Unlike rabbis, bishops usually have no formal training in theology, homiletics, psychology, etc. We come from all walks of life, and are expected to study and apply the rues and principles contained in church handbooks and manuals. Since we serve in a hierarchical church, we also meet regularly with our regional leaders to receive counsel and direction.
Following my recent ordination as a Mormon bishop, many Jewish friends have written to ask me what my new responsibilities are. Although I’ve only been at it for a month, I’ll do my best to outline my duties for my readers. Like rabbis, LDS bishops are chosen to be leaders of congregations. Unlike rabbis, bishops don’t apply for the job. Instead, they are chosen by the regional leader (stake president) and are expected to serve without pay until they are released. In addition, because Mormons are generally expected to attend the nearest congregation, the authority of a bishop is restricted to a defined geographical area. In my case, the borders of my ward (congregation) in Los Angeles are Fairfax Avenue on the west, Western Avenue on the east, Beverly Boulevard on the north, and Slauson Avenue on the south.
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