Ann Romney described the "adjustment" she and her husband made -- going from being surrounding by crowds and Secret Service agents to, after Mitt Romney's loss in November, being by themselves again. She likened it to serving in different positions in their church.
I want to clarify her comment for people who don't know much about how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates. Generally speaking, there are no paid positions within the Church, and everything done at a local level is done by a lay clergy comprising the members of the Church in that area. A stake is comprised of about 10 congregations called wards, each led by a stake president who oversees the ten bishops leading those congregations. Stake leadership is called by the General Authorities of the LDS Church, and stake leaders call the bishops of wards with the approval of the General Authorities (such as the Prophet and Apostles)."In our church, we're used to serving and you know, you can be in a very high position, but you recognize you're serving. And now all of a sudden, you're released and you're nobody," she said. "And we're used to that. It's like we came and stepped forward to serve. And you know, the other part of it was an amazing thing, and it was really quite a lot of energy and a lot of passion and a lot of -- a lot of people around us and all of a sudden, it was nothing."
Here is an excerpt on the topic from Mormonnewsroom.org:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints functions in large measure because of the unpaid volunteer ministry of its members. In fact, this lay ministry is one of the Church’s most defining characteristics. In thousands of local congregations or “wards” around the world, members voluntarily participate in “callings” or assignments that provide meaningful opportunities to serve one another. It is common for Church members to spend 5-10 hours a week serving in their callings. Some callings, such as a bishop, women’s Relief Society president, or stake president may require 15-30 hours per week.As you may recall, Mitt Romney served as both a bishop and later a stake president in the Boston area. However, callings do not generally come as a ranking within the Church.
Callings in the Church are not sought after or campaigned for. Members are simply asked to be willing to accept assignments that come to them through Church leaders. These leaders seek inspiration through prayer about whom to call. Church members, for the most part, are willing to accept these callings.
For example, a member may serve as the leader of several congregations totaling thousands of Church members for a period of time, and, after concluding that service, he may be asked to teach a youth Sunday school class for a few 15-year-olds in a local congregation. Service, in whatever capacity, is viewed as contributing to the well-being of fellow congregants and the broader community.Yup. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have callings which teach them to love and serve each other as they follow Jesus Christ. You are welcome to see this in action for yourselves and meet your Mormon neighbors by attending your local LDS meetinghouse (church).