Tomorrow morning, I will attend a Stake Conference meeting in which I will not be unveiled as a newly called and ordained Stake President. But I will see another man have that happen to him, and shortly thereafter, I will raise my right hand to sustain him and his chosen counselors. In the minutes that follow the sustaining, I will almost certainly hear from the men who have served these past many years in a Stake Presidency that, in my opinion, should go down in history as one of the all time greats.
(President Clayton, and Presidents Watson and Silva–I love and respect you all profoundly and am so sad to no longer sit as audience to your collective voice, kindness, wisdom, and spirit on a regular basis.)
After they are done speaking, I will hear a few words from each of the newly called leaders, and then finally from the visiting General Authority (in this case, it happens to be Elder Michael T. Ringwood). Although their messages will vary slightly from person to person, there will undoubtedly be a common theme: succession. No matter the level in the hierarchy, every time I have seen succession take place in the Church this same theme is pounded upon over and over: The Spirit moved upon those who were responsible for the calling and revealed to them who should be selected from the pool of eligible, worthy candidates. We will be encouraged to take the messages home, to pray over them, and to seek a witness for ourselves that the new leaders were in fact called by revelation through the proper channels. It is entirely appropriate for the principles and teachings regarding succession in the LDS Church to be discussed during successions, and I can only imagine that the entire proceeding must be quite fascinating for someone seeing it for the first time. I can also imagine that, if I was the newly called leader and was staggering under the weight of the responsibility, I would likely find comfort from hearing several additional people state their belief that the right call was made.
Admittedly, there have been times when I’ve felt like the repetitive testifying that “the right person was called” evokes feelings of insecurity–a feeling that the leaders sense great waves of doubt or cynicism wafting through the congregation, daring them to furnish additional evidence and proof that the Lord’s will was done.
Other times, however, I have found great meaning and had some powerful and wonderful spiritual experiences during succession. Such was the case when my current Bishop was called and sustained almost exactly one year ago. On that occasion, I wrote:
Despite, or maybe because of, the complete and utter lack of surprise when your name was presented for sustaining, there entered into our chapel a spirit and peaceful energy that firmly and undeniably witnessed to me–as well as to many others present—that you had been called of God. It was extraordinary.
Regardless of how tomorrow plays out for me, it is unlikely that we’ll see great schism as a result of the proceedings. There will probably be a handful of people present who are not comfortable saying in advance as I did above that they will sustain the new leadership–people who will not make that decision until game time, depending on who is called. However, I don’t think it will require angels or translated beings or flocks of seagulls to ensure that nearly everyone will leave the Stake Center with a general feeling of certainty that, at the bare minimum, the world will not end and the Stake Christmas function will take place once again.
I’m curious to hear about some of the success-ions and suck-cessions you’ve witnessed or been a part of. However, I’d like this to be an inspirational thread for the most part, so Suck-cession stories are only welcome if they’re fantastically awesome and won’t make me regret posting this.
 I will also get extremely frustrated with my two children who will ask me over and over why they can’t go to primary/nursery yet, and why we’re sitting (probably) in a dark gymnasium on hard chairs.
 Let’s hope not, anyway.
 If you have to ask whether your story is questionable, I suggest that you read my entire body of writing here at BCC and then make the call.