Unless you count my Mission President who later became one, I have only been interviewed by a General Authority once in my life. I was serving on a High Council when a new Stake President was called. The visiting GA interviewed all the High Councilors and Bishops. It was short. I was happy for the new President.
I’m in a different stake now. Our Stake President is leaving to serve as a Mission President. Funny, that’s what happened to the last Stake President. Elder Lynn Robbins is the visiting GA. I don’t think the Stake Financial Clerk (that’s me) is on the interview list. I’ll be happy for the new Stake President and continue to serve.
I got to thinking about how I have changed in the thirteen years since my interview with a General Authority. I took a stroll down memory lane as I was driving home from work today. I thought about my testimony and wondered if it had grown. I decided to conduct my own interview and share it as a journal entry on my blog.
By the way, this is not the way my interview with the GA went way back when. He asked two questions: 1) “Tell me about your family,” and 2) “Who do you think should be the Stake President?” He had such a short amount of time and at least twenty-five men to interview. If I remember correctly, there was also a member of the Area Presidency in the meeting. I assume they compared notes afterwards.
GA: So, Brother Malone, tell me about yourself.
Me: I’m a life-long member, happy with what the church has done for me and happy to serve wherever I’m asked.
GA: Tell me what the church has done for you.
Me: My first thoughts go to Primary and Sunday school, Seminary and Institute. The church gave me an organized and focused foundation early in my life for studying and learning the gospel.
GA: And you appreciate that.
Me: I do. If there’s anything that defines me it’s that I like to study the doctrines of the church, organize them in my mind and then share them on my blog.
GA: Oh, so you’re a blogger. Tell me about that.
Me: I like to think of my blog as a way to check my gospel understanding. I write what I think are orthodox, standard positions of the church on difficult subjects and then throw them out there for comment. I am always surprised at the response.
GA: Why is that?
Me: Because there is such a diversity of opinions out there on what is orthodox. I think I’ve discovered that you can believe just about anything and be a member of this church.
GA: [laughs] Indeed. The gospel net gathers of every kind. What do you believe?
Me: About the church?
GA: Yes. How does the church bless you today?
Me: Two things come to mind right away: Fellowship and service. I love to worship with the Saints and I appreciate the opportunity to help the Stake Presidency with their heavy responsibilities.
GA: I understand you serve as the Stake Financial clerk. Do you enjoy that?
Me: I do. I believe the Lord has helped me become equal to the challenge. Besides, I enjoy helping other financial clerks. The main task is sharing how to use MLS.
GA: If you could choose any calling in the church, what would it be?
Me: It doesn’t matter, but I miss teaching the gospel on a regular basis.
GA: Why is that?
Me: Teaching requires study and preparation. I need that challenge of making sure I understand what the Lord wants to be taught.
GA: But the church provides the material to be taught.
Me: I understand. It’s not the material the people remember. It’s how they felt.
GA: What do you mean?
Me: Sitting in a Sunday school class should be a spiritual experience. Yes, it’s a time when the doctrines of the gospel are discussed but more importantly, it’s when spirits are fed. There should be “ah-ha” moments as Saints realize they can do what the Lord has asked them to do. That’s why the Lord gave us the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon – to show that we can come to know the Savior.
GA: Tell me about the Savior.
Me: I wish I could say I “know” Him, but at this point in my life I can only say I know about Him. I know He loves me. I know He helps me. I know He sends angels to help me. I have spent most of my life learning about Him and hope to learn more, so much more, before I meet Him in the next world. I love to hear stories about Him, especially from those who say they have met Him in this life.
GA: That’s one of the marvelous things about this Church, isn’t it?
Me: What do you mean?
GA: That we teach each other about the Savior and can learn from each other.
Me: It is. But I long for the day when I can learn from him directly. I have come to a point in my life where it seems everything I read in the scriptures tells me that He wants to reveal Himself to us. The spirit also tells me He has things to share with us that He can only do with a personal visit. I am working on trying to understand what I must do to be ready for whatever it is He wants to share in person.
GA: That’s a wonderful desire. Most people are content knowing that they will meet Him in the life to come. They live their lives as best they can, obeying His commandments and enduring faithfully to the end.
Me: And up until a few years ago, I would have responded the same way. I can’t tell you what it is, but something is driving me to learn all I can about the steps to part the veil and converse with the Lord in this life. I know it requires a kind of faith that I don’t yet have. I have a running conversation with my Heavenly Father every day about what I should work on next to prepare me for that glorious day.
GA: I commend you for your efforts. I’m sure the day will come if you are faithful. Now, who do you think should be the next Stake President of your stake?