Shouldn’t a Latter-day Saint orient his vocation more to the field of public service?
March 1971

“Shouldn’t a Latter-day Saint orient his vocation more to the field of public service?” New Era, Mar. 1971, 39

Because we believe in the principle of service, shouldn’t a Latter-day Saint orient his vocation more to the field of public service?

Answer/Elder Marion D. Hanks

Faithful members of the Church should try to govern all aspects and facets of their lives in accordance with gospel principles, and all of their major decisions should be made with reference to those principles. This would also be true with respect to their choice of a vocation. We should not select a vocation that would involve goods or services clearly in violation of those principles; we should choose a vocation consistent with those principles.

Within the framework of principles, however, there are many possibilities for the expression of preference. One should select his vocation on that basis. Preference should involve not only what one thinks he would like to do, but that which by disposition, talent, preparation, and qualification he is likely to do successfully.

Not every person is particularly disposed toward or especially suited to those occupations usually thought of as public service. Teachers, medical people, lawyers, merchants, civic workers, and many others offer services that are obviously indispensable; but in our interrelated, interdependent society, countless other vocational and professional pursuits are equally, if not so obviously, indispensable. The researcher who perfects the vaccine and the physician who diagnoses its need and administers it are both vital contributors, and so are the technicians, distributors, salesmen, and others involved.

Any honest work involving goods or services consistent with principles of decency and integrity would seem to be acceptable for a member of the Church. Much help is presently available in determining our individual capacities and predilections with respect to various types of vocations. Multitudes of diverse employment opportunities exist; new ones are constantly coming into existence, and excellent preparation and training opportunities are available. One seeking help in selecting a vocation would be wise to make use of testing and counseling services, seek advice from persons of experience and wisdom, and invoke the help of the Lord in choosing and confirming a course to follow.

Good preparation, ambition, determination to give one’s best, and good hard work will then lead to success in the undertaking one chooses.

Within the framework of gospel principles, selection of a vocation would seem to be a matter of individual disposition, inherent capacity, and preference.

  • Assistant to the Council of the Twelve