Latest from Mormon Land: Is saying no to a calling saying no to the Lord?

Also: General Conference highlights; a 17M milestone; a peacemaking plea; the benefits of rest; and the mill Brigham wanted built.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Lay bishops extend callings, or volunteer opportunities, to members of their congregations.

The Mormon Land newsletter is The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly highlight reel of developments in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Support us on Patreon and get the full newsletter, exclusive access to Tribune subscriber-only religion content and podcast transcripts.

Who’s calling?

The church’s General Handbook states that leaders should not extend callings in a “casual manner.”

Quite the opposite, in fact. It instructs them to explain that the calling “has come from the Lord.”

It might be hard to say no to deity. But what if that bishop or stake president got it wrong? What if the inspiration or revelation didn’t come from heaven?

That’s why Wheat & Tares blogger Bishop Bill refused to utter those words during his five years overseeing a Latter-day Saint congregation.

“One thing I would never say is ‘The Lord has called you to …’ That felt very presumptuous,” he writes. “I would sometimes say ‘We feel inspired’ to call you to such and such, but inspiration can come from common sense as much as it can from a higher power. More often than not I would just say, ‘We’d like to call you as the new Primary president.’”

So, which approach do you think is best?

General Conference highlights

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) President Russell M. Nelson speaks at General Conference on Palm Sunday, April 2, 2023.

• President Russell Nelson didn’t take to the pulpit Saturday — the first time since he became the faith’s top leader that he went a full day at General Conference without giving a talk — but he more than made up for it Sunday morning with his passionate plea to eliminate contention and become peacemakers. (His speech, Salt Lake Tribune columnist Gordon Monson writes, was spot on.)

• Nelson capped the conference Sunday afternoon by announcing 15 new temples, including the church’s first in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation. He now has announced 133 new temples, 42% of the 315 existing or planned temples.

Apostle Jeffrey Holland was absent from the weekend sessions after testing positive for COVID-19.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The Young Women General Presidency, effective Aug. 1, 2023. From left to right: first counselor Tamara W. Runia, President Emily Belle Freeman and second counselor Andrea Muñoz Spannaus.

• A new Young Women general presidency, led by Emily Belle Freeman, will begin serving Aug. 1.

• The church’s global membership has topped 17 million, boosted by a 26% post-pandemic surge last year in convert baptisms.

• The auditing report made no mention of the $5 million fine the church paid to the federal government for failing to properly disclose past stock holdings.

• Read full summaries of the conference speeches and announcements from Saturday and Sunday.

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

The latest ‘Mormon Land’ podcast: How to become peacemakers

Scholars Patrick Mason and David Pulsipher, co-authors of “Proclaim Peace: The Restoration’s Answer to an Age of Conflict,” discuss President Russell Nelson’s call to cast off contention and cultivate peacemaking. Listen to the podcast.

‘I will give you rest’

(Nam Y. Huh | AP) Bill Murray sings "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch in 2017.

Baseball season is a week old, so let’s go to our next life lesson from the diamond.

Seventh inning • Every game pauses for a seventh-inning stretch.

Whether it’s a spring-training matchup in Bradenton or a World Series showdown in Boston, the game stops before the bottom of the seventh. Organs play, fans rise, and people sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” By the time they reach for the “peanuts and Cracker Jack,” they may notice what this ritual is teaching us:

Work hard and play hard, but never get too busy to take a break.

Vacations and time off have been employment staples for decades. But today’s enlightened workplaces increasingly include nap rooms to help make up for widespread sleep deprivation, which costs U.S. employers billions a year in productivity, according to the Sleep Foundation.

Studies also show that a little shuteye — about 15 to 20 minutes a day — can do a lot for employee efficiency, productivity and creativity. Turns out, if you don’t snooze, you lose.

Jacinda’s valedictory

(Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gives a Book of Mormon to New Zealand's then-prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, in Wellington, New Zealand, in 2019.

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s former prime minister and a former Latter-day Saint, gave her farewell speech to Parliament this week, extending an invitation to all to consider public service.

“You can be anxious, sensitive, kind and wear your heart on your sleeve,” Ardern said, according to The Guardian. “You can be a mother, or not, an ex-Mormon, or not, a nerd, a crier, a hugger — you can be all of these things, and not only can you be here — you can lead.”

From The Tribune

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Richards Grist Mill in Farmington on Thursday, March 23, 2023.

• Brigham Young ordered this mill built and it eventually became one of Utah’s most famous restaurants. Now, a new deal will preserve it forever.

• Here’s how the church is helping homeless individuals in Utah.

• Tribune guest columnist Eli McCann notes that while most fast and testimony meetings are ho-hum, some turn into real humdingers.

• What “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” series gets right and, mostly, wrong about the church and its members.

• Some students at BYU-Idaho are pushing back against the school’s planned commencement speaker, Brad Wilcox, a counselor in the Young Men general presidency, after his controversial remarks on race last year.

Southern Utah University, meanwhile, is plowing forward with its planned graduation speaker, apostle Jeffrey Holland, later this month despite objections from the LGBTQ community.

• A registered nurse states that most U.S. Latter-day Saints are failing to follow the church’s Word of Wisdom health code.