EQ to HPG: Rites of Passage

HawkgrrrlMormon 51 Comments

Whether you are 18 or 88, married, single, widowed, or divorced, with or without kids, and regardless of your socio-economic status, if you are an active LDS woman, you are in Relief Society.  Not so for the men. 

I will freely acknowledge that being a woman in the church and bringing up a question about Priesthood practices would probably subject me to some derisive comment from BY types about how it’s as unseemly as a dog walking on its hind legs or some such thing.  I admit up front that I am not an expert in these matters, but I have been a member of the church for my whole life, and have attended many different wards across the US and some outside the US.

If you are a man in the church, you are either in Elder’s Quorum or High Priests, depending on the highest office in the Priesthood bestowed.  The lessons taught are the same (the manual is also shared by the Relief Society).  If you are in the Elders’ Quorum, you are more likely to be asked to help people move, to participate in ward basketball, and to administer blessings to the sick.  If you are in the High Priests’ Group, there are social activities for the men and their wives.  Uhm, which group sounds better to you?  Basketball + moving people or dinner parties with wheezing fossils (no offense to the wheezing fossils out there)?

Officially, an active LDS man remains an Elder until he is in a calling (such as a bishop or stake leadership calling) that requires him to become a High Priest.  However, there are a few exceptions (that I’ve seen in various wards) that can result in someone being moved from the Elder’s Quorum into the High Priest’s Group without having been in a “High Priest” required calling:

  1. Age.  If a man in good standing is over the age of 50 (or lower for some wards), he may be either 1) invited to attend HPG based on age, despite priesthood level, or 2) ordained to the office of a High Priest to move him into the older group officially.
    • This seems a little arbitrary and could lead to hurt feelings or feeling disenfranchized for men who are older but haven’t been ordained as High Priests.
    • **In some wards, a very young HP will unofficially join the EQ based on age.
  2. Organization.  If a ward has too few High Priests to fill all the roles associated with the High Priests’ Group, additional Elders may be ordained to fill these roles.
    • If a ward is too small or has too few to fill one of the two quorums, why not just collapse into one Priesthood Quorum?  This feels like ordaining people to justify unnecessary callings.  Aren’t there any programs to hand out or Primary classes to substitute for?  Is this problematic because the HPG is actually led by the Stake President but the Elder’s Quorum has a ward level leader?
  3. Discretionary Ordinations.  It is not required for some callings, like Executive Secretary, to be ordained High Priests, but local leadership may (at their discretion) decide to ordain someone to the office of High Priest in this or similar roles.
    • Not a big deal I suppose, but it seems pretty arbitrary.  At least it is restricted to a handful of borderline justifiable positions and is less likely to create bad feelings as a result.

Why is this forced hierarchy necessary?  Doesn’t it bring out the worst in people (envy, pride, competition, and favoritism) where charity should rule the day?  Is it necessary?  Relief Society has been egalitarian (all ages) for a very long time.  While there have been issues in the past, it does seem to be getting better due to a few changes.  The manuals are more doctrinal now, less “family focused”; they are more applicable regardless of life situation, age, marital status, etc.  So, do men NEED to feel that they have a goal (aging up into a different class) in order to feel that they are engaged and participating in the church?  Is there a legitimate reason the Elders and High Priests can’t meet together weekly?  Is this some secret male testosterone-driven thing I just don’t get?  Discuss.

Comments 51

  1. Is there a legitimate reason the Elders and High Priests can’t meet together weekly?

    No. There is a legitimate reason for the office of High Priest to exist, but I don’t think it needs to be organized at the ward level. At any given time, the stake High Priests quorum should consist of the stake presidency (also the quorum presidency), the high council, and the collective bishoprics of the stake (the patriarch could be an honorary member). Anybody else who has been ordained but is not serving in one of those positions should meet with the Elders quorum (and be eligible to serve in that quorum’s presidency). I’ve been in a (relatively small) ward that did this, and I thought it worked fine. They called it the “Melchizedec Priesthood group,” and had three or four counselors in the presidency, one of whom was the ward mission leader.

  2. I was ordained a high priest at 35. Afterward, I was called to serve as the HP group secretary. I was one of the older ones in the EQ, but not the oldest. At the time, there were 4 high priests who weren’t serving in the bishopric or high council, so it wasn’t like there was a shortage. I’ve seen similar situations where they didn’t call a secretary and had the second counselor assume those duties.

