Zelophehad’s Daughters

Who should have the calling?

Posted by Vada

Please answer gender-appropriately, as I’m curious if men and women feel differently about this. Also, if you’re single feel free to answer hypothetically.

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Would you rather hold a time-consuming calling or would you rather your spouse held one?
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This came to mind because of discussion on Kristine’s BCC thread that many women are grateful that they can’t be bishop, etc. (Of course, this is not a new discussion.) Starfoxy made a great comment (#50) reminding people that time-consuming callings take a toll on both spouses, regardless of which one is called.

This issue came up fairly recently in my marriage. One of the counselors in the bishopric met with me and asked if I would accept a calling as a primary worker. He said they wanted my husband (who was already a primary worker) and I to team-teach the 8yo primary class, and they wanted to call my husband as the cub scout leader for the 8yo boys. Just the week before he had gotten called as the secretary in the stake YM presidency. I agreed, but I suggested to the bishopric member that it might be nice if they gave me callings instead of my husband because I could use more time away from our two small children, and he could use more time home with them. I left it at that (something for future thought), but this wonderful bishopric member repeated my comment to the primary president. She’s also great, just very new to her calling, and she asked, “Could we do that? Can she be the cub scout leader?” He told her that would be fine, and they talked to my husband and I again after church about us still team-teaching in primary and me being the cub scout leader. We both agreed. While I don’t particularly enjoy being a cub scout leader, and it’s certainly not a calling I would ever aspire to (much like that of bishop), I still find it infinitely preferable to my husband being cub scout leader and me having yet one more night home alone with my children.

22 Responses to “Who should have the calling?”

  1. 1.

    For what it’s worth, I’d generally prefer that neither of us hold the time-consuming calling. But when my wife was in the RS presidency, it gave her a chance to get to know the ward really well, it gave me a little extra one-on-one time with our daughter, and I got to teach the youth, a calling that I loved.

  2. 2.

    I agree, Sam B. I would rather neither my husband or I had a time-consuming calling. But if one of us is going to, I’d rather it was me.

  3. 3.

    It’s an easy decision for me. I work outside of the home more than my wife does, and so I’d much rather have her serving in a calling so I can stay home with the kids.

  4. 4.

    If my dh would willingly join the church and believe in the gospel, I wouldn`t mind how time consuming any callings were!!!

  5. 5.

    Everyone,
    This was a very interesting survey. I’m excited to see what others say in the coming days. I’m not married, so I’m not sure what my answer would be. I guess it would depend on what each of us were doing in our lives…

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  6. 6.

    My answer is no, and yes.

    Like others, there is a huge part of me that would rather neither of us have the calling:) But it has helped a lot that we’ve both had big callings, and thus we understand better what the other is going through. I learned a lot about what a bishop does when I was RS president, and during his time in leadership, he learned a lot about what RS can do for the ward.

    If he was always the one off serving, or me always the one with the big calling, then I don’t think either of us could be as compassionate and understanding.

  7. 7.

    I want us to be so open minded that we put either in the calling without a second thought. That we put whoever is best/called to be in the calling regardless of gender. The thing is, rarely do any of us want the calling we have.

  8. 8.

    I have to ask – what’s the calling? All time-consuming callings are not made equal.

    Stake or ward employment specialist? Ward clerk? Sure, I’ll do them.

    Anything revolving scouts? Let my wife do it. :)

  9. 9.

    What with me being only half-a-Mormon, any big callings are going to have to go to him.

  10. 10.

    I guess, to clarify my #8 — it doesn’t matter to my wife and I which one of us has what calling. We’ll do what we need to, to serve.

    There have been some cases where I’ve told a bishopric member that perhaps a particular calling wasn’t appropriate, given my wife’s calling, her business, my full-time job, and my grad school, but I just give the information and let them make the call.

  11. 11.

    I am the wife, and I want neither of us to have a time-consuming calling. it is kind of a priority thing for me- family first.

    plus, I’ve heard too many men in my ward use the “how little time I have to spend with my family” line as a sort of code for “look how many important callings I have”

    that is not being quite fair, I know. Nor is it universal. but there is a bit of an obsession with business in the culture of the church, and a lot of it is redundant and only serves itself.

  12. 12.

    I have to ask – what’s the calling?

    Queuno, I have to assume that Vada meant that the calling was hymn book coordinator. :)

  13. 13.

