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» Nauvoo Forum » Nauvoo Classic Forum » Mormon Life » When you can't do your calling because others won't support you?

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Author Topic: When you can't do your calling because others won't support you?
Jen
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I am ward historian. My calling is really only a once-a-year thing. I'm supposed to gather a yearly report and optional pictures from each auxiliary or quorum, compile a total history for the year, and submit it to our clerk to send to Salt Lake.

I started asking for these write-ups in October. It came up in ward counsel in November. I have asked again and again. It's been in the bulletin. The clerk has asked. My husband and I have both announced the need and deadline in our meetings.

I was supposed to have it in by January 15. As of today, I have reports from the YW and the RS (surprise, surprise). Nothing from the Priesthood at all. Nothing from the Primary.

I can't drag it out of them, but the clerk is breathing down my neck to get it done. It's very frustrating.

I wish someone would school the church membership on what "sustain" means. It doesn't mean approve. It doesn't mean okay. To sustain is to provide what one needs. When we agree to sustain someone in their calling, we agree to do what we reasonably can to help them magnify it. But the fact is, much of what keeps people from being successful in their callings is other people. The very ones that raised their arms to the square when asked to sustain. [Wall Bash]

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Curelom
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Our ward historian has the same issues. I wonder if it is Churchwide. It's announced well in advance, maybe early November, in all meetings. The historian personally gives each leader a request on paper or e-mail.

If people don't submit it on time, the ward historian could write, in the overall ward history, something like "This history has been compiled to the best of our ability. We thank [list leaders, quorums & auxiliaries that responded]. We regret that we cannot provide histories for [list] because they had not been received by the due date."

Maybe after a year or two of that, stake leaders will find other ways of beating it out of people. [Big laugh]

[ February 06, 2012, 10:27 PM: Message edited by: Curelom ]

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Jen
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That's a good idea, Curelom. Thanks. I did email the clerk tonight and offered to give him what little I have. I wasn't sure how to account for the rest.
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Curelom
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It doesn't need to be snarky or negative. But it isn't your fault if people don't complete their assignments & you shouldn't have to appear accountable when you've done all you could.
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Pink Floyd
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Our ward historian went around to each auxiliary leaders home in December, sat down with them for 30 minutes, interviewed them for details and wrote it up for them.

We gave the historian 30 minutes in one of our bishopric meetings and together with my counselors clerks came up with the information on weddings, funerals and the big storm clean up.

Since the person we called as historian likes to write, it worked out for all of us.

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FlyByNight
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Didn't know the church had historians at the ward level. Apparently the historians in the hinterlands go their job without general announcements. (Or we don't have one).
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FlyByNight
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Oh, and I agree about a lesson on the word sustain.
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nitasmile
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I think you must have one of the hardest callings. A couple months ago, our ward historian talked to me in the parking lot. She is a wonderful sister who I respect. On this day, she was in tears due to the historian calling- she had been asked to put together a scrapbook for the 2 decades + that our ward has existed. She was totally overwhelmed with the scope of this task and found it difficult.

Plus in her situation, she has some challenges that make going to church hard, so she dosen't feel as in the loop as she'd like for this. I was encouraging her to ask for help, to let each auxilliary do their own scrapbook if that is what they want. Also we have several in the ward who scrapbook who could do this.

She felt leaders gave her encouragement but her own challenges (emotional) made what might seem easy to others very scary to her. Thus the tears in the parking lot.

She did go talk to the bishop- I think she may have gotten an assistant or released but not sure.

Thanks for the reminder to me to check w/her and see how she is doing.

[Group Hug]

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cook
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Perhaps it also is a matter of making the calling too big. Like a scrapbook for two decades? Who does that serve? We once had a "real historian". She always asked immediately after or before an event someone to write a short story about it and take some photoes. It wasn't usually anyone responsible for the event but someone participating. I think it worked very well. She never went aroung to ask for anything at the end of the year because she already had plenty of stuff. Since then the calling has been combined with another one, for which I don't know the right title. We have had a "newsletter" come out every month. Mainly via email, but also a few printed copies. It has included a message from the bishopric, event dates, lesson schedule and a few writings by members about events they've attended or messages from other auxiliary leaders or introductions of new members. And the 12 of those have been the ward history. (I'll be actually getting the calling today, was released as RS pres last Sunday). What I'm saying does it have to be so big?