    From your list, I guess #2 would probably match my situation the closest, but it wasn’t like there wasn’t anyone else who could’ve done this. I’ve been in other wards where they had too few of one or the other, so they collapsed everything into one Melchizedek Priesthood meeting and it seemed to work well. My bro in law is currently the HP group leader in his ward. He’s literally the only one not in the bishopric, stake presidency, or high council so he’s the HP group leader by default. He currently meets with the Elder’s Quorum, although he’s responsible for getting the other HP home teaching numbers.

    I agree that it sets up something of a caste system where Elders feel insignificant and HP feel old. It’d be nice if it didn’t feel that way, but both the Elders and High Priests have essential roles, and with human nature being what it is, what are you going to do?

    As a funny aside, once we were in a married student ward with 3 separate elders’ quorums. My wife said the first couple of weeks we were there they tried setting up 100+ seats for all the RS sisters, but after a while they sent a third of them (those whose husbands were in quorum C) off to meet in a small room in the basement. My wife was furious at me for choosing to go to quorum C because it meant she had to go to the basement while the other 2/3rds got the soft chairs in the RS room. The whole thing was an epic mess until they split that ward.

  3. +1 for LL’s comment. The push to simplify the church comes up regularly but then we never actually do any simplifying. Why should there be redundant instructors, redundant counselors/assistants and redundant leaders? Combining Elders and HP frees up half a dozen people to serve other needs in the ward.

  4. I don’t know about other men, but I’ve never really considered being ordained to be a high priest a goal in any real sense. As an Elder, this is simply where I am. Yes there are callings that require one to be a high priest, but aside from that, there is no doctrinal need to be ordained as such. Elder’s receive all the same blessings and whatnot. There is no degree of glory in the next life not available to an Elder as much as to a High Priest.

    Hurt feelings over not being ordained as a High Priest when someone else is? Bah! I don’t doubt that there are some that would feel that way, but I think the majority are not so inclined. I enjoy Elder’s Quorum, and while I would accept a transition to the HPG, I’m not in any hurry.

    But to throw a monkey wrench in things–with which group should a Seventy meet? It used to be that there were stake-level Seventies Quorums, and on occasion one will meet someone whose office is that of Seventy. Since they cannot (generally) meet with other Seventies (too rare) should they then meet with the EQ or the HPG? In the past I had a Seventy in a ward I was in, and he came to EQ, but the Bishop left the decision to him. He was assigned a home teaching route quite promptly.

  5. We have had some rogue elderly Elder’s that have sneaked in to the HP group meetings in lieu of EQ; if that is where they feel the most comfortable, then it’s somewhat sad to intervene. Nevertheless, intervention occurred in one case when the wandering elderly Elder was put into the EQ presidency.

    My first visit to HP group was rather frightening regarding the company I would be keeping. Also a little disillusioning to see bickering about doctrinal nuances. I guess in my naive view, I thought the collective spiritual wisdom of the group would lead to a discussion free of bickering.

    To me, the requirement to attend the HP group seemed almost “punitive”. It would seem out of fairness that the RS should have a punitive group too!

  6. with which group should a Seventy meet?

    Stake Seventies quorums were abolished in 1986. I was sent back to the Elders Quorum at the time (and was soon made the president thereof, despite my office). By now, any Seventy who has not been ordained a High Priest is going to be over 50 would probably meet with the High Priests. If they weren’t inactive, that is.

    And to second Rigel Hawthorne, when I was released from the Bishopric and had to attend HP group, it definitely felt punitive. (Not the being released part–that was great).

  7. For what it’s worth, when I was 23, I was given a calling for which I supposed to be ordained a high priest. I asked not to be ordained–to remain an elder–and the SP was okay with that. I didn’t want to sit in HP Group for a couple of decades waiting for someone my age to be ordained.

    “If a ward is too small or has too few to fill one of the two quorums, why not just collapse into one Priesthood Quorum?”

    I’ve been in a branch where this happened.

    “Why is this forced hierarchy necessary? Doesn’t it bring out the worst in people (envy, pride, competition, and favoritism) where charity should rule the day? Is it necessary?”

