She Asked:”Is This Call From The Lord?”


It has been over thirty years ago when, on assignment from the Bishop, I met with a sister in the ward to issue her a call. I was serving as a counselor in the Bishopric and the Bishop asked me if I would meet with her. I was young and relatively inexperienced in church priesthood procedures so when I sat down with her in one of the rooms of the church, I was a little uneasy. We opened with prayer and then after a few pleasantries, I issued to her a call to serve as a teacher in the primary. She didn’t seem happy and rather sternly replied, “Is this call from the Lord?” I was taken back. It had never occurred to me that I would be asked such a question.

Imagine for a moment this exchange between a father and his son. The dialogue should sound familiar.

Father: “I feel inspired to have you and your three brothers return to our homeland and get the history of our people from a most powerful man. I have spoken to your brothers and they say that it is impossible, and that I am requiring too much of them. What say ye?

Youngest son: “Is this call from the Lord?”

This is the familiar story of a commandment of the Lord, given to Lehi, and then passed on to his sons. Lehi charged them to get the Brass Plates from Laban. (1Nephi 3). We know from the story that the youngest son, Nephi, doesn’t really question the authority of his father, as I quoted above, rather, his simple reply is, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded….” (vs. 7). But it’s clear that the older brothers were questioning the source. It appears they doubted if their Father was inspired of God. “Is this call from the Lord?” was their refrain. It was their way of showing doubt and not wanting to do something “hard”. Nephi asks no such question. What a difference!

I don’t know what was behind the question, “Is this call from the Lord?” by that good sister so many years ago. But I sensed that she was questioning the source because she didn’t want to accept the call to teach primary. The source, in this case, was her priesthood leaders. I’m not much for “blind faith”, so I’m fine with anyone and everyone taking the time to confirm in their hearts the rightness of their callings and assignments. I’m fine with members sharing information with priesthood leaders concerns they may have in accepting a calling, thus allowing leaders the opportunity to reconsider. And from my experience, there are times when, in an interview for a calling, information comes to light that causes a priesthood leader to go back and pray again about the “rightness” of a call.

With that being said, I would hope that all of us would have the faith of Nephi and be not “murmurers”. Nephi never questioned the authority of his Father, nor his inspiration. Nephi had already gained a testimony that his Father was an inspired man. Therefore, he had faith that if he was asked, be it directly by the Lord, or by his father, it was something he was going to do.

Have you ever pondered why the Lord didn’t require Lehi to go back and get the plates? That would have eliminated the question of “Is this call from the Lord?” Yet, what great blessings ended up coming into the lives of all those involved. Lehi’s faith was strengthened while Sariah’s faith soared! After that experience she bore testimony of the prophetic call of her husband and that she knew that the Lord had delivered her sons from Laban. In taking the lead, Nephi gained incredible spiritual strength while obtaining the brass plates. I’m sure that Sam and Zoram both came to see Nephi as a spiritual leader and a man that they could trust in and follow. And although Laman and Lemuel saw great things, they didn’t gain much, because they went through the motions, all the while saying in their minds “Is this call from the Lord”. They passed the exam but failed the test!

Trust in the Lord and seek His guidance. He will lead, guide and teach us in ways that may seem hard, but that will ultimately make us more like Him.


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