Congratulations, new member, for getting baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This is a huge step in your life. Now that you are a member, it won’t be long before you get a calling. Since no members on the local level are paid, all responsibilities fall on members of the church. When you get that phone call that the bishop wants to talk to you, it is important to know what you are getting yourself into. So, I made this guide as a help for new members who need to know what they are signing up for when they agree to a calling.
Bishop/Bishopric– CEO of extremely inefficient, occasionally apathetic small business of which he has no leverage or firing power but can only do lateral job transfers and is blamed for almost everything that goes wrong.
As in most stressful corporate positions, this one will significantly add to hair greying and/or hair loss.
Branch President– Similar to the Bishop, only a smaller business and a lot more in-your-face drama
Executive Secretary– That guy that you mark in your phone as “Don’t Answer” because he’s probably going to give you a calling
High Priests Group Leader– Master Philosopher, Historian, Theologian, and Defender of All Truth.
Relief Society– Local director of an international volunteer organization, where your boss is always a dude.
Elders Quorum President– Middle School Teacher
Sunday School– You basically work in the School Board office for Sunday School. This also gets you a ‘Get out of Class Free’ card if you want to roam the halls and “supervise”
Young Men’s Presidency– Guilt Heaper. If you get this calling, you become the arbiter of guilt for your young men. You WILL eventually have to talk about pornography addictions and masturbation. Oh, and you go on fun outings too. And sometimes, on those fun outings, you end up having to talk about staying away from porn and masturbation.
Scoutmaster– Scoutmasters facilitate advancement through the Scouting program in the church. However, in the case of an apocalypse of some sort (nuclear fallout, zombies, etc.), Scoutmasters instantly will all convert into the Ward/Branch Survival Specialist, and will be the person you want to seek out when that happens. Sure, you’ll sleep in a shoddy lean to in the forest and eat foil dinners, but it’ll be better than the alternative. Don’t worry about burdening him- he likes it.
Young Women’s Presidency– Chauffeur. You will pick up people all the time. You will teach them about Jesus and you will learn to love each other more. And then you will drive them around some more.
Membership Clerk– Milk Carton Detective. You’ll be chasing down members who were baptized 25 years ago, but have since gone inactive, joined other churches, found themselves incarcerated…or maybe they’ve formed a pagan cult that worships light waves,
Finance Clerk– Guy who gets a free pass from Elders Quorum
Primary Presidency– School teacher from the 1800s. You’ll have a classroom with kids from preschool age to 6th grade, and you’ll have to teach in such a way that all of them learn and move forward. Part teacher, part disciplinarian, part Skinner-style behavioral psychologist (with treats and games and the like).
Primary Teacher– Cat Herder. Self explanatory.
Nursery Leader: Velociraptor Trainer. You’ll help these little carnivores (a.k.a. children of your friends) play and run around. Like raptors, they have low language abilities, are hungry, and will jump you if you turn your back to them.
Ward Mission Leader– Adult Guilt Heaper
Ward Missionary– Calling you get if you’re sort of apathetic about church but not apathetic enough to stay home on Sunday
Seminary Teacher -Early Morning– Crypt keeper. Some teachers may complain about half of the class being dead, but the truth is, they just don’t realize that they are also dead.
Ward Choir Director– A music person that never feels qualified but always delivers.
Any corrections/additions? Please post them in the comments section. And remember, you can always say no, as long as you’re cool with some guilt heapin’.
Didn't get why the financial clerk gets a free pass from the Elders Quorum. The rest I got and even though this is funny, it is so close to the truth.
Several financial clerks I have known dip out during 3rd hour and go into their offices to enter tithing into the computer or whatever else. Maybe it’s more the ones I’ve known?
I’ve definitely seen that too.
Nobody is allowed to count donations alone, so I guess that means at least one member of the bishopric gets a pass too.
Coming from a family of LDS clerks and financial clerks, I can answer this one. Those called to such positions are usually more introverted – we grow weary of social interaction after the first two hours of the Sunday block and just want to sit in a quiet place and decompress. The office works for that – just shut the door and folks assume important stuff is happening in there. Regrettably for me now, “middle school teachers” don’t get that pass.
So, you have a degree in vocal music? That’s ok. We’re going to give the calling of “Ward Choir Director” to someone who doesn’t even know what a treble clef is!
Also, I once had an older gentleman move in the Ward who was an award winning Organist and accompanist. When I requested to the Bishop for him to become the Ward organist, the Bishop laughed at me, and said, because he was a Male, he needed a “more important calling.”
Uhuh. Thanks. (I was the Ward Music Chair. HAHAHA! That means plan all the hymns without any weekly topics or themes for Sacrament, and hope you are “inspired” by the spirit that they fit!Also, you need music for a random event? We’ll let you know the day before, even though you weren’t planning on going!)
You’re right. I had that calling as well, Ward Music Chair. They called me, and then I had to plan a ward Christmas program a couple weeks later. It wasn’t terrible but your comment reminded me of this. Also, every week of picking songs was a shot in the dark. The program maker person probably hated me, because I always took way too long to get the hymns to her. Yeah.
Re: more important calling- Our last bishop, a wonderful guy, was also our organist most of the time.
Great post, Thomas! I particularly appreciate your description of the primary presidency.
Thanks! Always appreciate your input.
Oh come on. Velociraptor’s are nearly germ free when compared to Nursery attendees. They may squeal, but they don’t cry for the entire 2nd and 3rd hours. Velociraptor’s also don’t give good hugs to make up for the other stuff.
Bishop’s counselors – Chief Operational Officers that that may or may not like the position and may be either trying really hard to get a much wanted promotion, or trying real hard to do the job without increasing the chances of getting a promotion they don’t want.
Great insights. It’s true about nursery, it’s basically a petri dish full of bacteria. But I actually love nursery.
And yes, good call on bishopric members.
Because as finance clerk you are always preparing reimbursement checks for the scout master and yw leaders and activity leaders, and you always want to get a head start on counting the tithing.
Organist–if you live outside of Utah, you will never be released. Ever. No one else can play the organ.
Oh my gosh. I am laughing so hard. I really needed this after Nelson-gate.
For YW pres you forgot to mention that they will continually tell the girls that they should get married to a worthy priesthood holder and live the rest of their lives as Harriet. (Ozzie and Harriet sitcom)And never stop procreating…eternally.
Love this – you are the best!
Thanks Janice for showing us this – hilarious!
Ysa branch family history consultant- fancy title but doesn’t really do anything, all the members parents have already done the history.
Bonita – I think he was trying to keep it funny, not dissuade people from taking roles like future wife/mom president – oops, I mean “YW president”. 😉
Childish and irrational. Marginally amusing. Like some of the songs I’ve written – forgettable. Musicians are such flakes. Keep trying, tho. Our weaknesses can be made strengths.