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RICHARD - Can you answer a question for me in relation to 1 Timothy 3: 1..This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. Can a faithful, honourable priesthood holder request a calling as a Bishop from the proper authorities or would he have to keep his mouth close and hopefully one day when the time is right in the lords eyes that he maybe called?

JOEL - "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work." (1 Timothy 3: 1)

It is a common understanding in the gospel that we do not aspire to callings. We trust the Lord to direct his servants to provide us with callings and opportunities to serve. I think the Timothy scripture is simply saying that it is a good thing to desire to serve and a good thing to be a Bishop. But there is a difference between desire and aspire. There is nothing wrong with having a desire to serve in a particular calling or even letting church leaders know that you would like a calling and letting them know the kind of talents and experience you have, which might make it easier for them to select a calling for you. But it is not proper to tell the Lord what that calling should be and then lobby church leaders to give you that calling.

The Church handbook on callings says:
"A person must be called of God to serve in the Church (see Articles of Faith 1:5). Leaders seek the guidance of the Spirit in determining whom to call. They consider the worthiness that may be required for the calling."

Here's a few relevant quotes from church leaders:

Elder F. Melvin Hammond of the Seventy said:
"We do not aspire to callings nor should we ever turn down a call to serve, even if we do not feel adequate for the position. It is also scripture that we should not hide our light under a bushel." (Oct 2006)

“In the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve but how.“ (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., CR, April 1951, 154)

President Hinckley:
“Sometimes men and women in the Church aspire for office. This is unfortunate. It becomes the very reason why they should not be granted such office.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Keep the Chain Unbroken, Talk given at BYU, 30 Nov. 1999)

People who aspire to an office might be doing it for the wrong selfish reasons. Lastly, I know very few people who would actually want to be a Bishop. If you do, then like Timothy said, it is a good desire but one that you should keep to yourself and allow God to inspire others to make the choice of who it should be.

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