Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bishop Tom Elder: The Activist

Bishop Kelsey served his five years and was replaced by Tom Elder. Unique is the best way to describe Tom. Tom and his family came into the ward the same way the Kelsey’s did – through a small boundary adjustment.

Before the boundaries were reorganized, Tom’s parents moved into the ward. The house belonged to Norma Humphries when we first moved into this ward. The odd thing about our ward is you are identified by the former occupants of the home where you live. For example, we moved into the Stanton’s home. Which meant that when we introduce you for the first while we had to tell people we live in the Stanton’s home? It just makes things easier.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bishop Forrest Kelsey: A Truce

Bishop Gardner stayed in his calling for five years and kept me and Jim Graham as his counselors for the whole time he served. This is not rare, but typically bishops change at least one counselor during their time. Because he didn't make any such changes, we were all deeply invested into the ward and its people.

That has a positive and slightly negative aspect. The positive is that leadership is most effective in this church when the leaders establish strong personal relationships. The negative is that when the calling comes to an end, those relationships, which had a lot to do with the calling, suddenly, and quite eerily, change.

When I had a time to think about the transition, it was as if my head, once filled with the voices of all the ward members, went suddenly silent. It is a hard thing to experience. It is quite lonely and you feel as if you will never be a contributor to the cause again.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sustaining Church Leaders: A Conundrum

I want to pause in my posts about the bishops in my life to focus on a more sensitive subject.

I realize this blog is to be historical and that it is not intended to be a forum for ideas. But I believe that the stories we share should provide the listener, or reader in this case, a glimpse into our souls. We need to share stories so that others come to know us better. In that process, we come to know ourselves better as well.

I use this as a prelude to a post about my interpretation of what it means to sustain church leaders. As I mentioned above, this is a sensitive topic because there is no real training for LDS people on what it means to sustain a leader. Likewise, there is no training for church leaders on how to be sustainable. What complicates this issue is that one of the covenants made in the temple is that we will not speak ill of those called to lead us.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bishop Richard Gardner: A Friend and Mentor

I remember the day that Bishop Carroll was notified of his release. I was sitting outside his office in my capacity of Executive Secretary, as he was interviewing his daughter, Mandy. When he was done, I went into his office to see who was next and he had a glazed look on his face. I asked him what was wrong and he said that the Stake President just called him to extend his release.

I am now quite familiar with the range of emotions that hit Bishop Carroll upon learning of his release. It is, as he said, a bitter sweet experience. But mostly bitter.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bishop Ron Carroll: Compassionate Incarnate

Apparently, Bishop Dowling had a deal with President Perkins that once his son, Chris; left on his mission he would be released. Not long after we arrived in the Northridge 2nd ward, young Chris Dowling had his Farwell. At the end of that Sacrament meeting, Bishop stood and announced that he would be released the following Sunday.

I know that President Perkins was fully aware of this. President Perkins knew how to run a stake. But the ward was quite stunned that Bishop Dowling would announce his own release. But that was Bishop Downing for you. The question the ward had for the next week was who would replace Bishop Dowling. Who could?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bishop Chris Dowling: Redefining the Role of Bishop

We left our little corner of Zion in the Chapel Hill ward to return back to the west after eight years. Brad Kramer and Mike Tullis left a year or so ahead of us to go work for WordPerfect in Orem, UT. They opened the way for me to get hired on.

For me this as a complete career change. I was working at Duke University as a programmer and IT specialist. The job at Word Perfect was for a Technical Writer. They wanted me because I had eight years’ experience as a user and that was quite rare in the technical writing world.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bishop Richard Rust: Taming the Hill

When Bishop Scholes was released, Richard D. Rust was called in his place. Both men were entirely different and Bishop Rust had a huge task ahead of him.

In our stake, the Chapel Hill ward had a reputation of being a maverick. Our ward was the anchor of the stake and we staffed many of its positions. But the Stake President, Pete Bennett, was suspicious of our ward. I am not exactly sure why.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Bishop Joseph Scholes: Coming to Zion

In April, 1985 I graduated from BYU. I had a degree in History and was itching to get to graduate school and pursue a PhD. After many twists and turns along the way, I was accepted to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It took a while to get all the move plans set, but in the summer of 1985 we hopped in our nine passenger Chevy Impala station wagon, which we bought for $500, and made our way east.

A nine passenger station wagon with Andrew, Karen, and me. We did have the car packed full with the stuff we felt we needed for that long trip is a young baby. Everything else we owned was in part of a larger truck that was slowly making its way to Chapel Hill. We had to get there before the truck and find a place or we would have to pay extra.