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but my goal is to be one of those 55-year olds that they have to find a reason to ordain to be a HP. I’ll serve the Lord wherever he wants me, and will do so happily, but being ordained a HP usually means getting a big calling, and I have no desire for a big calling. I’ve always believed most men were in the same boat: willing, but not hoping, for time-intensive service.

  8. Wow JimBob,

    I wish I could go back in time and ask….well, I doubt they would have done for me what your SP did for you. I had always hoped my father would be able to do my HP ordination–if it had to happen. However, I got a calling before church and was told I needed to pick someone to ordain me after church. Dad was not close enough for that once in a lifetime event.

    You got my curiosity though; what calling would they really have let you remain an Elder when you were supposed to be a HP?

  9. I know of a case when a guy who kept arguing in the EQ meetings was made a HP to get him out of the EQ.

    Personally, I was made a HP in my earlier 30s – I was attending grad school on the east coast, and the demographic of our ward was such and it was no big deal, as the bishop was younger than I was. When we moved to the northwest, my first Sunday at church, when it was time for priesthood meeting, I was being guided to the EQ meetings, but was then asked, “You’re not a HP, are you?” I replied, “Yes, but if it’s okay, I’d rather meet with the EQ.” As it turned out the HP group was very small, and they wouldn’t let me get away with not supporting it.

    Now, some twenty-one years later, I’m glad. I don’t think anyone from that EQ is still in the ward, but several from the HP group are and have become dear friends.

  10. To be honest, I haven’t seen any envy/pride/competition/favoritism/lack of charity actually occur between Elders & High Priests. I’m sure that there are some who really want to “make it to the next level” and a 23-year-old I knew in France who was called to the High Council was probably reasonably proud (or at least honored) by that fact, but in general I don’t think it’s really anyone’s active aspiration.

    Combining HPG & EQ for meetings is not uncommon either in smaller units (again, it was standard in all but one of my units in France). They just had “priesthood” over which the EQ Pres. (even if he was a HP) presided, with no manpower lost to redundant group leaders and assistants. While my DC ward like most sizable American ones follows the traditional model, our Elders and High Priests have our lessons together at least once every month or two (often whenever a HP instructor is absent). I actually really enjoy those weeks because we have some great high priests with interesting perspectives and experiences.

    I won’t touch on the need for various quorums, but where they exist, the direction is that quorums should meet together. I think the division is only necessary and exists if it meets local needs. Don’t have enough High Priests? They don’t separate. Same with our young men. There aren’t a ton, so I don’t think they really split into Deacon/Teacher/Priest either for meetings, even if they are ordained to those offices. Also, it should be noted that the Church is giving more specific responsibilities to High Priests, particularly regarding home teaching and reactivating inactives, so that it doesn’t just become a retirement community for former ward & stake leaders. They’re still expected to serve.

  11. Rigel, I can’t speak for JimBob, but as a missionary in Japan I saw a ward roster that listed one of the counselors in the bishopric as an elder rather than a high priest.

  12. I actually have no issue with the separation either, although I do see Hawk’s point. I think it could create problems in a ward where one specific individual, aged approximately 50, is ordained an HP, and another in a similar situation, same age is overlooked. This could definitely create a feeling of unworthiness.

    But personally, meaning no offense to the “fossils” out there, I have no interest in joining HPG at this point. If Sunday School is any indication of what these guys discuss then I’d rather stick to EQ where we discuss real life.

  13. Post

    I was reading a GC talk from Oct ’08 PH session that cautioned against two different types of people in wards: those who want to lead, and those who want to hide. I thought it was an interesting observation. I suspect those who might feel offended that they got passed over might fall into that first group (aspiring to callings) whereas the majority would probably just as soon be passed over rather than having to do what is asked (to hide). I do see a lot of people falling into these two camps.

  14. I think the distinction becomes an issue in wards where there are very few priesthood. We tried to have a Melchizedek P. (joint Elders and HP) group but were quickly shut down. Instead we just had them meet together regularly for classes. HPG like EQ just changes depending on where you are and some are excellent and others are very poor.

    I think that periodic age separation where possible would be a better way to create these divisions than Priesthood. So both P. and RS should be split by age twice per month for example. In reality the AP distinctions are based on age and quorums are encouraged to meet together there because of the vast differences between age groups.

