I’ve completely failed at being inactive.
by Kelly Ann
Last week, late on Saturday evening, I received a phone call from my Bishop. The message and prior email sent earlier in the day that I had missed said something to the effect of “I need to talk to you. Preferably before church tomorrow morning. Can you be here at 9:15?” For some reason, I said yes.
Already planning to bike to church in the morning, I set my alarm clock even earlier to make sure that not only would I be on time but that I would have a few minutes to catch my breath. As I sat on the soft chair outside the Bishop’s office in the nice slacks I wear to church (rather than dealing with a skirt when biking), I heard an occasional word through the wall that suggested the Bishopric were talking about callings. However, I was not nervous until the Bishop opened the door for the high councilor, who had knocked to belatedly join their meeting, and then told the rest of the Bishopric “‘Kelly Ann’ is already here. I’m going to step out for a minute.”
Given I recently told the Bishop I’d be game for more responsibility, having first succumbed at the beginning of the year to join the activities committee after the chair asked for my help despite recognizing me from the Exponent blog and my insistence I was laying low, I felt another more involved calling was in the shadows.
But I figured I was pretty safe. I have been completely open with my Bishop, my former institute teacher, about my spiritual journey over the past couple years. He knows I snapped after Prop8 passed. I have felt it important to convey to him (and to the Stake President, who I also consider a friend) the anguish, frustrations, and ways I have deviated from traditional Mormonism since then. He knows that after I ripped my temple recommend in half and took my garments off the Saturday after the election, I didn’t take the sacrament for over a year for lack of belief. I have detailed my list of issues and even copied him on parts of my Exponent posts, as I have never intended on hiding behind my penname which I use for professional reasons. He knows that I don’t like Joseph Smith and think the church is sexist. But as a good friend, he has made me feel welcome whatever my level of participation or belief. And as I have reestablished my ties to the community and rebuilt some of my beliefs, he has listened to my continual questions and perspective.
So as we sat in the small primary chairs in a room down the hall from his office, while I thought I might be asked to do something that day, or get a small complimentary calling to the activities committee, I did not anticipate the following conversation.
He proceeded to tell me that the Relief Society president had called him on Friday and felt impressed that I should fill an unexpectant impending vacancy as secretary. His response was that “it was a brilliant idea”, that I could “reach those who might otherwise feel marginalized”. However, he then proceeded to give me an out, telling me he understood if I didn’t accept, that it was a lot of work and a huge commitment. I told him I knew, that I had been secretary before, but it was an important calling. So with wide eyes, he looked at me and said “so you’ll accept?” And for some reason, I said yes.
The calling is either completely inspired or the leadership is completely out of their mind. As am I.
When I stood to be sustained confidently wearing my slacks and suit jacket, I could see the expressions of some of my friends. I’m pretty sure they think I am out of my mind. But it felt good to see everyone raise their hands in affirmation and later to be set apart. Even as the meeting included testimonies of some things I still don’t agree with, I do feel that the calling is inspired and that it will be interesting and something I can do. I feel like I can continually hash out my issues, not being required to teach anything I don’t believe, while making a good contribution to the Relief Society as a member of the presidency – as scary as that sounds!
And it makes me incredibly happy to feel that my voice is valued. In my blessing following being set apart by a member of the Bishopric who I don’t know, I was told that my voice and perspective were needed, that I would be able to reach out to people in an unique way. I was later told by the Bishop that while some callings might be less inspired than others, there was no question in his mind, that God wanted me now for some reason or he wouldn’t have asked. The Relief Society President has kept expressing to me how happy she is I accepted and how much I am needed. I hope this is true. I hope I won’t regret this.
So quite frankly I have completely failed at being inactive! But I don’t seem to mind. I even seem to be enjoying my first week of responsibilities.
That’s my story for now.