Callings in the LDS (Mormon) Church Are Voluntary and Unpaid

Individual Mormons Do Everything Paid Clergy in Other Religions Do

Music callings
Among the many callings in a typical Latter-day Saint congregation is conducting and playing sacred hymns . Photo courtesy of © 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a calling is a position or assignment in which members have been asked to serve or perform.

Since the Church has no paid clergy, members perform all the duties associated with local worship and managing church affairs. These voluntary positions are called callings.

Members are called of God to serve each other and all callings are important. The invitation to serve in a calling is made by the proper priesthod authrity.

Proper Authority

There is a specific process in which callings are issued. First, the person who presides over a calling will carefully ponder and prayerfully consider the name of an individual.

The person submits that name to the proper priesthood authority, such as a bishop or stake president, who also prayerfully considers the recommendation. Once spiritual approval has been received, the calling is extended to the individual.

When a person is extended a calling, he or she may either accept or reject it. Members are encouraged to accept callings, because they are from God. Also, the services they will perform are also for their own benefit and growth.

Called of God

When this process is followed, callings are viewed as coming from Heavenly Father. The Fifth Article of Faith states this belief:

We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

When a calling is issued and accepted, the rest of the congregation sustains and supports that person by raising their hand to indicate support. This is usually done during Sacrament meeting.

After the regular services are over, the person is set apart for their calling. Setting apart is when the proper priesthood authorities place their hands on the person's head and give them a blessing.

The blessing invokes divine help for the person in performing their calling.

Callings are Voluntary

All service in the LDS Church is voluntary; because we have a lay ministry, rather than paid clergy. Members do not receive wages or other compensation for their time.

The organization of the LDS Church is not a corporate ladder to be climbed; but is guided and directed by Jesus Christ through his prophet, apostles and other church leaders.

Duration of Service

Generally members serve in their callings for a few years; although how long they will be asked to serve is unknown. Once their time of service ends, or if the individual moves, they are released from the calling by the proper authority. A new member is then called to replace them.

On rare occasions, a calling may last for several years, sometimes even decades, but generally this is not the case. A few callings, that of the Prophet and Apostles, are for a person's remaining lifetime. Only after their death will a new prophet or apostle be called.

All Callings are Important

One calling is not considered more important than another. Each has its duties and responsibilities that are vital to the progress and advancement of the Lord's work.

Not only do callings give members of the LDS Church a chance to serve one another; but they are an opportunity to personally learn and grow.

Examples of LDS Church Callings

Some callings of the LDS Church in local congregations include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Bishop: The leader of a congregation.
  • Relief Society President: She is the leader of the adult women's organization
  • Young Men's First Counselor: Assists the leader of the youth organization for boys, ages 12-18.
  • Young Women's Secretary: Assists the presidency of the youth organization for girls, ages 12-18, especially with record keeping duties.
  • Primary President: She presides and administers the program for young children through age 11.
  • Music Director: Primarily handles the music for Sunday worship.
  • Ward Clerk: Assists the Bishopric with clerical, organizational and record keeping duties.
  • Finance Clerk: Handles tithing and other contributions, as well as record keeping.
  • Meetinghouse Librarian: Administers and assists with media needs, such as video, audio and print materials.

There are many other LDS Church callings, including many teachers in all of the auxiliaries and organizations.

Some callings take more time than others. Being a bishop or a Relief Society president are both considered demanding callings. They typically require between 10 and 30 hours a week. Most callings do not require that time commitment.

How Many Callings Are There?

Small congregations, called ward or branches, may only have a handful of callings. In a large congregation callings can be extensive. Usually, every member has some sort of calling.

To get an idea of what callings are and how they function, visit the Callings website on the Church's official website.

Updated by Krista Cook.