It’s a Question of Procedure

David - January 2, 2009

I got a call this morning from Sergio, a friend from my old ward who wanted to wish me and my family a Happy New Year and catch up. After we exchanged reports of our holiday activities, he let me know that– 3 1/2 months after we moved out of the ward– I was finally released from my HPGL calling last Sunday (Sergio took my place, which made me very happy).

Coincidentally, that same day we were doing our tithing settlement, and at one point the bishop says to me, “We got a calling for you. It’s coming, so be ready.”

My question is this: Did a calling in the new ward have to wait for the release in the old one? Such a concept never occurred to me until this happened. Was it necessary to keep me in that position until the stake leadership determined my replacement, and by so doing, keep any callings in the new ward at bay? Or is it really just a coincidence that the two things happened at the same time? Is there not such a thing as having two callings in two wards overlap?

Not that I haven’t been grateful for the 3 1/2 month vacation.

13 Comments »

  1. My guess is that it’s a coincidence.

    The trigger for being available for callings in a new ward is your membership record. They’re not supposed to call you without that; once it arrives, you’re fair game. There really isn’t a mechanism for communicating with a new ward that you haven’t been released yet.

    Comment by Kevin Barney — January 2, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

  2. Kevin, is it possible for a ward to refuse to release the records of a departing member?

    David, if you moved within your stake, I can see things getting gummed up a bit simply because your previous calling was (arguably) a stake calling. My experience is that stake leaderships often get pretty touchy about people with “stake” callings concurrently having callings in their home wards.

    Comment by JimD — January 2, 2009 @ 4:43 pm

  3. What Kevin said.

    Comment by Silus Grok — January 2, 2009 @ 4:46 pm

  4. Having lived in ward where callings are extended, accepted, but never consummated (setting apart), where releases don’t even occur even though the person is no longer available to serve, I would say that your old ward just didn’t get around to releasing you because the leadership forgot, was lazy, or any other silly reason.

    Comment by sam — January 3, 2009 @ 9:51 am

  5. is it possible for a ward to refuse to release the records of a departing member?

    Possible? Yes.

    Likely? No.

    Comment by MCQ — January 3, 2009 @ 10:33 am

  6. There is no mechanism to refuse to release records built into the program. However, A clerk could request the records back after they’d been pulled out of the ward, which would make the record pop into the other ward on connection with CHQ, then pop back out on the next connection.

    Comment by Matt W. — January 4, 2009 @ 9:23 am

  7. David – Having served as Bishop previously I know how difficult it is to keep up with all the callings that need to be extended, sustained and set apart but I also understand how important it is to do it properly. I can only immagine how much more magnified that issue becomes for the Stake President. Everyone wants to feel that their calling is important and inspired. And when it is time to be released everyone wants to feel as though their efforts have been appreciated. Recently I was serving in the HP Group Leadership and was released while I was out of town (out of the country) without any notification of the release. It was only after I retuend and through a casual conversation with someone who previously served as the HP Group secretary , who was called as First Assistant to the Group Leader, that I discovered the release. I gave the SP a sufficiently hard time about the lack of communication and then I felt bad for making him feel bad.

    I suppose it is justified to be frustrated by the lack of coordination and efficiency in releases and callings (and settings apart) but I think we always have realize this is still a part-time job for those called into leadership and, in most cases, they are doing the best they can. Considering that, I think the process works quite well under the circumstances.

    Comment by lamonte — January 5, 2009 @ 6:58 am

  8. lamonte,

    I didn’t feel bad about not being notified or by the delay in being released, nor did I take it as a personal insult. Truth be told, I was more frustrated in how long it took to get my replacement called. I felt the group leadership badly needed a complete overhaul and I was anxious to see my suggestion– “my boy”– get tapped. I’ve worked with stake presidencies enough to recognize the heavy weight they bear, and the whole Prop 8 thing (we’re in So. CA) really threw a wrench in the administrative works; a lot was put on the back burner.

    I realize now that my question of whether there was a correlation between the release in the old ward and notification of an impending calling in the new ward was non-existent– it was just a coincidence. I suppose I believed that from the start, but I’ve been surprised before so I had to ask.

    Comment by David T. — January 5, 2009 @ 9:14 am

  9. One of the greatest missed opportunities in the church is a true “release” from a calling. The release does not happen when someone stands in front of the congregation (or in your case, the high priests group) and asks for a vote of thanks for the person who was released. Instead, it should take place in private between the person responsible (a member of the bishopric or the stake presidency) and the person being released. It’s important for the leader to give thanks personally, and to give the person being released a chance to talk about his service, etc.

    Just as a calling shouldn’t be extended on the fly in the hallway, neither should a release.

    Comment by Mark B. — January 6, 2009 @ 7:25 am

  10. A note I wanted make when I contributed earlier but forgot (I’m getting senile) is that I was shocked, frankly, when I heard President Eyring explain in the press conference after he was called to serve as a counselor to President Hinckley, after the death of President Faust, that he was called via a telephone call from the prophet. Wow! That one took me by surprise. You are called to serve as a counselor to the prophet and it comes by way of a phone conversation?

    I’m intersted in how others feel about that one.

    Comment by lamonte — January 7, 2009 @ 8:04 am

  11. Not surprised. Hugh B. Brown was famously called via telephone, and others have said the same thing. I think that the distances involved (these men are from all over, after all, not living in the same ward or stake) and the need to get the callings made expeditiously often requires that the calling be extended by telephone I think.

    Comment by MCQ — January 7, 2009 @ 12:58 pm

  12. Previous to my mission, I served in the EQ presidency. After I had been out about 4 months, my home ward finally released me from the EQ presidency. I have no idea what took them so long–they knew for 6 weeks before I left that I was going on a mission….And they knew I was putting in my papers.

    Comment by Mormon Heretic — January 7, 2009 @ 11:19 pm

  13. Ever been in a military ward/branch??? Not that it is correct, but with the number of moving members, temporary duties and deployments, many people aren’t released before departing one location and being called in another.

    Records travel a lot faster than some leaders. I’ve been in two different YM presidencies in two different wards separated by 3000 miles at the same time.

    Comment by TJ — January 27, 2009 @ 4:54 am

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