We have a scorcher of a topic this week, in the form of a letter from a member whose retirement-age husband has been asked, yet again, to help move a family he home teaches.  I’m sure this topic is going to cause a lot of heated debate, which is only appropriate in these sultry days (at least for our Northern Hemisphere readers).  I’ll let “Fed up in Fresno” introduce it in her own words:

I am so steamed I can’t see straight.  We got a call last night from a family my husband home teaches, informing us they’ll be moving to another home in the ward, and asking when they can expect my husband and the other high priests to show up on their doorstep and make the move.  There was no sense that the family thought this would be a privilege.  Indeed, they acted as though this was something they expected, just by virtue of being members of the ward.

What I want to know is why church members think it is their right to have a free priesthood moving service come in and transport their household goods whenever they decide to up and move.

I’m sure every priesthood holder in the Church has moving day horror stories.  On two occasions my husband has shown up to move a family who had not even begun to put their possessions in boxes.  (They didn’t even have boxes the men could use.)  Everything that was in the house (from broken toys to garbage) was carried to another location by elders and high priests while the homeowners stood there like grazing cattle and watched everyone else work.

My husband used to home teach one family that moved every year, like clockwork, always to another home in the ward.  To their credit, at least that family boxed up their possessions first.  They were also extremely grateful when the ward movers helped them, which is something that is not always the case.

On one occasion, the high priests were expected to pack up a couple and move them.  When the group leader asked why the man’s three grown sons weren’t helping, the man said he didn’t want to “bother” them.   Why was it more acceptable to recruit a quorum of older men than it was to “bother” the sons who had an emotional bond with the man who was moving (to say nothing of stronger backs)?

It’s one thing when a priesthood holder is young and strong.  This is an act of service that all of them have done from time to time, although it escapes me why men are expected to take a day off from their paying jobs to help a family in the ward move.   It’s quite another thing, however, when men are no longer young, and when they have assorted physical ailments that make heavy lifting painful and possibly life-threatening.   My husband “only” has sciatica (I’m sure he’d cringe at the word “only”).  Other high priests in our ward have arthritis, crippling autoimmune diseases, and bad hearts.  Who in his right mind would think these people are responsible for acting as a moving service?

What do church members out there think about ward moving services?  Is this a service that men should just buck up and continue doing, or is it time to call a halt to this churchwide tradition?

Fed Up in Fresno

P.S.  It might be important to say here that my family and I have moved several times, and that we have always used professional movers.

Wow, Fresno!  Talk about a topic that’s going to generate some interest!  I am very glad you put that postscript on your letter, because I think that may keep you from being pelted by moving boxes from people who have used the priesthood quorum moving services.

Okay, readers, the forum is yours.  Is the priesthood quorum moving service a tradition that has outlived its usefulness, or do you think priesthood holders should continue performing this particular act of service?  Is it ever okay to say no when asked to help someone move?  What are your experiences with moving ward members ? either as the person helping facilitate a move or a person being moved? 

Please send your comments to [email protected].  Put something in your subject line to let me know your letter isn’t spam.  By all means, do not use the form that is on this page, because those letters tend to get lost and people tend to get upset.  Write to the address in this paragraph, and your comments will reach me instead of some virtual garbage can.

Until next time ? Kathy

 “Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech,and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”

Buddha