Statements such as “We would like to release the follow people . . .” or “I was released” may seem confusing to a casual listener, but to a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the action of being “released” is well known, even expected. With every call to serve in the Church comes a day when the person called will be released. Merriam-Webster defines the word ‘’release’’ as “to set free from restraint, confinement, or servitude.” A member of the Church who is released from his or her calling is set free from serving in that specific calling.
A release from a calling usually comes with feelings of sadness to no longer shoulder that responsibility because it has become a treasured experience that brought blessings of understanding, personal growth, and deeper love and friendship with the persons served or served with. Feelings of gratitude are also felt—gratitude for the opportunity, joy, growth, and sometimes, gratitude to let someone else step into the blessings and challenges of shouldering the calling.
During the span of a lifetime, a member of the Church accepts many callings and releases. Elder Edward Dube of the Seventy said, “The Lord through His servants calls us to serve in various callings, which we accept with total commitment. When a release has been extended and a call in a different assignment has been issued, we joyfully accept it, knowing, as our forebearers knew, that ‘in the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve but how.’”