Monday, March 27, 2006

executive secretary

I haven't really explained the title of this blog, 'the executive', though I have hinted at times. My very first entry was titled 'executive secretary' and at some point I mentioned the great line from Ben Stiller in Mystery Men the one where he says "It's a's a Harley compatible, it's basically the same thing." In my stake, I am the executive...secretary, I'm the executive secretary, it's basically the same thing. I set the stake president's schedule and take notes, or at least when I do what I am supposed to do, I set schedules and take notes. It's really complicated work; imagine calling people to make a schedule, and then taking notes at meetings.

The calling does have a few fringe benefits. I can send a surge of panic in people just by calling them. And I get a preview of the people who will be speaking in stake conference. It's the kind of calling where I really can't think of anyone who is less-suited for it than me. Understand, I'm not being humble, like: "There are 100s of people more worthy, more capable, etc." Actually, it is a calling that demands a certain skill set (roughly detail-oriented, which means, roughly, arranging schedules and reminding people to come to meetings, and not forgetting to arrange schedules and remind people to come to meetings), a skill set I openly admit not having. And, actually it's not a skill set I have a real desire to develop now, or maybe ever, though I appreciate it in others. But I do like being in council with some of my heroes. And I do, on occasion, get to influence church practice. In one meeting (well this was when I was the secretary to the bishop) we were discussing adults who were not comfortable praying from the pulpit. I suggested that perhaps a member of the bishopric go up and (ala primary) whisper the prayer to the uncomfortable public-prayer. The response wasn't what I had hoped (i.e. the idea wasn't implemented), but still, I think that was among my proudest moments. I still like that image of the bishop or one of his counselors whispering the prayer to some 40 year old.

This last week we learned that a counselor in the stake presidency was moving. Our stake president asked to meet with each High Councilor to get his counsel for the departing councilor's replacement. Do I need to say that one does not explicitly jockey for church hierarchy positions? Anyway, I set up these meetings. When High Councilors asked why the stake president wanted to meet with them, I answered along these lines: "Well, he hasn't been really clear, but he would like you to prepare a 3-5 minute presentation on why you would make a good member of the stake presidency." I also like this image of some great guy awkwardly working in such a presentation, or inquiring about when it would occur.


  1. beautiful. it has been a while since i have heard anything from you. i think that i will keep up to date on your blog.

    tough job. did i ever tell you about the job i had splicing wires for my dad. it wasn't a church calling, but still an interesting job just the same.

  2. Oh the man of power, with his finger on the pulse of the stake. I believe I am well qualified for the position of first counselor in the stake presidency. My family has been members of the Church for seven generations. Why, it was my great-great-...grandfather that used to water Brigham Young's oxen each night while crossing Iowa. As a personal note, I have one of the strongest testimonies in town and I've reported 100% hometeacing since I was a deacon and companions with my dad (who is currently serving as a branch president). So if your stake president is looking for a guy who has what it takes, and doesn't mind the fact that I live in Texas, then I am your man. Oh, did I mention that I would do everything in my power to abolish boring high councilor talks. Only the most invigorating and charming orators would be asked to speak. In fact, that would be their new calling...give talks every fourth Sunday.

    ps. do you know where I can purchase a relatively inexpensive lightning rod?

  3. Ben, inherent in your reference to your Blog title is the upcoming problem of what you do when your calling is changed from "Executive" back to Hymn Book ditributor, the "janitor" of callings (no offense to Janitors out there, I love janitors, cleaning things, etc). Do you then change your blog name? You can hardly live up to "The Executive" as Hymn Book Distributor (AKA HBD)at that time. My blog name is Nivey which is a non-sensical word that means nothing and thus will always be a good name for my blog.

  4. So, are you going to announce who BP's replacement is on your blog? I have a few ideas. Do you want me to prepare a 3-5 minute presentation of who I think it should be? Let me know....

  5. Lindsey, go ahead and post your presentation as a comment. That is probably the best way at this point.


  6. ben,
    i saw your sister's daughter and your sister in the friend...was that Carolyn?

  7. Yes Stephanie, that was Carol. So now Lisa isn't the only person with a famous sibling yo! Watch yo back Maroon 5! The Friend is here and ready to kick it! Aaight!