  15. Post

    Perhaps, Rico, but having grown accustomed to no age separation in RS for the last 20+ years, I don’t feel there’s any benefit to separating by age. The division that age used to create in discussions has gotten much better now that the manuals are focused on doctrine rather than the minutae of life. I find a bigger split when I have been an outlier from a socio-economic perspective than based on age, and that has been mostly based on differing education levels of RS sisters.

  16. Outside the U.S., combined M.P. classes are the norm, in my experience. Here in America, not so much.

    Young HPs have met with the older guys, in every situation I’m aware of.

    And there are a few other differences in quorums Hawkgrrrl didn’t mention:
    * HP always home teach the single sisters (too much temptation if the guy is younger? I don’t know)and have other HPs as companions
    * Young men are always assigned companions from the Elders quorum.
    * HP often consider themselves “retired” and their lessons tend to reflect this.
    * Because HP hometeach other families headed by HP’s, with other HPs as companions, and Elders hometeach families with Elders (or with YM as companions), it creates two insular groups within the ward with very little interaction between the younger families and the older ones.

  17. The fact of the matter is that there is an implied worthiness issue- like what is your problem that you are still an elder and in your forties? Actually that questioned was posed to me when I was in my 30’s by a young counselor in the bishopric. Maybe the fact that he was a SGT in the army made him look at it like a rank. But I’m still an elder and he has left the church after various inapproprate advances to the women in the ward.

  18. #15 – Maybe your right, but could you imagine the furore if they divided by educational status. Degrees in here, Postgrad’s in here and the rest wel your still gonna be in primary. Mind you the age thing is important in another dimension which is that sometimes older people dominate (their supposed wisdom and experience trumps all). I have found the YSA SS or P. a lot more fruitful as a place of discussion and I sure that those more mature people would relish that same experience. I do not think it should be all the time, just some times.

    #16 – I am from outside the US.

    * HP do not always do single sisters.
    * YM are not always assigned companions from the EQ, I have a YM as a companion.
    * If this last one is true you really have a weird ward.

  19. Post

    scw – “But I’m still an elder and he has left the church after various inapproprate advances to the women in the ward.” Wow. Goes to show ya.

    Rico – yeah, I see that splitting by education levels doesn’t work for obvious reasons, but more to the point of why splitting is inherently problematic. The more divisions, the more potential for: groupthink, exclusionary feelings, hierarchical structure emerging, etc. Just simple group dynamics.

  20. The bigger the groups the less chance of genuine dialogue and participation plus fellowship through the sharing of experiences. I think some sort of rotating system would work best, where people are assigned into classes that are big one week and then small the next and this changes every year. I agree that there are problems with big groups and with small, but we can do both.

    However, in all this my experience is a littel different, if you are a returned missionary (and stay fairly active) in England it is fairly likely that you will be made a high priest quite young. Thus the dynamics are all different. I mean the stake next to us just called a 26 yr old onto the stake presidency. He has been married 3 months. We are just thin on the ground here.

  21. Re #13 Hawk
    Yes, there does seem to be those two types of people. But like most theories that try to categorize, I find this one coming up short. There is, at least for some people, a feeling that HPG ordination is some sort of rank advancement. Surely this is not unfounded since the leaders of the church (which usually, albeit erroneously, we equate with higher spirituality) are, in fact, ordained to “higher” offices in the priesthood. Despite the best efforts of the Brethren to dispel the myth that calling doesn’t matter it “feels like” a call to be a bishop at a young age (e.g. TSM) etc. is some sort of indication of elevated spirituality.

  22. I’ve always looked on High Priests as “the old farts who discuss false doctrine in their priesthood class,” while the Elders do the real work of the church. Of course, there are exceptions by individual and by calling — Bishoprics work hard — but High Priests have always seemed kind of useless to me. So, far from seeing becoming a High Priest as a “promotion,” I took pride in the fact that I was still an Elder into my mid-40s (when I stopped going to church anyway).

  23. “what calling would they really have let you remain an Elder when you were supposed to be a HP?”

    Student ward bishopric. The church was in the middle of changing its policies for “young” counselors away from ordaining them HPs to having them to remain elders. I think due to that flux, the SP asked me what I wanted to have happen, and I told him I’d prefer to stay an elder.

