The Duty, the Challenge, the Quorum

“The Duty, the Challenge, the Quorum,” New Era, June 1977, 44

Special Issue:

The Duty, the Challenge, the Quorum

The room was cluttered. There were papers on the floor and the chairs were tipped over. When Kevin entered, he switched on the light and noticed some chalk marks on the chalkboard, but he didn’t read them.

“I wonder what there is I can do that will be of any help?” he thought. He sat down in the corner of the meetinghouse classroom and stared at the chalkboard again. “Your Quorum—Your Responsibility.” Wow! Was that ever pertinent to his new calling. Kevin chuckled to himself. “Somebody must have known I would come in here after I talked to the bishop.” Being called as the teachers quorum president in the Third Ward was no pat, easy assignment, especially since the bishop said to him as he left the office, “You were called by the Lord, Kevin. Now go and strengthen your quorum so that there is no weak link.”

Kevin stood up and crossed to the windows where he got a clear view of the church parking lot. “There’s Steve’s house on the other side of the parking lot … he’s inactive. That reminds me of Jim and Mark who come to priesthood meeting only when their dad is home from work. And Lee who lives right across the street from me thinks activity night means basketball and won’t come if we suggest anything else.

“They’re a great quorum, though. There’s Bill. If he’s ever given anything to do, he’ll do it twice and ask for more. And George—he’s the best example of organization I’ve ever met. My head feels just like that parking lot on conference Sunday—packed with jam-ups. How can I do anything about anything? How can I strengthen that quorum?”

These feelings of a newly called teachers quorum president tumbled out of his mind as he thought of his new calling. His feelings are probably duplicated over and over throughout the Church even if the situation is different in every case.

Perhaps some of the following suggestions given by the Aaronic Priesthood general committee, using quotations from General Authorities, can guide and encourage quorum presidencies and members as they ponder their responsibilities in that very fundamental unit of the Church—the quorum.

Strengthening Your Priesthood Quorum

“The vitalizing of Aaronic Priesthood quorums and the awakening of the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums will affirmatively affect all other programs in the Church.” (President Spencer W. Kimball, June Conference, 1974.)

“You are a member of the appropriate quorum, and by your actions you either sustain or degrade it.

“The quorum will be as strong as the individual member. We all have the obligation and responsibility to honor our priesthood, to be worthy citizens of the priesthood quorum.” (Elder Boyd K. Packer, Seminar for Regional Representatives of the Twelve, Oct. 4, 1973.)

What Can You Do as a Quorum Member to Strengthen Your Quorum?

1. Participate in fellowshipping.

As a member of a priesthood quorum you have the responsibility to be mindful of your fellow quorum members, especially those who are inactive, new converts, or new members of the quorum.

An assistant to the president of the priests quorum said this:

“In our quorum of 16 priests, we no longer have inactive members. One of the reasons, I think, is because we would pick them up to help us in all of our service projects and activities. Working together like that helped us to understand each other better. We have a great quorum.”

2. Actively participate in quorum activities.

Your quorum presidency is responsible for planning and carrying out a quorum program of activities. You can sustain your quorum leaders and strengthen your quorum by—

  1. Attending the activities that are planned, even if one of them may not interest you.

  2. Giving the quorum presidency your suggestions for future activities.

  3. Accepting and fulfilling activity assignments from the quorum presidency.

3. Worthily and reverently perform ordinances and duties.

“It is so important that you keep yourselves clean and pure and not participate in any vulgar or unclean or unholy practices. As you go to your Sunday School and sacrament meetings and are permitted to pass the sacrament in memory of the great sacrifice that the Savior made for us, be sure that you are worthy, that your hands are clean and your hearts are pure, that you have done nothing during the week that would make you unworthy.

“As I attended a sacrament meeting the other day, I was so pleased to see those who administered and passed the sacrament wearing white shirts and ties, well groomed and clean; and during the whole service they were reverent.” (N. Eldon Tanner, Ensign, May 1976, p. 76.)

What Can You Do as a Quorum Presidency to Strengthen Your Quorum?

1. Plan a balanced quorum program.

The overall purpose of quorum activities is to strengthen individual young men in character and in testimony. President Spencer W. Kimball gave the following challenge in a priesthood session of general conference:

“We are concerned, brethren, with our need to provide continually significant opportunities for our young men to stretch their souls in service. Young men do not usually become inactive in the Church because they are given too many significant things to do. No young man who has really witnessed for himself that the gospel works will walk away from his duties in the kingdom and leave them undone. As our young men learn quorum management, they are not only blessing the Aaronic Priesthood youth in those quorums, but they are preparing themselves as future fathers and future leaders for the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums. They need some experience in leadership, some experience in service projects, some experience in speaking, some experience in conducting meetings, and some experience in how to build proper relationships with young women.

“We are rearing a royal generation … who have special things to do. We need to provide them with special experiences in studying scriptures, in serving their neighbors, and in being contributing and loving members of their families. All of this requires, of course, time for planning and time to implement.” (Ensign, May 1976, p. 45.)

In developing your quorum program remember these simple guidelines:

  1. Let your quorum adviser help you.

  2. Hold quorum presidency meetings. This would be a weekly meeting.

  3. Develop a three-month activity calendar in your quorum presidency meeting.

  4. Plan activities that—

    1. Allow the quorum members to fulfill their priesthood responsibilities.

    2. Are specifically tailored to the interests of quorum members.

    3. Provide a variety of experiences for quorum members.

  5. Let the entire quorum, your quorum adviser, and the member of the bishopric look at your calendar to make suggestions.

  6. Check your plans against other calendars (ward, school, community, etc.).

  7. Follow through on making plans for your first activity.

2. Focus on the individual quorum member.

“We need to keep our attention centered on the individual and how he can best be reached. It isn’t enough to look at the quorum in its entirety, … we must look to the individual and recognize that we have a responsibility to help him magnify his calling. I become concerned when I remember what President John Taylor said: ‘If we fail to magnify our calling God will hold us responsible for those whom we might have saved had we done our duty.’” (Thomas S. Monson, Regional Representatives Seminar, Oct. 4, 1973.)

An assistant to the president of the priests quorum tells this story: “Our priests quorum has 18 members. We make a point of remembering birthdays and school achievements and things like that of all our quorum members—especially the few that are inactive. We even visit their homes on these special occasions. It’s made a big difference in their attitude. They know we care about them.”

Then, a deacons quorum president said this: “My counselors and I contacted one of the guys in our deacons quorum 19 times before he began to come out. We’ve found that it’s a lot easier to reactivate someone when he knows you like him.”

You can keep centered on individuals by doing such things as the following:

  1. Personally visiting the homes of quorum members.

  2. Assigning quorum members to fellowship specific individuals.

  3. Planning quorum activities around the needs and interests of individuals.

  4. Making sure that inactive young men are invited to quorum meetings and activities.

3. Work closely with the quorum adviser.

“The Lord has provided what I believe to be the finest program the world has ever known—a program of bishops and counselors, advisers, teachers, Scoutmasters, leaders, home teachers, coaches—strong men who really care.” (Marion D. Hanks, Ensign, May 1974, p. 77.)

The quorum adviser is a key man in the proper functioning of your quorum. He can help you by—

  1. Meeting with you in your weekly quorum presidency meeting.

  2. Planning with you the agendas for the meetings you conduct (such as quorum presidency meeting, quorum meeting, etc.)

  3. Planning with you your quorum activity calendar.

  4. Making plans with you to fellowship quorum members.

  5. Just being your companion and friend.

Illustrated by Dale Kilbourn