February 20, 2010

Not true thing of the day #4

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:10 am

Taking inspiration from Jason’s recent comment, I’d like to address what might become a sub-series in the not true thing concept.  Jason’s acquaintance was saying:

Assertion: Every calling in the church is inspired by God

Reality: Some callings don’t need inspiration because of a wide variety of factors.  Having multiple options that are all basically just as good, you will make the right decision on your own, etc. etc.  I tend to see this asserted most often by people who are not actually personally involved with issuing callings.  Issuing the calling can still be in accordance with the will of God even if it wasn’t directly inspired by revelation.

I award this two grimacing Calvins.

Notes:  This view stems from what I call the micro-managing God theory.  Proponents of this idea are usually very conservative Mormons who often hold other beliefs I like to poke at.  In order for these folks to find meaning from life, they need to believe that God caused each thing to happen as a direct expression of his will.  Other camps tend to believe that some circumstances might be random, and meaning can be derived ex post facto.  This is closely related to concepts of determinism, ex nihlo creation and so forth.  They will be address later, but I will hold them out of scope this post.


  1. Only two calvin grimaces IF you had been in that conversation I had been you would have given it at LEAST 3. Thank you for talking about this. It is one of my biggest Mormon pet peeves!

    Comment by Jason Heilpern — February 20, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

  2. If God wills every calling in the church, then God is responsible for each time a pedophile has been called as a teacher of children or teens, right?

    Comment by P — February 20, 2010 @ 11:50 pm

  3. It’s intriguing to me that the questionable assertions you’ve attacked so far are not at all what I would expect to be the things that bother you most.

    I guess my bias–and I’m certainly not suggesting you need to think like me–is to figure out as quickly as possible whether Mormon doctrine is sound. So I veer toward questions like, “How can God be both omniscient and omnipotent?” or “Should a loving father impose eternal punishment on someone who sinned for only 85 years?”

    But I guess these sorts of questions don’t make good blog fodder. They’re conversation grenades.

    Comment by P — February 21, 2010 @ 12:06 am

  4. Interesting assertion. There is much to consider here. For example, the inspiration to issue a call may be proper and true even if the call is turned down or never issued. Perhaps it was important that a leader talk to the person. Maybe there are things the leader needs to know or that the person being called needs to consider or talk about that will come out in the discussion. I am not one to second-guess what God has in mind if I am inspired to do something—it may not be what I think. Interestingly, the proper protocol (not always followed) in issuing a calling is to first determine worthiness and willingness to serve BEFORE issuing the call. I think this is more than just a formality. I believe it recognizes the possibility that the leader might have been operating with incomplete knowledge when considering the call. None of this is improper or negates the reality of inspiration.

    Another aspect of this is the role that the recipient of the call plays. I have heard some people say that even if a calling is not inspired one will be blessed by accepting it. This leads to another assertion: One should always accept a church calling. As one who has issued a number of callings in my life, this makes me very uncomfortable. I have appreciated greatly those times when those I have called have explained reservations they have or circumstances I may not have been aware of. There are times when I have felt the call should be reconsidered. There have been other times when I have felt the call was still appropriate. Once again none of this is improper or negates the reality of inspiration.

    The sometimes unrealistic expectation about the omniscience of church leaders reminds me of a story told by Mitch Albom in connection with his book, “Have a Little Faith”. When he goes to the door of a rabbi that he has great respect for as a man of God he is somewhat surprised to find a doorbell. “Why does the rabbi need a doorbell?” he thinks, “Won’t he just know I’m here?”

    Comment by Art — February 22, 2010 @ 5:39 am

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