    On a related note, a few years later–in grad school in the southeast–my wife and I attended a moderate-sized branch where I was called to be in the branch presidency four days after arriving. I’d like to chalk it up to inspiration, but frankly, if I hadn’t shown up, the calling would have gone unfilled. I wasn’t ordained a HP then either; the handbook is pretty clear on that. On more than one occasion, when the BP was gone, I would have to conduct and preside at sacrament meeting, and I can remember looking out on the few HP’s in the audience and thinking to myself just how clear D&C is about the ability of a HP to take over this meeting if he wanted to since I was just an elder. That never happened, of course, but the possibility always intrigued me.

  24. Hawkgrrrl #13 “those who want to lead, and those who want to hide” this is interesting, I see this as a dichotomy in which both are a result of pride, one who is proud enough to believe that they deserve a “Higher” calling or status the other who desires the status and has been passed over now begrudges the “establishment”.

    Do RS sisters as a whole experience these type of dynamics ?

    Do organic divisions exist, due too age or “Status” of partner?

    I’m fine with the distinction between HP & Elders however my issue is that in some wards the EQ is pillaged of there best leaving it incapable of truly living up to it’s potential.

  25. Mr QandA- yes, I have observed divisions in RS. I was in a student (Wymount) ward RS where there were some pretty clear divisions between the newlyweds that were still in school and the SAHMs. Now I am in a college town back east and there are divisions between the newlywed grad-student wives and wives of husbands with established jobs. I am the only female student in the ward, and I don’t fit with either group.

  26. Post

    MQA – it could be a byproduct of priesthood leadership & hierarchy because sisters do not have these types of dynamics. There is no hierarchy to covet. There used to be a lot more complaints in RS about sisters who felt like they didn’t fit in (e.g. no kids, no spouse, etc.), but that has changed dramatically over the last few years as the lesson manuals have become more gospel-oriented and less specific. They used to do a lot more lessons about things like parenting and family dynamics. Not so any more. That has made a much more unified RS, IMO. I really don’t see an issue with grandmothers and young single sisters all in there together. It seems to work fine.

  27. Isn’t it obvious why the women don’t split? Because the Young Relief Society would be barren (at least in my ward) (no pun intended) because the young(er) sisters are ALL in Primary or YW. Or single’s wards. There would be maybe three sisters in the 18- to 40-year range in my ward, and 40 or so in the 60- to 100-range. I think men make great Primary teachers, don’t get me wrong, but in reality it’s mostly women as teachers, presidency, pianist, singing lady, nursery workers, and such. Men aren’t in Priesthood only for YM and ward clerk, but women just can’t go to RS because they are the nurturers (/sarcasm).

  28. Post

    Molly – interesting observation. So, the RS sisters are busy doing actual stuff, while the men are puttering around with fake emeritus-style “callings” and hierarchy? Sounds about right to me.

  29. 26,27,28 – hey I’m not sure I like the tone of this 😉

    I do think that there are gender dynamics here however, there is a key proportion of sisters that would be just as covetous and ambitious. Women create there own forms of hierarchy, men would do this through influence,power,money etc. Women’s status is measured in many others ways.

    My point is: the same dynamics you see within priesthood quorums you will also find within RS (although on a more subtle scale).

    The reason why there are more younger sisters being used within the ward is Primary, now I believe more priesthood should be used in Primary and in our ward they are, but there is a key majority of primary callings that are occupied by sisters.

  30. Hawkgrrrl #13 “those who want to lead, and those who want to hide” this is interesting, I see this as a dichotomy in which both are a result of pride, one who is proud enough to believe that they deserve a “Higher” calling or status the other who desires the status and has been passed over now begrudges the “establishment”.

    See this stereotype rubs me the wrong way. Before my faith crisis I was one who aspired to callings. However, this had nothing to do with pride. It had to do with the fact that I thought I would be a good leader and make a difference. To me, this is the church equivalent of telling MBA students that their desire to be a business administrator is evil because they surely think they’re better than others.

    Some people are natural born leaders, and tend to gravitate towards, even want, opportunities to do what they’re naturally good at. I fail to see why this falls under the sin of “pride”? I think what we’re really trying to say is that those who desire to usurp leadership do it as a result of pride.

