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.
Bishop Gardner was replaced by Forrest Kelsey. The Kelsey’s had been in the ward for a few years before. In fact, they were in the 12th ward when they first moved into their house. Once there house belonged to our ward and to your former Stake President, Larry Perkins.
We had taken the Kelsey’s with us once to Grover and had a fairly good relationship with their family. We did hit some road bumps over the years over an issue with their son and John Gillespie. Then there was the whole Heiss Death Float. They were none too pleased with how that turned out. I felt each issue was resolved. Yet for some reason I never felt a kinship with Bishop Kelsey.
Immediately after I was released, I was called to the High Council. I was assigned to represent the Stake in our ward. This meant was to attend the leadership meetings I had attend as a member of the bishopric.
As the whole ward leadership was the same as it was when I was in the bishopric. So this meant they were used to turning to me for solutions and\or suggestions. Well, I could see that was going to pose a problem. As soon as possible, I requested a different assignment on the High Council. I didn't want to create an atmosphere of competition.
For most of Bishop Kelsey’s time as bishop I was assigned outside the ward so there never was a chance or a need to create a close relationship. He had many other concerns and I had things to attend to in my calling so I feel we established a silent truce.