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The bishop's role?


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#1 Bini

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 08:50 AM

I would like to know what the bishop's role encompasses. To what degree and to how far is a bishop involved in something? Do only spiritual aspects concern him? Or does his role extend to non-spiritual aspects? But don't all things have some affect on us spiritually? So what officially (doctrine wise) and unofficially (culturally acceptable) are a bishop's concerns and boundaries? I'm really not asking this for the sake of asking. I was with extended family for Thanksgiving and my relatives brought up an issue they were torn in how to handle. Husband had already kindly spoken to the neighbours about it (a couple times) but nothing has changed. His family and their family are both LDS. Another family member had suggested consulting the bishop to see what his recommendations would be in resolving things.

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#2 Dravin

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:13 AM

The doctrinal role of the Bishop is in administering in temporal things (See D&C 107:68) and being a Judge in Israel (See D&C 58:17 and 64:40). Considering the Bishopric is the Presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood (See D&C 107:15) it is also worthwhile to look at the duties of Deacons, Teachers, and Priests to get a feel for what concerns a Bishop (See D&C 20:46-59)
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#3 Vort

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:24 AM

Dravin outlines the "bishop" part of being an LDS Bishop, which involves Aaronic Priesthood duties. The Bishop is also the presiding high priest of the ward, and so has direct spiritual responsibility over all in the ward.

In practice, the Bishop typically concerns himself with temporal welfare, with determining and fulfilling spiritual needs, and with counseling those whom he thinks stand in need of counseling. In principle, the Bishop might concern himself with almost any aspect of the lives of his flock that he feels he could help in, including marital concerns, problems with children, issues of individual worthiness, relationships within the ward, job situations, grief counseling, helping out on the Scouting 50-miler, can Brother So-and-So borrow your car next week, and yes, difficulties between neighbors.
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#4 Wingnut

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:35 AM

Something to note also is that a bishop is steward over all the people who live within his ward boundaries, not just all the Church members within those boundaries.
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#5 NeuroTypical

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:38 AM

Bishop's duties are more or less clearly spelled out in his handbook. I was exec sec to a bishop of a young family with a wife with some health issues - his time was valuable. He put an end to several things previous bishops in the ward had done - like visiting the sick and dying - and made it known that was the function of home teachers and auxiliary leaders.

One old guy thought he was dying, and was a little put off when the bishop never visited. That was around 5-6 years ago, and the old guy is still a little miffed, even though he's still very much alive.
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#6 Quin

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:44 AM

I'm curious what the neighbor problem is?

Or, perhaps less specifically, if they don't want to bring it to the Bishop because its a MYOB thing?

I'm just reminded of a dinner I went to with a Catholic Priest who said that 99% of all neighbor disputes he was asked to intervene over in his parish ended up with him counseling the irritated party (instead of intervening with the party that was irritating them). Usually over the other party being completely legal/within their rights to park on a public street, or play music until 10pm (noise ordinance), or to not have their kids in bed the time the neighbors thought their kids should be in bed, hot tub skinny dipping, etc. The other 1% of the time were "reports to CPS &/or the police".

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#7 Bini

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 10:27 AM

I'm curious what the neighbor problem is?

Or, perhaps less specifically, if they don't want to bring it to the Bishop because its a MYOB thing?

The neighbours have a nuisance dog but it's understandable, apart from food and water left out, the animal is thrown in the backyard unattended all day and all night. So it barks and howls for attention and never stops. Apart from a few families, this neighbourhood mostly consists of retired folks in their golden years, some are quite elderly. According to family and some other neighbours, this has been going on for some time, and not much has been said to keep the peace. But to put it bluntly, nearby neighbours are fed up with it and would like this family to address the matter. Apparently, the family has been approached several times by various neighbours - nothing is ever done or changes. Animal control said that they would consider this situation a violation if they receive at least three signatures signing a complaint form. At that point, AC would make a visit to the family's home and force a resolve. I guess having to make an official complaint feels a bit of an aggressive approach for some, so it hasn't been followed through yet, and are looking for a less forceful last option. That's where the bishop suggestion came in.

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#8 Iggy

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 12:25 PM

Animal control said that they would consider this situation a violation if they receive at least three signatures signing a complaint form. At that point, AC would make a visit to the family's home and force a resolve. I guess having to make an official complaint feels a bit of an aggressive approach for some, so it hasn't been followed through yet, and are looking for a less forceful last option. That's where the bishop suggestion came in.


Signatures?? What a cop out for AC. Two or more vocal complaints via phone calls should be all that is required. It is for Oregon, Lincoln County - where I live. There is no time constraints either. Except that AC (sheriffs department) considers a dog barking for 15 minutes is plenty long enough.

They will do a drive by after the first call. They park and listen for the barking. If the dog is barking, they time it and after 15 minutes they go to the house and talk with the owners. They then follow up a day or three later. IF there are more called in complaints, they go to the house and ticket the owners. IF they dog is cooped up in an unclean area - they remove the dog, ticket the owners and they are then charged with animal neglect. Which carries a hefty fine in this part of Oregon.

The people who live behind me have a barking dog. They also do not clean up the poo from their yard. They thought that because it is their yard, and the dog is fenced in, everything was A-Okay. Well in the summer it isn't. That stench wafts over into my house via the windows. The dog barking non-stop is more than irritating.

They got warned, ticketed, and the three dogs were removed after the fourth visit from AC. There were two dogs in the house we never knew about. AC said that the 1/2 bath was the bathroom for the inside dogs. What a stinking mess - Children Services also got involved and removed the grandbaby from the house too. Didn't know there was a baby in the house either.

AC wanted to know if I wanted one of the dogs - was a real sweety, small lap dog. Heck no - I am owned by two indoor only cats.

Then there is the member neighbor one house down from me who has two dogs. Both are big. One is a chocolate lab. Not even a year old yet and as stupid as a pile of horse apples. The other is old, mange infested and sick. She puts leashes on them, but there is no human at the other end of the leashes!! It is impossible to scoop their poo - they are sick, it is runny and full of worms.

Someone at the bottom of the hill calls her when they see the AC truck head up to our neighborhood - so she runs out and hauls them into the house. Our truck has wood garbage in the back, so I can't put the dogs in it to haul them to the pound. No way am I putting those sick, mangy dogs in my car!

Our Branch President has talked to her until he is blue in the face. The Stake President has talked to her. They now know first hand what conversing to a brick wall is like. (not with mind you - but TO)

The landowner allowed her to move in on a rent to own basis. His sole reason: She is LDS. His previous dealings with LDS has been good. The first was the previous Branch President, then the LDS family who bought the Presidents house, one elderly couple who had to move in with their children out of town, then husband and myself. Though I have known the landowner for over 30 years - my being LDS was not his sole reason.

The Bishop can and should talk with all parties involved. The neighbors really do need to get AC out there and make AC write up the complaint and then the neighbors need to sign it.

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#9 Bini

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 02:42 PM

Thank you, Iggy. Yep, that's what I understood from the conversation that took place that day. At least three signatures signed on a complaint form. I too thought that so many phone calls (consistent at that) would be enough to warrant AC to step in. A long time ago I had worked at a pet resort that was built in a residential area. The employees were constantly reminded that any dogs barking or howling outback in the runs must be immediately removed and brought back in because of noise limitations.

No more dancing candy cane - hurrah!





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