Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Organizational Leaders Receive Revelation for the Organization - Not Generally for Individuals

To follow-up on my last post, a friend and I were talking a long time ago about how I view the role of revelation and church leadership relative to personal revelation.  After a fairly long, complex conversation, he asked me the following question: 

Are you saying that the leader of the organization can receive revelation for the organization but not for the individuals within the organization?

My response was:

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying, as the general rule, with occasional exceptions.

Let me give you a real example:

My wife was the Young Women President once. She prayed about who she should suggest to fill positions within that organization, then she gave those names to the Bishop for consideration. The Bishopric talked about each suggestion, then the Bishop told her whether or not her suggestions had been ratified by the Bishopric. Sometimes they were; sometimes they weren't; how strongly she felt she had been inspired had nothing to do with the result. (The same thing happened when she was in the Primary Presidency.)

Why the apparent disconnect?

I don't see a disconnect at all.
I see someone praying for inspiration about who would be the best person for a particular position within a particular organization, and then I see another person praying about whether that person would be the best person for that position given the broader perspective of the entire ward - and then I see that person being responsible to determine if that position is one in which she believes God wants her to serve, given her own position in her own "organization" (whether that be only herself or that be her family). I see three different spheres of revelation, if you will, with three different people approaching God for confirmation as to whether a person would be the right "fit" for the calling - and I see the possibility of one or two people receiving a "Yes" answer and one or two receiving a "No" answer - and ALL THREE being "correct".

The person my wife suggested as her 1st Counselor might or might not be the best person for the Young Women organization; she might or might not be the best person given the dynamics of the ward; that calling might or might not be the best position for her at that time, regardless of the answer to the larger organizations. Three people - three stewardships - two possible legitimate conclusions each and every step along the way.

On a related note:

If I am married, I believe we must act as one in the decisions we make that have any degree of importance - that neither she nor I can receive unilateral revelation for the other or for our family, unless there is some kind of limitation on one of us that renders that one incapable of participating in such decision-making processes. My parents' situation was one such exception (in some but not all cases), due to my mother's schizophrenia, but most marriages don't have that type of limitation, in my opinion. Many, many marriages default to one person making most of the decisions, but I believe that's because, primarily, our culture allows the apostate assumption that it is OK to do so.


Patty said...

I love the perspective that all three answers can be correct while only one will be the one that is (or should be) chosen- good way to explain it! I also agree that couples should make decisions together and that when they are able to come to agreement and present a united front they are stronger for it.

Byron Holdiman said...

I remember once I called someone and it was turned down because the Bishop was aware of issues that I did not need to know. It was over a month before another name came to me. When another person was called, the original person came to me an apologized that she was not ready for the call. She told me "I know why the calling has been unfilled for so long and I am sorry that I could not be offered the calling. I have learned from this that my actions not only affected me, but affected the entire ward." I thought, wow, now I know why another name did not come to mind. It was one of those testimony periods that this is the Lord's Church and he sees the big picture.