Special Witness: “Bishop, Help!”


Dallin H. Oaks
From an April 1997 general conference address.

“Bishop, Help!”

Did you know that Elder Dallin H. Oaks served as a judge and as a university president? He teaches us about the special calling of bishop.

During a sacrament meeting, a little boy made a big disturbance. In a few moments [his father] put the little boy over his shoulder, stood up, and started for the back door. Looking back over his father’s shoulder, the little boy became quiet and apprehensive. Just as the father approached the rear door of the chapel, the little fellow reached his arms out toward the stand and shouted, “Bishop, help!”

There are times in the lives of all of us when we must reach out to our bishop or his counselors for help. Perhaps we need inspired counsel and direction. Always we benefit from their stalwart examples. Thank heaven for faithful and inspired bishops and branch presidents and their counselors!

A bishop (or branch president) has many duties. As the president of the Aaronic Priesthood, he personally oversees the programs and activities of the young men and young women in the ward. He and his counselors give special attention to teaching correct principles. Always they encourage our youth to prepare for the covenants they will make in the temple.

As the presiding high priest, the bishop gives direction to all quorums, auxiliaries [organizations], activities, and programs in the ward. He is also responsible for seeking out the poor and the needy.

The offices of bishop and branch president and counselors are sacred in this Church. The men who hold those offices are respected by the Lord, inspired by His Spirit, and given the powers of discernment [judgment] necessary to their office. We honor and love them, and we show this by our consideration for them.

[illustration] Illustrated by Adam Koford