  31. “The major problem- one of the major problems, for there are several- one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of whom manages to get people to let them do it to them.
    To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.” – Douglas Adams

  32. jmb275 # 30

    I believe there is a difference between leadership within the Church & Secular Leadership, one does not necessary lend to the other. I think I’m quite a good leader in my career however I think I’m a rubbish leader in my calling.

  33. Post

    jmb275 – I should have also been clearer in my recap of that talk. He wasn’t necessarily saying that the desire to lead was inherently bad, just that some folks used either a desire to lead or a desire to hide to essentially keep from doing anything useful. IOW, those who desire to lead but who aren’t given the opportunity would twist that into an excuse to subvert existing leadership and to refuse to do callings that are “beneath” their skill level. Anyway, just paraphrasing a talk in saying that.

  34. Re #33
    Ahh, I see. I suppose I should read the talk!

    Re #32

    I believe there is a difference between leadership within the Church & Secular Leadership, one does not necessary lend to the other. I think I’m quite a good leader in my career however I think I’m a rubbish leader in my calling.

    Yes, I can agree that one does not necessarily lend itself to the other. I just don’t like the blanket accusation that those who aspire to leadership in the church are prideful. Maybe I was prideful, but my motives were more pure than that. I wanted to help people and thought I could be effective.

  35. Fwiw: Church Handbook of Instructions, (2006) pp40. Brethern are ordained when called to stake presidencies etc but also as determined by the stake president. Ordination as a HP does not have to be associated with a calling.

  36. jmb275 #34 I don’t necessarily believe that pride = malicious or pride = bad, I would still defend my blanket statement, there are exceptions of course however I do not see your experience (as you explained it) being one of those. Pride is a natural course of human existence it is how pride is managed that is a key issue, your comments have given me good cause to think.

    generally no matter the structure of the organisation, it is human nature to be prideful (both men & women) although we demonstrate it in differing ways, (some women perhaps wait for weddings to wear the “prettiest” hat’s or put on the most “spiritual” voice), Men are less subtle.

  37. Pingback: Trespassing in Priesthood Meeting « Course Correction

  38. I always lamented the fact that I had to home teach the people on my dad’s beat when I was a kid. He was a HP and always made a point of volunteering to home teach the widows, who were lonely, liked to talk and needed their lawns mowed. I would have rather been going to the families with kids. Now, once again I’m home teaching people aged 60 to 90. I guess my past service has helped prepare me for this.

    I know my wife felt that our RS was intimidatingly geriatric. The Bishop, however, has reorganized the auxillaries to create younger RS leadership, so there are more younger women attending RS these days.

    As to the Elders doing all the work, I know our HPGL gets tapped for a lot of service in the middle of the week because he is retired, whereas the Elders are at work. He keeps saying he needs to go back to work so he can get a vacation!

  39. jmb275 #34 I don’t necessarily believe that pride = malicious or pride = bad, I would still defend my blanket statement, there are exceptions of course however I do not see your experience (as you explained it) being one of those. Pride is a natural course of human existence it is how pride is managed that is a key issue, your comments have given me good cause to think.

    generally no matter the structure of the organisation, it is human nature to be prideful (both men & women) although we demonstrate it in differing ways, (some women perhaps wait for weddings to wear the “prettiest” hat’s or put on the most “spiritual” voice), Men are less subtle.

    Hmmm, maybe you need to expound some more because I’m not following. We’re going off on a tangent though here. How do you define pride? If pride != malicious or pride != bad, then why did you bring it up in a negative context (begrudging the establishment, or “deserving” a calling”)?

    I am somewhat playing into the orthodox Mormon version of pride as defined by ETB. While I don’t necessarily believe that personally (I probably am closer to your view), it is the standard way to look at it.
    Pride := enmity with God
    Pride ==> root of all evil
    A person whose desire is to help others by becoming a leader does not seem to mesh with those definitions IMHO.

    Please explain.

