When we met with the Presiding Bishopric to make plans for a Church News series on the Church’s temporal affairs, we proposed what we thought might be a good idea.
We would interview Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé and his counselors, Bishop W. Christopher Waddell and Bishop L. Todd Budge, in their office in the Church Office Building. We knew they were busy and didn’t want to take up too much of their time. We would schedule something between their meetings and be on our way.
However, Bishop Caussé wasn’t quite settled with this idea. He proposed another plan — conduct interviews away from Church headquarters to help members see what the Presiding Bishopric really does. We readily agreed.
On three separate days, we interviewed the Presiding Bishopric at three places — the bishops’ storehouse at Welfare Square, the under-construction Layton Utah Temple and a meetinghouse near Ensign Peak north of downtown Salt Lake City.
Among their schedules, and those of our videographers and photographers, as well as the availability of the three sites, this plan required significantly more planning and coordination.
But we did it, and I believe the series is better because of it.
Sitting in the back of the chapel in the Ensign Peak meetinghouse, Bishop Budge said: “Bishop Caussé often reminds us that we are not the Church; headquarters is not the Church. The Church is made up of millions of members across the world that live in wards and stakes, and we’re here to serve them.”
The Church is about people, Bishop Caussé emphasized. “We travel the world, and I’m always humbled by the faithful members we meet in every country, on every continent. The Church is all about people.”
The Church is not solely an organization — “it’s a support system,” he said.
“The gospel is really in the life of other people,” he continued. “It is about someone being baptized. It’s about a young man receiving the priesthood or a young woman going to the temple for the first time and being baptized for one of her ancestors. It’s about families gathering together, congregations gathering together, and partaking of the sacrament every Sunday.
“The gospel is a simple thing. … At the end of the day, it is about the simple things of life — the reason why we are here and where we are going and how we can return to our Heavenly Father and receive all the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I’m grateful for the simplicity of the gospel, and I testify it is true.”
Bishop Waddell described what he has learned during his time in the Presiding Bishopric: “I’ve been serving in the bishopric for almost seven years, and like most people, I had no idea of the role and the extent of what the Presiding Bishopric does. I’m still learning. But one of the things I’ve learned is … the Lord’s care for the one. That was the Savior’s example.”
He referenced the New Testament parable of the good Samaritan. “There’s a great lesson there,” Bishop Waddell said. “Who is our neighbor? Everyone is our neighbor. … We reach out to everyone, whatever their circumstances may be, wherever they may be from, whatever race or religion. We’re here to bless everyone that we can bless.”
Writing the Inside Church Headquarters series on the Presiding Bishopric and learning how the Church’s temporal affairs are managed reaffirmed my testimony of the Lord’s restored Church. The Savior Jesus Christ does indeed guide His Church through living prophets and apostles. And the Church is indeed all about people. It’s about us. It’s about helping all of God’s children return home to Him and receive the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement.
Sister Reyna I. Aburto, former second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, taught during April 2022 general conference: “The Church is more than the buildings and the ecclesiastical structure; the Church is us, the members. We are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with Christ at the head and the Prophet as His mouthpiece. …
“Sisters and brothers, let us realize how privileged we are to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ, where we can unite our faith, hearts, strengths, minds and hands for Him to perform His mighty miracles.”
— Sydney Walker is a reporter for the Church News.