Why Buy the Cow? (Weekend Poll)

By: wheatmeister
November 30, 2013

Have you ever been given a calling that capitalized on your professional skills?  What about one that required you to do for free what you normally charge for?  Some professions are more easily exploited than others:  CPAs, lawyers, day care providers, photographers, piano teachers, web designers, film makers and contractors.  Is it taking advantage to expect people to do for free what they normally charge money for in their professional lives?  Is that part and parcel of consecrating your time and talents to the church?  Where should we draw the line?

Should people be given callings that require them to do for free at church what they do for pay in their regular lives? (Choose up to two answers)

  • Yes, within reasonable time limits. (57%, 39 Votes)
  • Yes, unless they object. (34%, 23 Votes)
  • Yes, provided that it helps (through exposure and referrals) and doesn't hurt (by reducing paying customers) their financial business. (29%, 20 Votes)
  • Depends on the nature of their work. (21%, 14 Votes)
  • No, they should consecrate their time and talents however they are asked. (10%, 7 Votes)
  • Depends on the monetary value of their work. (6%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 68

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Have you ever been asked to do something that made you uncomfortable because it infringed on your professional life or business?  Why did it make you uncomfortable?  Discuss.

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14 Responses to Why Buy the Cow? (Weekend Poll)

  1. Angie on November 30, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    I am a high school counselor, and I have had callings in the Young Women program. I don’t mind. It is my responsibility to say “no” when I am being taken advantage of.

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  2. hawkgrrrl on November 30, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    I have a good friend who runs an elder care franchise. One of the difficulties with his business is that wards often rally to fit this need at no cost. He’s got plenty of non-LDS clients and families with greater needs, but if he were asked to coordinate elder care schedules for free in his ward, I would think that would be over the line.

    I also know someone who is a photographer who keeps getting called as “ward event photographer” to do free photos for the ward stuff. I believe she’s frustrated when it’s the only calling she gets, but it has the potential to drum up new business through exposure.

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  3. log on November 30, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    “… your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you…”

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  4. ji on November 30, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    The scripture says the laborer is worthy of his hire.

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  5. KT on November 30, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    I can see the sense in people giving thier talents for free and it’s their choice, but, the church takes it to a whole other level, between callings and senior ‘missions’…….. I feel it’s exploitive when looking at it as a whole.

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  6. MB on November 30, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    I believe my talents are a gift from God and God definitely had a hand in my landing the job I have and the work I enjoy. Giving some back to God and good works, gratis, is just fine in my book.

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  7. Jace on November 30, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    I think it is only a problem when people only get callings that mirror their unique talents, thus preventing them from receiving different callings and losing opportunities to grow in different ways or to help other people. For example, I have a very musically gifted friend who only gets music callings (which greatly frustrates her).

    As far as I know, I can’t think of any situation/calling that would exploit a member’s talents. Talents are a blessing and it is a blessing to give back without the expectation of money. If the Church needs lawyers/accountants/musicians/photographers/web designers/whatever, they get a job with the Church, not exploited.

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  8. Hedgehog on November 30, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    A brother of mine was involved in the early development & admin of a website used by members here, which was then merged with a European site that didn’t work so well and was very buggy. I asked him for advice when friends were having problems using the site, he was no longer involved at that point, but he did say he had told them (the church people) that really they needed to employ somebody to look after it properly.

    Sometimes, employing someone is the fair thing to do. Volunteers also have to earn a living, have families to support etc. There is only so much time they can give.

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  9. Will on December 1, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    At the U (the good school in Utah for those that live out of state) I had a tax accounting professor that would send students a bill if they came to him with questions when they were no longer in his class.

    I don’t send a bill; rather, when members call with questions I give them numbers and say here are some people that “would be a lot less expensive than my hourly rate”.

    I have never taken advantage of another member in this way, I have always hired or self preformed such service. That is theft of services.

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  10. Jace on December 1, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    Another thing I thought of: the Church’s humanitarian efforts. Aside from a handful of paid administrators at the top, the rest of LDS Charities’ work is carried out by volunteers. Personally, I am good friends with 2 medical doctors and a physical therapist who regularly travel to Indian, Africa, and Eastern Europe on a regular basis. The Church covers travel, food, and board, but that’s it. They give of their own time to donate their knowledge and talents. Do you think they should be paid for that? I asked my friends that and they abhor the idea. They are happy to give.

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  11. Brian on December 1, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    I have been self employed for almost all of my adult life. As a CPA for 30+ years, I was happy to help when called regarding those who needed help and couldn’t afford it. When people from the ward would call with questions, I would answer the questions I could. I thought of them as friends and was happy to help.

    When it came to people on church assistance, in some cases I prepared tax returns. Those were unusual situations and far and few between. I looked at it as they needed help and that was the best way I could help them. I never lacked for work and why not use my best skill to help others? I never felt like someone was taking advantage of me.

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  12. Will on December 1, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    “Sometimes, employing someone is the fair thing to do”

    Amen. The greatest service you can do for someone is to provide a job. The church needs to hire people to clean the buildings and maintain the yards.


    I totally agree with volunteerism. Like most active members I have donated countless hours, especially in leadership positions. I have also donated hundreds of hours in canneries and church farms.

    I am just very sensitive to people making a living. I would much rather hire someone, than have the ward help me move for instance. I have seen the demoralization unemployment causes.

    I was in a leadership position in 2008 when the economy collapsed. We were planning service projects for the upcoming year and one of the young men jokingly suggested we go bowling. I thought about it for a minute and almost approved it as it really is a service project as it provides jobs.

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  13. Frank Pellett on December 1, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    There is a difference between providing jobs and doing service yourself. Doing service is not all about helping other people, part of it is in the growth you get by serving. There’s also a danger in deciding to “provide jobs” of seperating yourself from those you serve, placing yourself above them. If you throw enough money at people, you don’t have to care about them.

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  14. Will on December 1, 2013 at 11:02 PM


    Which is why missionary and temple work are the best forms of service. They provide the benefits you discussed without putting someone else out of work. (I suppose pastors from other faiths could be a little upset at the sheep stealing,)

    Years ago a sports announcer got himself in trouble in Utah (not by me, I was cheering with the comment) for saying “the selection committee doesn’t like sending BYU to bowl games because the Mormon fans bring with them the 10 commandments and a $100 bill and don’t break either” (I thought $100 my butt, more like $10)

    Among other things, this is why I roll my eyes at BYU fans and some LDS members. They are such tight wads. For heaven sake hire some movers, hire a reception center, hire someone to do your taxes, hire someone to fix your appliances or hire a handyman. These people need the work. Being so tight creates what us called a paradox of thrift in economics.

    Again, sometimes the best act of service you can provide is creating a job. And paying someone to be poor (government welfare) damages souls.

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