    I am reminded of the area I lived in several years ago. The second counselor in the stake presidency, a friend of mine, was released so he could spend more time with his family. (At least that was the official reason given.)

  14. 14.

    A close friend of mine has recently been serving as RS Pres in her ward, for several years. In that time her husband has served on the stake high council, and was then called to Ward YM President. A few weeks ago he was called as Bishop, and she got released. And their eldest left on her mission, but she still has 5 more at home.

    In some areas of the world it’s not either or- it’s both. My ward RS pres is married to a member of the stake presy. they only see each other at their placeof employment, but travel there separately as they have different after -work commitments!

  15. 15.

    I once lived in a ward where the Bishop and the Relief Society were married. We jokingly referred to it as the “Jones” regime (names changed to protect the innocent). It was actually just a little scary.

  16. 16.

    Also, we have found that even within callings, the time commitment can vary with the particulars. As a high councilor, my husband was assigned to a unit that was 45 minutes away, with a very busy schedule that involved frequent Saturday or midweek visits (or boht); at the same time, his committee assignment was Auditing, which is very Sunday-time intensive.

    He might have been a high councilor assigned to an in-town ward and with a committee assignment of family history or something, and it would have been much less demanding as far as time required.

  17. 17.

    My husband does have an (extremely) time consuming calling, about which I am occasionally frustrated because I am once again left alone with a child. But I find that if I have to be gone for any reason, when I come home I have to play catch-up with dishes, putting away toys, cleaning up messes, etc. He’ll make sure everyone is still alive, but that’s about it. So it’s easier if I’m there so I don’t have three times as much to do as I did before I left!

  18. 18.

    I’m sorry, Rilkerunning. That sounds extremely frustrating. I’m sure it’s little comfort, but I think that’s actually fairly common among men: botch the childcare and housework enough so as not to be asked to do them much.

    Actually, I think your experience raises a good argument for having the women have the time-consuming callings more often if they’re SAHM’s. It seems particularly unfair to deprive a SAHM of what (little?) support she might get in childcare and housework by giving her husband a big calling. Better that she have the big calling, even if only to be away from the kids for some time. In a church that so encourages SAHMing, perhaps we should give the biggest callings to women.

    Utterly tangentially, I’m fascinated by the poll results in that three quarters of the voters are women. I suspected that more women than men read ZD, but I never guessed the ratio was that high. Is this just another specific instance of the general finding that members of minority groups are forced to be familiar with the majority’s culture, but members of the majority have little incentive to become familiar with the minority’s culture? I think it’s the case that women tend to read both male and female authors, while men are more likely to read mostly or entirely male authors. Is it this phenomenon at work here?

  19. 19.

    Thanks for your reply, Ziff. I was actually thinking the exact same thing about giving SAHM’s the callings! Just yesterday, he was gone from 7:30 until church started at 1, then had another meeting right after. Not only am I frustrated for myself, but he never gets a break. Why not let the SAHM’s get out of the house, talk to adults, and let the men stay home for once? I’m sure he’d appreciate it as much as I would. Unfortunately, for some reason the executive secretary (what he is) for some reason needs to hold the priesthood, which I of course am not allowed. Why do these calling need to be priesthood holders anyway? I’m not very clear.

  20. 20.

    Anne (#14) summed up what it’s like in our neck of the woods, although he and I would much rather neither of us having a time consuming calling.

    Yet, I begin to wonder, if neither of us were really putting forth much effort into “building Zion”, are we really becoming a part of it? I don’t know the answer, but it’s something to think about.

  21. 21.

    As a breastfeeding mother, I feel my time is already being put to the best use possible and prefer my husband have the time consuming calling. I stay home for a reason. I don’t want to have my baby take a bottle so I can handle a group of cub scouts.

    Once my daughter is older and relying less on me for nourishment, I think it would be more fair for me to take the time consuming calling if my husband already as a full time job.

  22. 22.

    My husband is eq president. I haven’t held a calling for 4 years. His calling only gets hairy when he coaches cross country. I got called into the sp office, and he was concerned my unhappiness interfered with dh calling. I told him I don’t fit in and it wasn’t fair that I don’t have the respect in the ward as previous eq president.
    In fact I called the rs pres on the carpet b/c she said she called around to find a substitute teacher: I announced that she never called me.

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