“Ask the Bishop”: Why We Met With Our Bishop When We Didn’t Need Help

DSCF1177When Brandon and I were first married Brandon had trouble sleeping. He had been having trouble sleeping since about 9th grade. Of course, now that he had a new wife, his trouble sleeping became my trouble sleeping. Something had to be done. We had a number of theories about the cause of his sleep troubles and finally he went to the doctor about it.

There were test and trials, which eventually led to a diagnosis of sleep apnea. Among those tests and trials was a time period in which the doctor had Brandon taking Ambien, a sleep aid medication.

Right from the beginning of our marriage we established a bed time routine that included family scripture study. This meant that, depending on the length of the chapter we were reading, our bed time routine could last up to an hour in length. Somehow we missed the memo that Ambien should be taken right before your head hits the pillow. One night Brandon took his nightly dosage at the beginning of our bedtime routine. Near the end of our scripture study he became sickly pale and clammy. As we finished up and climbed into bed his responses to me began to be disjointed and mumbled. I got very concerned and nearly panicked. I was afraid to let him go to sleep for fear that he would not wake up. I kept talking to him and asking him questions, trying to understand what was going on. I didn’t know what to do. I asked him, “Brandon, what am I going to do if you die?”

“Ask the Bishop,” was his answer.

We look back at this situation and laugh now. Brandon had no recollection of any of this the next morning. But more than a funny story, this experience gave me insight into how my husband thinks: He trusts his Bishop.

Ecclesiastical leaders within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are voluntary. A Bishop is the leader of a ward, which is a local congregation. Bishops only serve for a few years and have responsibilities to “[watch] over all ward members [with a] special responsibility to guide the ward’s young men and young women. He oversees teaching, missionary work, and spiritual growth in the ward. He is responsible to conduct worthiness interviews, counsel Church members, and administer Church discipline. He is responsible to care for the poor and needy, and he oversees finances, records, and the use and security of the meetinghouse” (from How the Church is Organized). In addition to all of this, Bishops maintain their full-time jobs (ours owns a glass shop and a vintage store) and remain invlolved in their family.

In short, a bishop has a lot on his plate. As a result, I have always tried to only take up a bishop’s time when absolutely necessary. However, Brandon is better at thinking in accordance with what Elder M Russel Ballard has to say:

M. Russell Ballard“Seek counsel from your priesthood leaders, especially your bishop. He knows the standards, and he knows what to teach you. Seek opportunities to be with him. You can expect him to ask pointed, searching questions. Trust him. Confide in him. Ask him to help you understand what the Lord expects from you.”

So, in the very same conversation that Brandon informed me that he had lost his job, he asked me to make an appointment with our Bishop. We met with him the next evening. Our news was no surprise to him. He saw the news on Facebook. But he did council with us. We left feeling supported and cared for. He had no quick fixes for us, but he did share his experiences and understanding. We are not yet part of the “poor and needy,” so we did not speak with him for assistance in that regard. We just wanted to make sure he knew what was going on in our lives, because we trust him. Trusting in the Lord includes trusting in his servants. I am grateful that Brandon and I are united in that trust.

P.S. Here is another story of someone trusting their bishop. It’s a cute one.

Header image based on an original photo by Ryan McGuire of Bells Design. http://www.gratisography.com/
Header image based on an original photo by Ryan McGuire of Bells Design. http://www.gratisography.com/
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