A stake president and his counselors were released this past Sunday. A stake is a collective group of 6-12 congregations of 300-400 people or "wards." Our mission covers 59 stakes and 387 wards. Stakes have been discussed since the earliest days of the bible. Isaiah 54: "Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;"
As I consider the transition that took place I am amazed at the Lords succession plans. There is no campaigning, no politicking, no negotiation or favors. Mans ways are not Gods ways. A letter is issued by the first presidency indicating a change will take place. They choose two men who are in the quorum of the seventy to go to the stake and interview between twenty and thirty men. The quorum of seventy has also been a part of the Church since its earliest days. Numbers 11:24 "And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the Lord, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle. 25 And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease." The key phrase is "...the spirit rested upon them, and they prophesied."
Through the keys delegated by the president of the quorum of the twelve apostles, these two seventies choose, through the spirit of prophecy and revelation, a new stake president, who within hours chooses two counselors who are also called. They don't review a resume or pedigree. They interview the person for about 10 minutes and follow the promptings of the spirit. In the most recent case, an elderly gentleman was released and a young man with a young family was called. The transition was completed within a day. The 3000 people that they lead ratified the decision by raising their hands in ascent and approval of the choice. D&C 26:2 "And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen." And now it is done, and the work moves forward with average men and women who do their best and the Lord qualifies their work.
After they were called, these brethren and their wives shared their love of God through testimony. I was impressed with their humility. They didn't choose this. No doubt they would rather spend more time at home. They will work for the next 10 years furthering the work of God through their service. There is no compensation for their 30-40 hours of service each week. They work and serve above and beyond their current vocation. One of the brothers is a software engineer, another a physician and the last a plumber.
Every member of the LDS church is "called to serve" in some capacity as a volunteer in the church. Some serve the toddlers in the nursery, others as Sunday school teachers, others as shepherds of young men and women or adult men and women. Sisters serve in the relief society and various councils in the church. The Relief Society is one of the oldest women's organizations in the United States. These volunteers receive no compensation but serve with all their "heart, might, mind and strength." I am amazed at the capacity of these good brothers and sisters to serve. They do so because they believe in Jesus Christ, the son of God. We love serving Him as well. He Lives!