  40. Post

    MQA – “generally no matter the structure of the organisation, it is human nature to be prideful (both men & women) although we demonstrate it in differing ways, (some women perhaps wait for weddings to wear the “prettiest” hat’s or put on the most “spiritual” voice), Men are less subtle.” I think your female examples of ‘pride’ are actually of vanity. Also, women quit wearing “pretty hats” decades ago. Where are these hat war weddings of which you speak? Now, I grant you the “spiritual” voice is alive and well in Mormon culture. It can be quite irritating, but I think it’s mostly a put on to fit in or to create a specific type of image. It’s not really competitive (women trying to top other women) so much as it is a smiling mask to fit in culturally.

  41. First of all, there is no excuse really to think about High Priesthood as rank. It is either: a requirement for some callings, as per a revelation included in the Standard Works; or it is a way to organize MP into two groups.

    I’ve been in a ward, branch and a mission branch, where the HP do not have their own group meetings within the ward — except some times when they need to accomplish something as a group, and they need to have their own meeting to plan and organize that.

    I think age-based segregation is wrong. Elderly men should have younger men to remind them that the world moves on, whether they move with it or not; the younger men need to learn the wisdom of experience. You get the bickering about doctrinal nuances, because elderly men tend to be so fixated on some obscure point that has become to them a “gospel hobby” and they think they know absolutely everything about it. To fix the latter, see the first part of the second sentence.

    I have the “Blue Book”, and I have read it, too. My calling requires that I know it, and I’m a bit of a perfectionist. From the handbook, I find absolutely no basis for having two MP groups meet, unless there are too many active male adults to have them meet as one group. I mean as a “normal” meetings routine; if there’s a special reason, then there is that to consider. I suspect often the segregation happens because that’s how it’s always been done.

    Often the problems that people have with what happens in reality are not based on “faulty” Church policy, but simply the fact that people quite often are oblivious to what the handbook teaches. Then there’s inspiration, which actually does happen; perhaps not as often as it should, but it still does.

  42. jmb275 #39,

    Whether pride causes enmity with God or enmity with God causes pride, I’m not sure!. IMO the definition of Pride is to have a high opinion of ones self / own creation. there are many symptoms of pride obsession, envy, vanity etc, I agree that unchecked pride is the root of all evil however pride may produce many good things too, ie “pride in ones work”.

    the issues that I have is not your desire to help others, but your insistence that a leadership position is necessary to enable you to enact that assistance, HT, VT & callings give sufficient opportunity to help others if you are desiring further reaching authority then your desires are no longer to help individuals. jmb275 please understand it is not my intention to pick a fight, I’m mealy defending my general opinion of aspiration.

    Hawkgrrrl #40 I appreciate my examples were not sufficient to support my argument, however I was just being a little light hearted.

  43. For those who believe that for some reason elders do most of the work while HP sit around and sleep, you are quite delusional.

    For the most part, most of the HP have spent years in Bishoprics or High Councils doing most of the work in a ward or stake. In addition, HP do the lion share of home teaching, most of the temple assignments, Most of the welfare and DI assignments and the vast majority of family history work.

    It is true that the elders get to be the ward moving service and get to race their pinewood derby cars at the Elders Quorum pinewood derby race but 90 percent of the time, if you want something done from one of the psthd quorums, the HP Quorum is where the work is done.

  44. …High Councils doing most of the work in a ward or stake.

    Well, Rich, you know one of my Stake Presidents used to love to tell this story. He’d say, “When a man has been a Bishop for a few years, he gets tired. They all tell me the same thing. They say, ‘President, I love the people, I love being a Bishop, but I’m just worn out. I need a rest.’ So I say, ‘What calling would you like if I release you?’ And they always say, ‘I’d like to be on the High Council.'”

  45. Lessons on the first Sunday of the month are a time when the President or Leader of a particular quorum / auxiliary or group can give instruction to his or her group pertaining the responsibilities and duties that are unique to that group. High Priests are generally a more experience bunch when it pertains to the Priesthood and use of it, which would affect the way the discussions on this Sunday play out. They also play a different role in the use of the Melchizedek Priesthood so they will get different instruction. For example, the High Priest group leads out in temple work and all things pertaining to this. This in and of itself could make their first Sunday instruction different than what is heard in an Elder’s Quorum.