I was responsible compiling the history for the building etc of our temple here. I can see that being such an important thing that requires a lot work and details. But for a regular ward history... I mean does it really matter that much to stress about it?

As being a RS pres, I wouldn't be too excited about someone asking me to write and add pictures (which most likely haven't been taken) about the year in RS. It would feel like a huge work at a time which is the busiest of the year in every regard. I can see whuy it don't get done, though I would have done - and in time too.

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Jen
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I can see that it would get too big if one let it. All I asked for was a couple of paragraphs about significant things that they'd done during the year. I made it clear that they could make it as long or as short as they wanted, and could add pictures if they wanted to but I already have a CD of them (a bishopric member likes to compile those). I got about a page from YW, and a couple of paragraphs from the RS. I don't think it's asking a lot.
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soleil
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Either we don't have a ward historian, or the job defaults to the ward clerk, because he was the one who asked me, the RS secretary, to write up the Relief Society's part of the ward history.
It wasn't his fault, but he asked at the worst possible time....my first reaction was [Roll Eyes] [Roll Eyes] [Roll Eyes] NOW what do they want me to do????
BUT - he attached the previous two years' histories, so I knew what he was looking for (one paragraph, naming the new RS presidency and stating the types of activities and projects we'd organized.) Since I knew what he wanted, it took less than 10 minutes for me to copy the same format with the new information and send it back.
They may not know what they're supposed to do - maybe you could send out a generic fill-in-the-blanks type of thing?
I think one of the reasons they may not know what they're supposed to produce is that nobody ever sees the finished product. And for that reason, I'm sorry, but I just have to say that expecting somebody to pour hours into making a 20-year-retroactive ward scrapbook is utterly ridiculous.

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Annie
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quote:
I think one of the reasons they may not know what they're supposed to produce is that nobody ever sees the finished product.
That is a valid point. Our latest ward historian after several years of frustration, has printed out (with bishop approval) several extra copies of the finished history and made them available for the members to read. It has been very interesting and rewarding for those who chose to read it. (The bishop has also had her speak in Sacrament Meeting about the Ward History.)

In addition to the general ward info and auxiliary reports, she has asked different families who have had some tough challenges, do a write up, expressing their faith and the mercies of the Lord.

For instance there are stories and testimonies from a family who lost their father, another who had their home burn down, and a man who had been out of work for two years and finally got employment.

Also she has included writeups of the returning missionaries with some personal growth experiences.

Again, because the previous years histories have been available for the ward members to read, people have evidently become more inclined to provide her with information and pictures.

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weeds
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A suggestion: Our ward historian sends out a monthly e-mail asking for the last month's events. Much easier to chew in 12 bites then one so you may get more response.
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V.
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We did scrapbook pages for RS last year. I couldn't attend the Thursday meetings as I have an outside activity each week. However, I do have the supplies so my dd and I did ours here at home. We had a general direction to take and did it in our own style. It was fun to work with my daughter and we got to see the other pages as well. Testimonies were part of the plan so it was neat to read those. V.
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V.
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I also agree with Weeds. 12 bites vs. one big bite would make their job and yours much easier. V.
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Jen
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Great ideas. I'm the first historian they've called (the clerk has usually done it), I've had zero direction, I have another calling, and twin babies plus 3 other little kids. I wish I'd posted about this months ago so that I wouldn't have wasted so much time and energy on this.
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rayb
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When I lived in Italy, we didn't have enough people to have all the callings. It was tough because there was a lot of stuff that didn't get done. Still they had a lot of faith, and I was always impressed with their dedication.
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Sweet William
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quote:
A suggestion: Our ward historian sends out a monthly e-mail asking for the last month's events. Much easier to chew in 12 bites then one so you may get more response.
This is what ours does. It has worked out well for my little corner of the ward. I need to start having the Teacher's quorum secretary do it, though.
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TheOne
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quote:
That happened to me as ward clerk a few years back. I was closing out the year (budget and expense reports, tithing settlement, charitable donations tax forms for all the members, preparing for an audit) when the request came.
Been exactly in that same position. With everything going on and little information and guidance on the process I know I didn't get it done but no one came after me ... yet [Smile] .
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trooperswife
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I don't know, I think that monthly is a bit much. It comes out to a lot of information per ward per year.

