Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bishop William Swinyard: Singles Ward Phase 2, The Transition

At the end of the Winter semester, 1982, my life changed forever. I had no way to anticipating such a dramatic change. I was in the same singles ward. I was still at BYU. And two of my three roommates were the same as well. Things looked good for continued anonymity.

We did move from our ratty old apartment at Le Chateau to a different complex a few blocks south. And I did get Brian Price as my new roommate. I served with Brian on my mission. But neither of those two events had anything to do with my dramatic life change.

The change started when Bishop Durant was released and Bishop William Swinyard was called. With a new bishop came a new bishopric. The transition from Winter semester to Spring/Summer term brings a new, smaller ward. Combine a new bishop with a new ward and you get massive changes. This is how it all started.

As I mentioned, I did my best to remain an unknown in my previous singles ward. And I was quite successful at it. But that ended the second week Bishop Swinyard appeared on the scene. I was asked to meet with him after church and I assumed it would be one of the get-to-know you interviews. Those are relatively painless, so I was unalarmed.

Well, after a few minutes of chit-chat, he called me to be his Executive Secretary. What!!!! He had no clue who I was and that such a calling was antithetical to my divine mission to stay anonymous. Now I would be attending ward leadership meetings and, worst of all, I had to talk to people, even use the phone.

You got to be kidding!!!

Then he raised the stakes. He said that I represented the bishop for the ward members because I lived in the boundaries and he did not. I asked him what that meant. He said that is was essential that I attend ALL ward activities. That included socials, FHE, and anything else that may constitute an activity.

You got to be kidding!!!!

My wonderful life just collapsed. Of course, I could have said no. But I had been taught not to reject a calling. So I was stuck. I accepted the calling and now I was an integral part of the ward.

I have often wondered how Bishop Swinyard came up with the idea to call me. Sure, there is inspiration and I believe in that. But I think my roommate, Steve Murphy, had a hand in this. He was the Ward Clerk and he kept that calling during the transition. I think he told Bishop Swinyard to call me to this position. I can’t prove this. But it does make sense.

What happened after this will be the subject of many posts to come.

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