Elder Anderson’s quote above comes from a great article called “The Spiritual Gifts Given the Stake President” in the December 2009 Ensign magazine.
The experience is always the same because two General Authorities sent to reorganize a stake feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to receive the same inspiration before the calling is extended. The Spirit of the Lord accompanies them and confirms the selection process.
The experience is always different because the man called varies from stake to stake; in age, leadership, education, abilities, etc.
When Elder Higham and Elder Wilson reorganized the Saratoga Stake over the weekend their experience was probably similar to other times for them. But it was radically different for our family since the new Saratoga Stake President is Dad/Brent.
Brent has large shoes to fill since President Hodgman has done a wonderful job leading the saints in the Saratoga Stake for the past nine years. While President Hodgman may be vying for a coveted position in the Primary now, he’ll always feel like “President” Hodgman to me. I still think of John Ludwig as President Ludwig so the title just seems to stick.
It was a weekend of spiritually tender moments which I’m sure I’ll write more blog posts about here and there. But, I’m happy for Brent to have the opportunity to serve. He loves to be busy and I think spending time on church service beats hobbies in terms of growth and development.
And what is my role in all of this? Well, for one thing, I felt compelled to remind the stake members that Brent isn’t perfect. Most people who’ve worked with him already know this but I didn’t want anyone too surprised if Brent nods off accidentally in a meeting or calls them by the wrong name, etc. Like all of us, he’s human (even if he thinks he’s cornered the market on an endless supply of energy). So, superpowers notwithstanding, Brent's human albeit a really hard working human.
Now that I’ve forewarned the stake members not to expect perfection, my next self appointed duty is to keep Brent grounded and make sure hearing the “president” title doesn’t go to his head. There are definitely some accolades that go along with the job and he’ll deserve all the thanks and appreciation. But when all is said and done, there is a lot to be said about humility whether you’re a stake president or a nursery leader.
“The president of the stake is the officer called under revelation to stand between the bishops of wards and the General Authorities of the Church. He is trained by the General Authorities, and in turn he trains the bishops.” - President Gordon B. Hinckley