I learned firsthand what it means to be “called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority” (Articles of Faith 1:5).
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My husband and I had just moved to a new town and were excited to attend our new ward. It turned out that the ward boundaries were being changed, and the ward was divided.
After church our second Sunday, the ward clerk set an appointment for us to meet with the new bishop on Tuesday evening. After a short visit, the bishop asked my husband’s permission to call me as the Primary president of the new ward. Then he issued the call to me. I was shocked, but I had been taught never to turn down a calling, so I agreed to do my best.
The bishop gave me a list of names and asked me to meet with him in two days with names picked out for counselors and a secretary. I felt overwhelmed. When we arrived home, I locked myself in the bathroom and cried. Then I poured out my heart to Heavenly Father, expressing my concerns over my new calling. I didn’t know anyone in the new ward, and I needed His help. When I finished praying, peace filled my heart.
The next morning I prayed and then dove into my usual housework. The list of names the bishop had given me sat on the kitchen table, and I briefly glanced at it each time I passed. After I had looked at the list several times, two names seemed to stand out to me. I picked up the list and read the names. As I pronounced the names, a warm feeling engulfed me. I had never felt the Holy Ghost so strongly.
I immediately approached Heavenly Father in prayer, tears streaming down my cheeks as I said the names again. I didn’t know anything about either of these women, but I knew in my heart they were to be my counselors.
Later that evening I went over the list of names in my head. One name came into my mind every time I pictured the list. She became my secretary.
I met with the bishop the next day and gave him the names for my counselors and secretary. To my surprise they were the same women the bishop thought would work well in the Primary. When I got to church on Sunday, the first counselor in the bishopric stood outside the chapel with me, pointing out my counselors and secretary as they arrived. As I watched these sisters, I felt that I already knew them. The Spirit again confirmed to me that these women were called of God.
I knew we could work harmoniously together serving the Lord—and we did. Although these sisters were strangers to me, they were perfect for their callings. The Lord knew whom He wanted to call. What a growing experience it was to me to learn firsthand what it means to be called of God by prophecy.
Seeking the Guidance of the Spirit
“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.”
Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010), 19.1.1.
Photo illustration by Ruth Sipus