with three underage children, no car and chronic pain. My Bishop's response? "I didn't realize you had that many callings". Talk to him and have an open discussion. Do NOT stop fulfilling your calling in the hope of getting released. Other people will have to pick up the slack, and it's not fair to them.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    June 27, 2013 8:51 a.m.

    snowman
    - What evidence do you have that it is inspired of the lord? Just a feeling? I could just easily say it is inspired by the devil...or any other mythical being. How would I prove that?

    Cedar Breaks
    You honestly think the lord will withdraw blessings for stepping down from a calling? As if it is a quid pro quo, this for that? That makes no sense. Plenty of successful people don't have callings, and plenty of people with callings have many problems. It doesn't work that way.

  • Jace the Ace Stratford, CA
    June 27, 2013 8:57 a.m.

    I've been stuck in the same calling for two bishops. I hate it. I was released for one year and had an absolutely wonderful calling that I loved. During that year my replacement did such a horrible job that I was ripped out of the calling I loved and put back into the old one. I've let the bishop know many times I am not happy. The quality of my work is much lower but he doesn't care. He keeps telling me that he needs me there and that I'm still doing so much better than the other guy. I know I'm never getting out of it unless I just stop showing up completely which I wouldn't do because I wouldn't feel right about doing that. I look forward to Sundays when I am out of town or unable to attend for other reasons. I visited a family member and attended their ward and it was one of the best Sundays I had experienced in years. My only hope is that the current bishop will eventually get released and that the next have different ideas about where I should serve.

  • Az lady ,
    June 27, 2013 10:50 a.m.

    I was sustained to a calling I was never asked about. When I asked the branch president if we could talk about this, he told me "Shut Up! Sit in the chair and lets get this over with!" He did the same with another calling the next week. I did my best for several months, prayed to be inspired and got the answer to be released. I then asked to be released. When I did, he had a hissy fit. He then actively and vindictively try to cause me harm in the community. I went to the stake president and he was soon released. Not all calling are from God and not all leaders listen. Ask to be released if you have prayed and got the answer to do so.

  • Uncle Gadianton Salt Lake City, Utah
    June 27, 2013 2:43 p.m.

    andyjaggy:

    That was my experience as well. I was losing sleep, and getting physically ill worrying about my calling. It was affecting my job as well. I was never given any instructions, and very little support. It seemed that my position was the "catch-all," the person who did the stuff that nobody else wanted to do. I finally told the Bishop that I couldn't do the calling because of my job.

  • Fly Fisherman Salt Lake City, UT
    June 27, 2013 2:55 p.m.

    I currently serve in a bishopric. A bishopric will do their best to seek the Lord's inspiration when filling callings. I am confident that when bishoprics do this, most callings are inspired.

    That said, the men in bishoprics are not perfect. And they don't have Urim & Thummim to receive a direct communication for whom to call. Thus, inspiration isn't always 100% perfect.

    When you are called, you have a right to discuss any concerns about filling the calling that you might have. Realize that a bishopric might need your input for a final decision. We did this recently in my ward. We were confident that a certain ward member was right for a presidency calling. But when we talked to him personally, we found out issues in his life that would have prevented him from fulfilling the calling well, so, at the last second, we did not extend the calling.

    You have a right to reject the calling or ask to be released. Please do so after careful thought and prayer. And, if it indeed is right to be release or not accept the calling, feel free to do so and not feel guilty about it.

  • Random Redlands, CA
    June 27, 2013 3:16 p.m.

    A friend told me she was looking for someone to replace me, and I asked her if I could please stay. I had been in the calling for 3 years, but I really wanted (and my son) needed me to stay in that calling until it wouldn't affect my son anymore. She agreed that I wasn't burned out and needed to stay in the calling nobody particularly liked but I loved, and then told me a lot of inspiration comes from information.
    As for asking to be released, there may be information that the bishop or branch president doesn't have.

  • An Aside Gilbert, AZ
    June 27, 2013 4:58 p.m.

    I've been on both sides of the desk in this situation for many years, and my experience has been that a great deal of consideration goes into issuing Church calls, with leaders genuinely trying to seek heavenly guidance in the process. In the years I served as a bishop, no one declined a call to serve in our ward--it wasn't part of our culture as a ward family. Many members accepted calls to serve that involved considerable personal sacrifice, testing the promise that "sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven." That said, you really should communicate your personal circumstances to your bishop. Inspiration works best when coupled with information, so let him understand your perspective. You'll feel better when you share information and the bishop suggests a change than if you simply quit serving. Something important is lost in a ward when members decline to serve at all or where needed. Conversely, a ward in which members happily serve each other in whatever way is needed is a wonderful place to be.

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    June 27, 2013 5:49 p.m.

    It is true that some callings come from need, not inspiration. I believe it is very difficult for a Bishop, Stake President, etc. to know all about everyone; their talents, abilities, testimonies. But I do believe those callings can come from inspiration. These Bishops are under a great deal of responsibility especially when it comes to calling members to a position. My Dad was Bishop 3 times and he used to worry, stew, fret and pray..pray for guidance and the right person. Many times he was inspired to offer callings and other times, no matter how much he felt this particular person would do well...invariably they didn't want to do it.I guess the best way for us to know if a calling is good for us is to PRAY..STUDY THE SCRIPTURES and we will receive that good feeling and we will know.

  • Marsh Valley Mom Downey, Idaho
    June 27, 2013 9:11 p.m.

    I have friends who refuse to come to church because they might be asked to give a prayer or serve in a calling. What did I tell them? "Let me teach you a word: NO!" Shocking, isn't it!?! But everyone has the right to say no or to ask to be released. Not all callings are inspired. Many times there are multiple people who could serve in a calling, and the Lord leaves it up to the bishop to make a decision as to which one to choose. We start to serve and then our lives fall apart, something that not even we could have planned for. We then go to the bishop and tell him that we have conflicts that we cannot correct by ourselves. And the two of you can work it out. Other times, you just plain "hate" the calling. It stresses you too much. Again, go talk to the bishop. Maybe you just need a new perspective. Maybe you need a different calling. Or maybe you just need a break. Don't feel bad and don't let other people make you feel like a bad person because you don't want to serve.

  • 32843 PROVO, UT
    June 29, 2013 4:37 p.m.

    @ Az lady

    "...he told me "Shut Up! Sit in the chair and lets get this over with!"

    Ok, let me see if I have this right. Your Branch President not only didn't consult with you about a calling he even told you to "shut up" and accept the calling when you asked him about it? Even after that you still bravely tried to perform in that calling? But then, during prayer seeking inspiration on how to magnify your calling, the Lord told you to ask to be released. But, after asking your Branch President to be released he had a "hissy fit" and was so angry with you for merely wishing to be released from your church calling that he then actively sought to destroy your reputation in the community? And that's when you went to your Stake President, and after learning of this Branch Presidents behavior, released him. And it was after all that that you've come to the conclusion that not all church callings are inspired. Wow! That's some story.

    Yeah, I'm sure you didn't exaggerate at all. You do know that exaggeration is just another way of telling a lie?

  • snowman Provo, UT
    June 30, 2013 2:43 p.m.

    Brahmabull: When one is called to a church position, its because Heavenly Father wants the person to learn something from it.