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Friday, September 30, 2011

All Those In Favor?

by Pete Codella (bio)

The Mormon church has a rather unique process for asking people to support callings (opportunities to serve fellow church members) and welcoming people to our congregations.

The person conducting the congregation’s Sunday sacrament meeting will share names of people being released from callings as well as those called to new positions of service. The congregation is then given the opportunity to lift their right hand in support of the new callings.

The person conducting the meeting will say, “All those in favor of,” fill-in-the-blank for the calling, “please show by the uplifted hand,” or something to that effect.

After support has been indicated by members of the congregation raising their right hands, the meeting conductor then says, “Any opposed?” Which means if anyone is not in favor of the recommendation, they would raise their hand to indicate their lack of support. (I’ve never personally seen this happen, as most of us are happy to go right along with the recommendation.)

Well, in our congregation recently, a new counselor in the bishopric was conducting the meeting. He was a bit flustered with all the items he had to attend to. After doing callings and releases, when he got to welcoming some new members, he read their names and asked for the congregation to join him in welcoming the new members to the new ward.

Then he did something I’ve never seen. He asked the congregation if there were any opposed!

My wife and I looked at each other and couldn’t stop from laughing. It was hard to maintain reverence and not laugh out loud at the idea of opposing someone whose name had just been read-in as a new member of the ward.

Note: When reading in new membership records you’re supposed to just ask for a show of support for the individuals and not ask for “any opposed?” And no, no one raised their hand in opposition to welcoming the new members.

So, the next time you’re asked to welcome someone new to your congregation, you can think about how funny it would be if the person conducting then asked if there was anyone opposed. Too funny!

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