“Councils Require Diverse Perspective”

David B. Ostler

"Bridges: Ministering To Those Who Question" p.150-151

“These councils are key to addressing issues of faith because they require diverse perspective and organizational involvement. We need to go out of our way to support and make sure that everyone in our councils feels comfortable expressing their unique perspectives. Just as with women, the same is true for others who are not usually represented in Church leadership. When these individuals are not in our councils, we need to find them, ask them questions, and make sure their voices are heard.

We can invite them to sit in on a council meeting to contribute to a discussion on a specific topic or ask a leader to meet with a group of people, listen to them, and report their thoughts back to the council. We need to prayerfully consider what kind of perspectives we need to include in our council meetings to make sure we truly understand the problems we are trying to solve and perhaps call those individuals to be council members. We also need diversity in our councils to help ensure we see issues from all angles and meet the needs of everyone in our congregations.

…When we take the time to seek out and understand the viewpoints of those ward members who are different than us, we will inevitably make better decisions. On the other hand, the inspiration we receive from God may be limited when we don’t take the time to learn about challenges from those who are most familiar with them.

… President M. Russell Ballard used this quote in two of his general conference addresses and in his book Counseling With Our Councils… President Ballard says, “Ideally, all members of any Church or any family council should share their concerns and should suggest solutions based on gospel principles. I believe the Church and our families would be strengthened if stake presidents and bishops would use their council meetings for finding answers to [our most important] questions.”