#hearLDSwomen: My Stake President Canceled the Speaker for Our RS Activity and Gave Us a Talk on Honoring the Priesthood Himself Instead
My bishopric forces me to go through them to ask permission for every little thing for my calling, and they often say no and more often never respond at all. I’ve sent the bishopric member who’s over me one brief email a month with a few bullet points of things I need from him. He hasn’t responded in six months. I finally got fed up and sent an email a couple days ago telling him I would stop performing my calling after the end of next month and to release me. He hasn’t responded.
I was the enrichment counselor in our ward, and I was required to run all of my ideas and plans for enrichment by the bishop for his approval and/or veto. Never had that happen before in any other ward.
– Heidi Alsop
I can’t tell you how many times my calling as ward music chairman was disregarded in the 4 years I served. I was counseled, when I received this calling, that I was only to use hymns most familiar to the congregation. I hadn’t been a member of that ward very long, so I wasn’t sure what those specific hymns were. I relied heavily on the Spirit to figure it out.
Every week, I was led by the Spirit in choosing hymns, despite not knowing the topics the speakers had. I requested the topics several times throughout my first year, and gave up requesting when they honored my request only once.
The worst instances of total disregard for how I magnified my calling were when the presiding priesthood leader would stop the congregation, mid-song, and change the hymn because no one knew the song. This happened on several occasions and it happened at least twice with the stake presidency present, and once when I was out of town. As often as these instances occurred, I would get passive- aggressive texts from the man who held the calling of program printer talking about how he guessed he wasn’t important enough to be informed of the hymn change prior to the meeting itself.
I requested to be released after I approached the bishop and his first counselor to discuss the several permissions I needed for musical numbers over the next few weeks, and instead of just responding, appropriately, to me, they turned to each other with eyebrows raised and disgruntled voices said, not to me, “There sure is a lot of music going on lately.” It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
– E. Parsons
I was asked to be on a committee to plan our Stake Relief Society meeting. We met 4 times and had a great program planned—a lady was going to come talk about her art and what inspired her (she painted women from the scriptures). We really spent a lot of time planning this.
The 5th time we met, the group was informed that the Stake President had insisted that he was going to talk instead, and his topic was “honoring the priesthood.”
I was so furious that I couldn’t come to any more planning meetings. I’ve never felt so worthless and so blatantly disrespected!
– Nicole B.
Years ago, when I was a stake Primary president, it occurred to me survey the presidents, asking some benign questions about primary concerns, trying to get a pulse on things etc. One of the questions I asked was something to the effect ” do you have the ability to freely choose (without coercion) who you call to serve in your auxiliary and do you feel you have a voice in that decision making?” Oh my goodness. Was that a naive question! One of the presidents was really struggling with a bishopric that completely ran her auxiliary and chose who was called to staff it–all the time. So, I was trying to help her get a voice and take back some of the power she was being stripped of. Ward conference day rolls around and my counselors and I are set to meet with the presidency, when who shows up but the counselor in the bishopric who had gotten wind of my threat to his unrighteousness dominion.
The meeting with that presidency lasted all of 7 minutes. He shut me down at every turn so that I actually couldn’t even talk directly to the president. He ‘dominated’ the discussion to the point that I realized the futility of even trying to continue. It was clear that he was not going to let me give any advise or council to this sister unless it was over his dead body. I was released as Stake primary president shortly after that encounter.
I think a lot of it had to do with that one question on the survey.
I saw this guy recently (after 35 years) when I was visiting my daughter’s ward at Christmas. The feelings are still mutual.
– Susan Hall
Pro Tip: Recognize women as authorities who have the knowledge and inspiration to carry out their responsibilities. Do not overrule or micromanage women in your stewardship.
“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)