Mormon Beliefs: Serving in the Kingdom
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes erroneously called the Mormon Church, has a lay clergy. Nearly every member of the LDS Church has a "calling," or service assignment in the Church at any given time, and some members have more than one calling during some periods of their lives, especially those who worship in small congregations. Mormons' church service includes Home Teaching, Visiting Teaching, serving in or providing leadership for, one of the auxiliaries in the Church — Relief Society, Young Men and Young Women's organizations, or the Primary organization for children. Priesthood quorums, scouting, organizing activities, providing music (conductors, pianists, organists, and choirs), and even building maintenance are provided within volunteer callings. Teachers are required in Sunday School and all the auxiliaries. The congregational leadership, and then leaders of stakes (a collection of congregations) and areas of stakes are all positions filled by lay clergy issued calls from authorities above them. All are called by revelation to those in responsible positions of higher leadership. People are set apart for their callings by the laying on of hands. Mormons are known for their volunteerism, and this does not end within the meetinghouse walls. Welfare projects, humanitarian aid, and community service, then multi-year Mormon missionary service for young and old alike extend service opportunities. Mormon temples also function through Mormons' church service.
These service opportunities bless the lives of the members who are called to these positions, many of which are outside their comfort zone and require the help of the Lord to fulfill. In 2011 a returned Mormon missionary won a Washington, D.C., contest for his ability to speak Chinese, a skill developed while he served a Mormon mission.  2011 U.S. presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, Jr. credit their missions for their leadership skills.
The following is an account of a journey of service for a Mormon woman of Malaysia.
Chris' Service in the LDS Church
I was baptized in the year 1998. Three months after my baptism I was extended a call to be the primary teacher for the CTR class. I remember right after sacrament meeting I was handed a primary manual and brought in to the class to start teaching right away. I had never been a teacher before, and I just didn't know how to teach. As I entered into the classroom, I could only see 3 boys in my class and 2 are my own sons, then aged three and four, together with a six year old boy. The mother of the boy walked up to me and told me that her son was hyper-active and he could not sit still in class. She hoped I could train him. As a young mother then myself and new to the Church, I really had no idea how to teach, and I thought it was a big challenge for me to take care a hyper-active child at the same time.
As we sat down together and started to get to get to know each other, I found that this little boy was actually very smart. He was born in the Church, so he had been attending primary since he was very young, and he actually helped me teach the lessons and assist with singing primary songs with my kids. We ended up having so much fun, and from that point the class and I looked forward to going to primary every Sunday to learn together.
Three months later, I was called into the Primary Presidency where I got to interact with more older children. This overall experience helped me to be a better mother to take care my kids as they grew older.
Two years passed and the Lord knew what was best for me next. I was called into the Young Women Presidency. I loved the young women; they became like my own daughters, even though I didn't have one myself. Their sweet spirit really inspired me to continue to teach them, and especially every Sunday when we recited the Young Women theme:
- We will stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things , and in all places.
I was grateful that I could stand in a holy chapel to teach these girls the importance of the seven values of the Young Women and prepare them to be morally clean so they could one day be married in the temple.
Five years passed, and it was time for me to move on again. This time my calling was rather challenging. I was called into the Relief Society Presidency. With that call I can sum up my feelings in four words : fear, faith, humility and peace. Fear set in as I realized that I would be responsible to take care all these more senior sisters who had joined the Church long before I did. At that time I was the 2nd youngest in my class, and their testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ were so strong . I remember when my branch president interviewed me for this calling, I kind of rejected the call because I felt that I wasn't qualified to be their leader. But my Branch President told me, “Have Faith and the Lord will help you." It is very true. It is not the age or how long you were in the Church that matters...it is how you serve and love them, and I needed to be reminded that all things are possible with the Lord. I needed to have the kind of faith spoken of in one of the scriptures that primary children love to sing so often, found in 1 Nephi 3 :7:
- I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the things which he commended them.
Since that day and for the past six years, I have been in this calling serving these sisters, truly appreciating all the things have learned from from the Lord and the sisters, especially when we know that we are beloved spirit daughters of God and our lives have meaning, purpose and direction.
Isn’t it wonderful that Heavenly Father loves us so much that He calls us to serve in ways which give us opportunities to replace fear with faith and to grow spiritually? Jesus said, “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (Doctrine and Covenants 6:36). That is faith. All of us have to learn to turn our fear into faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some may think people are called to a position in the Church, because they have perfected talents and abilities that suit them for the calling. I am learning that perhaps we are sometimes called because we need to develop specific talents and attributes. The Lord knows us, and He knows which callings or opportunities will help us grow to spiritual maturity.
Everything we do in our callings — teaching, loving, enduring, serving — we do better when we seek and receive the guidance of the Spirit. And in the process we grow spiritually. A call to serve is an invitation from Heavenly Father for greater spiritual growth. It is a call to overcome fear with faith and to learn greater humility as we accept the Lord’s will. The call can bring the peace and joy of eternal progression. It is an opportunity to be part of the miracle and wonder of this great cause and kingdom that is sweeping over the earth, blessing the lives of people wherever it reaches.
As we learn the eternal plan and feel the love of Heavenly Father and the Savior, we will love and teach those we are called to serve with great power and influence through the Holy Spirit.
President Gordon B. Hinckley stated, and I quote:
- “Whenever you are called upon to serve may I urge you to respond, and as you do so your faith will strengthen and increase. … If you accept every opportunity, if you accept every calling, the Lord will make it possible for you to perform it. The Church will not ask you to do anything which you cannot do with the help of the Lord. God bless you to do everything that you are called upon to do.”
I am always grateful for the opportunities I get to serve my Heavenly Father in all the callings that have been extended to me for the past thirteen years. And with the new calling extended to me recently into the District Relief Society Presidency, I am indeed grateful for this opportunity, because I know I can gain more knowledge and wisdom as I serve my Heavenly Father.
During my recent training by Sister Clark our the wife of our dear mission president, she reminded me that “ A calling should be fun”. She’s right, when we serve happily with a joyful heart , things can be fun, and we’re happier and looking forward to have fun as we gather together. We know that we don't get paid to serve; even our living prophet will never consider his position "paid" in worldly terms. We don’t receive pay check every month for serving in the church. Instead we get blessings that we can count one by one every day. Those who do not have a calling should talk to their branch president or bishop. I’m sure he will be happy to pray and extend a calling for them.
Back to the primary boy that I mentioned earlier, I’m happy for him, because recently he received his mission call and very soon he will be away for two years to serve the Lord. In less than two years time, my own boys will going on a mission one after another. I love the Mormon missionaries because without them giving their two precious years to serve the Lord, and coming in a small city that can hardly be seen on a world map, called Ipoh, I would not have the opportunity to write this message. Members of the LDS Church are truly blessed to have that opportunity to be called and to serve a mission.
As for all the Young Women that I’ve taught, most of them are happily married in the temple and have families of their own. I’m so proud of them because they listened and followed the counsel that they learned in their youth. And as for all the sisters in Relief Society, they've taught me a so much and have supported me in so many ways.
May the Lord continue to blesses us as we help to build up His kingdom as we serve. Trust in the Lord's timetable and blessings will come when we serve him faithfully. Then the day will come when the Lord will say “ Well Done, Thou Good and Faithful Servant."
- Chris Liew, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia