During the priesthood session of the April 1982 general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley of the First Presidency spoke of the manner in which the Lord calls His servants.
President Hinckley related that during a brief period of time preceding the conference, two letters had been received. The import of the letters, said President Hinckley, "was to complain that eligibility to serve in responsible office in the Church is equated with financial success, that in order for one to qualify to serve as a bishop or stake president it is necessary to demonstrate a capacity to gather and husband wealth, and that men of modest means and humble vocations never seem to qualify."If that is the perception, I am sorry, because it is a false perception," declared President Hinckley. "Out of the experience of nearly a quarter of a century in organizing and reorganizing scores of stakes, I can say that the financial worth of a man was the least of all considerations in selecting a stake president. One of the most loved and able presidents I know, in whose humble home I have stayed, is a carpenter by trade who earns his living with his tools. He presided over a stake in which lived many men of affluence who looked to him with love and respect as their leader."
President Hinckley explained that the stake president must be the spiritual anchor in the stake. He also must be able to manage the complex affairs of the stake, and therefore he must have administrative ability or at least the capacity to learn. On occasion, he stands as a judge of the people and must be a man of wisdom and discernment.
"I think I speak for all of my brethren when I say that in selecting a man to preside over a stake of Zion there is much of prayer with much of seeking the will of the Lord, and only when that will is recognized is action taken," President Hinckley said.
"It is with us as it was with Samuel when he was sent to find a successor to Saul. When the first of Jesse's sons EliabT passed by, a fine-looking man, Samuel was favorably impressed.
" `But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature or I might add parenthetically, on his financial statementT; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for the man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.' (1 Sam. 16:7.)
"I am confident," continued President Hinckley, "that it is so, likewise, with stake presidents in nominating men to serve as bishops, and with others in the selection of various Church officers. . . . Personal worthiness is the key to fitness for office in the kingdom of God."
Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the Gospel Doctrine course of study.
Information compiled by Gerry Avant and Kellene Ricks.
Sources: Old Testament student manual, April 1981 and April 1982 general conference reports.