19. Callings in the Church
This chapter provides information about calling and releasing members to serve in the Church. The Chart of Callings on pages 159–66 lists selected callings and specifies who recommends a person, who approves the recommendation, who sustains the person, and who calls and sets apart the person. Callings on the chart are filled according to need and as members are available.
19.1 Determining Whom to Call
A person must be called of God to serve in the Church (see Articles of Faith 1:5). Leaders seek the guidance of the Spirit in determining whom to call. They consider the worthiness that may be required for the calling. They also consider the member’s personal or family circumstances. Each calling should benefit the people who are served, the member, and the member’s family.
Although service in Church callings requires sacrifice, it should not compromise a member’s ability to fulfill family and employment responsibilities (see 17.2.1). Before calling a married person to an assignment that requires a significant time commitment, Church leaders consider the effect of the calling on the marriage and family.
If possible, a member is called to serve in only one calling, in addition to assignments as a home teacher or visiting teacher.
Leaders keep information about proposed callings and releases confidential. Only those who need to know, such as an auxiliary president who oversees the person, are informed before the person is presented for a sustaining vote. A person who is being considered for a calling is not notified until the calling is issued.
When a calling will be extended by or under the direction of the stake president, the bishop should be consulted to determine the member’s worthiness and the family, employment, and Church service circumstances. The stake presidency then asks the high council to sustain the decision to call the person, if necessary according to the Chart of Callings.
When a young man or young woman will be called to a Church position, a member of the bishopric obtains approval from the parents or guardians before issuing the calling.
Leaders may extend a Church calling only after (1) a person’s membership record is on file in the ward and has been carefully reviewed by the bishop or (2) the bishop has contacted the member’s previous bishop to determine that the member is worthy for the calling and to verify that his or her membership record does not include an annotation or a comment about unresolved Church discipline.
New converts should be given an appropriate calling or another responsibility to serve as soon as possible. Some new members may be ready for callings as soon as they are baptized and confirmed. Others may need to receive simple assignments that would help them prepare to receive callings. A member of the bishopric interviews new converts before calling them to teach children or youth.
People who are not members of the Church may be called to some positions, such as organist, music director, and assistant Scout leader. However, they should not be called to teaching or administrative positions or as Primary music leaders. The allowance to call nonmembers to some positions does not apply to excommunicated members, who may not have any callings.
Recommendations and Approvals for Callings
The Chart of Callings indicates who may make recommendations for each calling and who gives approval. In some cases, priesthood and auxiliary leaders are asked to make recommendations to their stake presidency or bishopric. They should approach this responsibility prayerfully, knowing that they can receive guidance from the Lord about whom to recommend. However, they should remember that final responsibility to receive inspiration on whom to call rests with the stake presidency or the bishopric.
Stake presidents and bishops should carefully evaluate each recommendation, recognizing that it has been prayerfully considered. As needed, they may request another recommendation.
The stake president oversees the calling of members who serve in most stake positions, as shown in the Chart of Callings.
The stake presidency recommends brethren to be called or released as bishops (see 19.6). The stake president also oversees the calling of counselors in the bishopric, ward clerks, assistant ward clerks, and ward executive secretaries. The bishop oversees other callings in the ward, as shown in the Chart of Callings.
Elders Quorum and High Priests Group Callings
The stake president oversees the calling of elders quorum presidents and their counselors and of high priests group leaders and their assistants, as shown in the Chart of Callings.
The elders quorum president and the high priests group leader oversee the calling of quorum or group secretaries and instructors. The bishop’s approval is required before brethren may be called to these positions.