“How can I deal better with my release from a Church calling?” Ensign, Mar. 1991, 63
Bo G. Wennerlund, a temple worker in the Stockholm Sweden Temple and public communications director for Sweden. Being called to serve, in whatever capacity, brings blessings, joy, and greater meaning into our lives. As we magnify a calling, we learn to love those we serve, those with whom we work, and those who preside over us. No wonder we feel sad and perhaps even frustrated when we are released!
So how can we accept a release gracefully without letting our feelings about it become a problem? One thing we may want to do is pray and ask Heavenly Father to help us feel good about the opportunity to serve in another area, and to help us support someone else in the calling from which we have been released. I have found it helpful to run the following ideas through my mind:
“I know that I was called by the Lord, so I realize that my release has also come from the Lord.”
“It has been a privilege for me to serve in this calling, and I am happy for the person who will now receive that privilege.”
“I want to be wherever the Lord wants me to be—and, right now, he has something else in mind for me to do.”
“This release will give me more time to spend with my family, help others I haven’t yet been able to help, share the gospel, do family history or temple work, or develop my talents. I will now strive to be a better spouse, parent, brother, sister, daughter, son, roommate, friend, or neighbor, and a more devoted home teacher or visiting teacher.”
“I will accept whatever calling the Lord and his servants call me to fill in the future. As long as I am serving where the Lord wants me, I will be happy.”
Han In Sang, regional manager for temporal affairs, Seoul, Korea. It is easy for those who do not have a full understanding about Church callings to see a release as a bureaucratic “demotion” or a loss of social status. Members of the Church throughout the world constantly receive new callings and also “callings of release.” In a way, a release from a responsibility in the Church is actually another type of calling.
Church leaders can help members who are being released by conducting a proper release interview and explaining that, in the Lord’s church, a release is really a call to serve the Lord in other areas.
Julio Davila, regional representative, Bogota, Colombia. Our obedience and our faith can be put to the test through callings and releases. I recall that, at one time in my life, I wanted to ask to be released from my calling as branch president. On my way to talk to the district president about it, I stopped at the post office to pick up my mail. Among the mail was the latest issue of the Liahona. As I glanced through it, I saw a short message by President David O. McKay, in which he told how the early leaders and missionaries of the Church suffered for the sake of the gospel. His words touched my heart. I kept my appointment with the district president, but I never mentioned my original reason for asking to meet with him. Instead, I took the opportunity to seek additional counsel concerning my calling.
Years later, the brother who had then been the district president asked me, “Brother Dávila, what did you really want to talk to me about many years ago when you came to my house in Bogota?”
I told him I had come to ask for a release.
With love and a smile, he said, “I knew what you were going to tell me. From the time you called me to make an appointment until you arrived at my house, I was praying that something might happen along the way that would change your mind.”
That experience helped me to know that our leaders are inspired and that we should follow them humbly, willingly accepting the callings and releases they extend to us.
To avoid resenting our release or feeling “lost” after it, we need to carefully cultivate our spiritual roots. As we draw closer to the Lord, we can gain faith that Church callings are extended to us from the Lord, through our leaders. Any calling is an invitation to participate, in a small way, in helping the Lord “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39.) Such an opportunity is a priceless one we can all welcome gratefully.