Saturday, June 14, 2008

vocab explanation

I sometimes forget that anyone besides my family actually reads this blog! A lot of that is because most of you who comment feel like family! Anywho, Hobbit had a great question:

What does "stake" mean? It's actually a church term. I belong to "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. (um, no, not the Fundamentalist LDS...they're a whole different group.) Unfortunately we seem to have a different language! So, to help define a bit about "stakes", I offer the following. I also offer the above links for even more answers.

Short answer: It's like a church congregation, only several congregations put together.

Longer, more detailed information and answer:

When I first heard this term it was like: "We're having a meeting Thursday down at the stake house." I heard steak house and thought, "Wow! This is a church I can get used to!" I was surprised to find out it was just a bigger building!

The church is very organized. The Head of the Church is of course Jesus Christ. Then come the First Presidency, General Authorities, Area Authorities, "Stakes", and "Wards". The first three are pretty self explanatory, then we get to "stakes and wards"! First a "ward".

Ward is to congregation as potato is to potahto! They are the same, just in LDS-speak. Usually there are about 400 to 900 or so families in each "ward". Each "ward" has it's own leadership and authority for the people who live within the "ward boundaries" or geographic area. In the LDS church, folks go to a specific building and time according to where they live, not according to which chapel, Bishop/leadership/whatever they prefer. So if you live here, you go here. If you live there, you go there. Easy peasy! Every ward in the entire church worldwide studies the exact same lessons at the same time, so really it doesn't matter if you're here or there, you'll pretty much hear the same message, just delivered by a different person and their delivery of the subject matter. This works out great if you travel, you never miss a Sunday School lesson, they're on the same schedule your home ward is!

A "Stake" is another geographic area, comprised of and having authority and stewardship for/over a certain group of "wards" in a region. Usually there are about 9 to 14 "wards" in each "stake. The "Stake" is there to sustain, train, and support those within the wards, and provide opportunities for Spiritual growth. Each Stake has a 3 member presidency and high counselors that preside over wards when necessary. Conferences, leadership meetings and other events and activities are held throughout the year to provide opportunities to serve, train, fellowship, and generally have fun getting to know each other in the wards as we all build our testimonies of Christ and grow Spiritually.

The term "stake" came from the Old Testament, in reference to the temple. The temple in the Old Testament was a tent that was able to move from locale to locale. When set up, the "stakes" were driven into the ground to help support and secure the temple, so the members of the church could worship and grow Spiritually. Essentially our "stakes" are there to do the same thing, support the members of the church as they worship, serve, and grow.

I, because I am a woman, belong to the world's largest womens' organization! The Relief Society. Originally organized to teach, train, and provide relief for the families in the early church, this world wide organization continues to provide service and support, training and Spiritual opportunities not only in the church but throughout our communities and the world. Each ward has a Relief Society Presidency, and each stake also has a Relief Society Presidency. I am the Education Counselor in our Stake Relief Society Presidency. I have many duties and opportunities to serve, which I LOVE!

No one in the church is compensated monetarily for their service, it's all volunteer! From the top to the bottom, everyone serves willingly because they want to. I cannot tell you how much I have learned from all the church "callings" I have had. Which leads me to "callings".

In the church no one aspires to nor rejects a "calling". (Yes, sometimes people do both, but the general idea is that we don't! People are people after all!) We believe a person is called of God by and through proper Priesthood Authority to specific positions in the church, a Sunday School Teacher, a Music Chorister, a Counselor in any of the many auxiliaries, even passing out the programs for the Sunday Meetings! Usually the person feels inadequate to fulfill their responsibilities or duties, but that is the blessing of being called by God instead of seeking a certain job...The Lord builds you up to the call and you learn so much by serving!

So there you go. A really long explanation and then some! If anyone has any other questions regarding my vocabulary or about the church in general, I don't claim to know everything, but hey, I'll sure try to answer the best I can!

Thanks so much!!!

and also, if I have misrepresented or given out goofed up info, hey -someone send me up a flag!

add to sk*rt


Lisa M. said...


I think you hit the nail, right on target~!

S'mee said...

Thanks Lisa! Was it loooong enough? hehe!

chronicler said...

Oh holy canoli! I think you stated it perfectly. I thought we were going to dinner too! Instead it turned into a big old boring meeting.

Funny when you were explaining how to find Thor's office yesterday, you said to look for the board room & leave the stuff there. Then I thought, as you went on explaining, how the room got that name. Then I thought it had been spelled wrong all along. It's the bored room.

S'mee said...

heheh! "bored room"!

The Hobbit said...

Hi s'mee Just had to say thanks for the explanation. God I'm glad I didn't ask you to explain the theory of relativity you probable could do that to.Just kidding. Very informative I really do appreciate it.Is Thor a Firefighter?? One of my boys is.He is retired with a permanent rotater injury after 20 years of service. I can relax a little more now.

S'mee said...

Hobbit, nope, Thor isn't but our #1 is! Currently he is an Engineer and the Tillerman. He is also on an expert team that travel to all parts and then some training auto extrication. He LOVES his job!

I have a book on that theory if ya wanna borrow it! teehee! Yeah, Ive been accused many times of being a tad verbose. Thanks! It was actually fun answering a good question.

melissa c said...

Well done sista! You hit the nail on the head in my opinion.

Adán said...

Good answer. I think you covered just about everything. Except that most Stake activities usually do include some kind of food (sadly, that food is very seldom steak :( but oh well).

S'mee said...

Mel and Adan, thanks! Adan, you bring up a very good point! lol