We have had almost identical experiences in our ward. I was the only one who had our history in on time...I think it was because I had done it last year and knew what they were looking for. Mine was a page long and had 3-4 pictures. Took me about 30 mins to put together.

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scruffydog
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Why did I immediately assume from the title of the thread that this was about home teaching and Elders' Quorum?
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jlm
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Jen, I hope you don't get offended, but IMHO ward historian is kind of a joke calling. I mean, does anybody REALLY care about what happened at the ward halloween party 20 years ago?

Church wards are no longer the centers of community they used to be. They just happen to be where and when you are assigned to go to church. We have become so transient as a population, and so focused on the family that the cultural significance of "the ward family" is merely a shadow of what it once was. And I may get a lot of flak for this, but I actually think that that is a good thing.

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Jen
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Well, I kind of did get the feeling that they gave me the calling "just" to give me a way to contribute while my twins are babies. But I think that's important. I also had a sweet setting apart which mentioned the importance of returning and reporting. (This also applied to my other calling, which I was set apart for in the same blessing). Maybe no one will ever want to know what our ward did in 2011, maybe they will. But record keeping is a big part of the Lord's church, and we don't really know what those records might be needed for down the line.

I'm not offended, though. Ironically, one of the bishop's counselors came over last night to issue me another calling entirely, and said I'd be released from the other two. I still have to finish what's in progress, but after that, I'm done. He did say to just submit what I have, and that the job is going back to the clerks. They've always done it, anyway.

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yungmom
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OK, never having heard of this calling even though I live in Utah jlm's comment has me curious. What do the directions say about taking a history? Do they specifically want to know about the parties? If not maybe the history should be along the lines of how the ward is doing. What plans were in place to help needs. How those plans worked.

Or maybe I'm just wondering that because the struggles in my own calling on the RS meeting committee. Everyone wants to plan things so that people will come because you must not be fully active in the church if you don't come to the activities. My thinking is we ought to discover the needs of the sisters and plan things to help those sisters and they will come if this is a need in their lives.

So wouldn't it be cool if a ward really looked into the needs of a ward, planned how to take care of them in unity and sent that in for the history. Then if someone is reading over them they could share ideas through conference, church magazines or on the websites.

[ February 08, 2012, 02:00 PM: Message edited by: yungmom ]

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Jen
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yungmom, I think you're on the right track. As I understand it, it's supposed to be more an account of what the ward is working on and accomplishing, than telling about the ice cream social or talent show (though I don't think those things are bad to include, either).

Personally, I'd love to read something about what my great-grandparents' ward did in that time. They emigrated here to be with the Saints. It would be cool to read about what that aspect of life was like.

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yungmom
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And it could be so much easier to access now with computers then it would have been just a few years ago.
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trooperswife
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quote:
What do the directions say about taking a history? Do they specifically want to know about the parties?
Our direction was to specifically send stories that were strengthening and inspirational.

I did add the young women who earned their recognition awards, because I thought that was an important thing to note.

I talked a lot about the 2 special needs girls we have in our program, and what the other girls had done to make them feel loved and welcome and the fruits of that.

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jlm
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The kind of ward history I would be interested in reading would be what was discussed and planned out in bishopric, EQ and ward council meetings. Minutes of the meeting would be indexed by topic, e.g. scouting fundraisers, improving HT/VT effectiveness, what to do with the whacko who keeps hogging the mic during F&T meetings, etc. That way, if I were in a leadership position, I could check the history and see what was done previously and how effective is was.

Alas, such useful data is either a) not recorded or b) considered confidential. Oh well, so much for learning from other's mistakes.

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