So now I can also mention the other thing that’s gotten me thinking. I was called to be the Ward Mission Leader in my church. Now, for those of you who aren’t Mormon, this no doubt requires a bit of explanation. I’ll try to keep it as brief as possible. But in case this kind of stuff bores you, I’ll put it behind the jump. ‘Cause I’m nice like that.

First of all, Mormons don’t have a paid clergy. Members of the local congregation volunteer to fill in all the different roles necessary. (A local congregation in Mormon-ese is called a Ward. Why? I have no idea.) And remember how I said we volunteered? I lied. It’s not like you can look at a list of available “jobs” and pick the one you like the most. No–we’re asked by the local leader (called a Bishop, because Mormons love chess (not really–or rather, we can love chess, but that’s not why a Bishop is called a Bishop. Why is a Cardinal a Cardinal? Because they like birds? Again–I have no idea.))

Where was I? Oh yeah–the Bishop asks us to fill a certain role for an undetermined amount of time. (And yes, by the way, the Bishop is also appointed to his role on a volunteer, temporary basis.) We call this process “getting a calling,” in large part because we believe that these “jobs” come by god-given inspiration. So we’re “called” to do this that or the other.

Have I lost you yet? If you’re Mormon, you’ve no doubt given up on this post, since it’s stuff you’re already really familiar with. But if you’re not Mormon, you might well be lost by now. And have given up, because maybe you don’t care.

But assuming you do care, I’ll continue. So my calling is Ward Mission Leader. You’ve no doubt noticed that Mormons have a penchant for sending out young men and women to go talk to people about our religion. We call these people missionaries, and they too are called to a specific area of the world, termed a mission. The local Mormons are expected to help these missionaries as much as possible. The Ward Mission Leader coordinates this help.

See? That was easy.

Now, maybe this is freaking some of you out. “Oh noes! Bryce is now going to give out my name, address and favorite color to the missionaries, and I’ll never hear the end of it.” Let not thy heart be troubled. I need to explain a bit about my take on missionary work. Maybe you don’t care. Maybe you do. Here it is:

I’m a Mormon because I personally believe it to be true. I’ve been in contact with other religions, I’ve thought about this matter a lot, I’ve prayed about it, and I’m convinced. I came to this conclusion on my own. I didn’t need to have other people tell me I should do this or that. Yes, I was born into the church, but just because I grew up Mormon doesn’t mean I’d stay that way. My mom loves Barry Mannilow and Barbara Streisand. I don’t. Case closed.

So since I came to this faith because of the persuasive nature of the religion itself, I firmly believe other people can and should do the same. In other words, they shouldn’t have religion jammed down their throats. I’d love to tell people more about what I believe, let them study it on their own and make their own mind up. If they don’t want to study it right now, fine. If they do study it and think I’m wrong, that’s up to them.

Long story short (too late): I look at my new role as trying to help people who are interested in finding out more find out more, and ensuring that those who are interested feel as welcome and well-informed as possible. I don’t want to trick you into becoming Mormon.

And that’s all I have to say about that for now.

And just so this isn’t just a “Mormon” post, I’ll also say that I loved Iron Man. Fantastic super hero movie. I also had my name day over the weekend (a Slovak tradition that I have gladly followed since marrying my wife). I got a block of bass wood in the outline of a duck–I want to take up whittling. Very exciting. And that’s all I have time for right now.

5 thoughts on “Updates”

  1. Being a Ward Mission Leader is a great calling. I was called to it once for a whole twenty minutes. Just long enough so that the bishopric could figure out during sacrament that they really meant to call my twin to the position.
    It was the best and shortest calling I’ve ever had.
    But jst so you know, Sunday School is where all the cool callings are.

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