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The Lamest Calling

By Hildie Westenhaver

It seems like a million years ago when I went to my first Relief Society meeting as a grown-up. It was at BYU and I remember the lesson: it was about Visiting Teaching. I kind of had a grasp on what it was, having vaguely noticed my mother doing hers over the years. Our Relief Society teacher that day (the bishop’s wife, I think) stood up an informed us that being a Visiting Teacher is the most important calling we would ever have. I rolled my eyes. I was sure that the Relief Society president was slightly more important than me and my dumb Visiting Teaching.

Fast forward almost 25 years. I am now the Relief Society President and I am here to say that the Bishop’s wife was right on the money. Is it the most prestigious calling? Certainly not; most women kind of view Visiting Teaching as a lame, throw-away calling. But man, there is nothing more valuable to me that a sister who lovingly and regularly does her Visiting Teaching.

I had an episode with a sister in my ward last year who refused to let Visiting Teachers come over. She is relatively active but explained to me how she sees Visiting Teaching as nothing but a ploy for numbers. She would never call her Visiting Teachers for anything, she told me. She would call her friends instead. “Visiting teaching is a bunch of people pretending to like each other. It’s a waste of everyone’s time,” she announced. I’m glad we were on the phone and she couldn’t see me roll my eyes yet again—something I still do too much.

This is what I told her and what I tell the sisters in my ward. I don’t care how your Visiting Teaching gets done. I don’t care if you wear a skirt or go in yoga pants. I don’t care if you do a playdate with your sisters and their kids at the park, or invite your sisters out to lunch. I don’t care if you do it on the first day of the month or the last. I don’t care if sometimes it’s just a phone visit. I really don’t even care if you give the lesson.

This is what I care about: does she feel like she’s your friend? Do you listen to her and not talk too much about yourself? Do you make her feel like she can call you if something bad happens? Do you love her and can she feel that?

All I want from Visiting Teaching is for every sister in my ward to feel like they have somebody in their corner.

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