  46. The HP advancement system is demoralizing and archaic. I have watched younger men advance past me within it to leadership callings and tried to convince myself that it is guided by ‘inspiration’ and not favoritism but it is simply not true. It has more to do with your last name, and the 3 P’s (pedigree, personality, and peers). It is truly who you know and how well. As a faithful full tithing payer, married in the temple, have never denied any opportunity to serve; I know that my lack of family in the church has a huge role to play. I was a convert in a very old ward at age 16. Now at 46 it is clear to me that I will never become anything more than my current calling of ward clerk. It would be simply a ‘sympathy calling’ at this point. So I have decided not to attend elders quorum anymore because the increasing age gap is becoming obscene; I’m 10 years older than the next oldest brother. This has caused me thoughts of inactivity, depression, feelings of unworthiness, and feelings of being a failure to my family and my Father in heaven. THIS IS NOT the Lord’s plan.

  47. Something we sometimes fail to consider is that the stake president is the president of the stake high priests quorum, and the elders quorum presidents report to him (not to the bishops). The Melchizedek Priesthood is organized at the stake level, and the stake is a Melchizedek Priesthood unit. The stake president presides over the high priests quorum and calls presidents from among the elders for the several elders quorums in the stake. Into recent history, elders quorums did not follow ward boundaries — an elders quorum might cover one-and-a-half wards, and another elders quorum might cover two-and-a-half wards, for example, in a stake with four wards (and only two elders quorums). In those days, elders quorums were organized based on 96 members. But the brethren made a reasonable decision that elders quorum boundaries should mirror ward boundaries — makes things easier for correlation — but the problem with this approach is that we have lost the idea that an elders quorum is a stake organization; rather (and unfortunately) it is largely seen as a ward organization.

    Similarly, the ward is an Aaronic Priesthood organization, and the bishop is president of the priests quorum, and he calls teachers and deacons quorum presidents from among those quorums.

    The theoretical model is really pretty — Melchizedek Priesthood is organized and functions at the stake level and the stake president is president of the high priests quorum — Aaronic Priesthood is organized and functions at the ward level and the bishop is president of the priests quorum.

    But just as some stake presidents, under the press of other duties, are not able to magnify their assignments in leading the work of the Melchizedek Priesthood in general and their high priests quorums in particular, some bishops, under a similar press, are unable to magnify their assignments in leading the Aaronic Priesthood in general and their priests quorum in particular.

    To some extent, the importance of and focus on priesthood in leading the church at the local level has been diminished over time. A return to these principles might obviate the premise of the original posting and reinvigorate the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood quorums at the local level. You see, priesthood groups at the local level are largely social groupings — the priesthood quorums do not carry the weight of accomplishing the mission of the church — the priesthood quorums are instead only responsible for teaching lessons to occupy the time and organizing service projects from time to time.

  48. David, don’t sweat it brother! You are right that “knowing” has a lot to do with whom the local leadership calls. Is this bad though? Is the Lord going to tell the Stake President “no” about his pick of a new bishop or high councilor when the person he picked is ready, willing and worthy? Probably not. Does that mean that so and so not picked couldn’t have performed just as good? Not at all! The lesson here is, lift where you stand… (A reference to a good talk by President Uchtdorf). You were picked to serve in your current calling the same way. The bishop knew you and went before the Lord to get his approval. There were probably many others who could have done just as well as you but you were chosen by the bishop and presented to the Lord. Remember, whether it is by the voice of the servants of the Lord or the Lord himself, it is the same. That doctrine is found in the Doctrine and Covenants. The fibers of the church are just as necessary as the ropes that strengthen it. While the rope is in the forefront – without the fibers, the ropes would not be rope! The Lord is no respecter of persons. His exaltation is the same for faithful primary instructors as it is for faithful apostles. It is not about what your calling is, it is about what you do in your calling(s) that matter to the Lord. You have to ask yourself this question. In whom do you serve? God or Man? Be grateful that you don’t have to work as hard as a Bishop day in and day out to be faithful! The greatest mystery of God is how a door greater at church who magnifies his / her calling and has no other church responsibility, but is faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord to the end, obtains the same reward in heaven as the Savior himself, exaltation!

  49. An analogy of the social structure of the priesthood might be if women’s auxilliary positions had hierarchal status–that is, if Primary positions were seen as stepping stones to callings in YW and YW positions seen as the entry to RS callings–but eventually everyone aged into RS.

  50. Pingback: The Girls’ Meeting | Wheat and Tares

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