There’s a shadow organization in the Church, a cadre of secret leaders who hold positions that sound impressive, like they got a promotion from one of the really important organizations at the ward level into something that should be even more powerful. And yet, what do they even do? Why do they matter? If they were all eliminated in the apocalypse, who would mourn their loss?

This week’s topic is perhaps the first one that many readers will agree feels . . . pointless. I’m talking of course about Stake Auxiliaries:

  • Stake YM / YW
  • Stake Relief Society
  • Stake Sunday School
  • High Council (if I may be so bold)
  • Stake Presidency itself (if I really want to go out on a limb)

Here are some contenders for why we have these callings and roles.

Straight-up Bureaucracy. Who else would attend all those meetings? Plus, it makes the Stake Presidency seem like he has a staff of department heads if we replicate the callings at the stake level, even though they don’t have a congregation.

Succession coverage. To cover (theoretical) gaps between presidencies at the ward level. This is just a guess. I’ve never actually seen it happen IRL, but it seems like it could be necessary in areas where the Church has less bench strength.

Training for ward leaders. This is one of the functions I’ve actually seen this group do, visiting local wards to make sure people know how to do their callings. Those who can no longer do, teach.

Correlation for wards. It’s easier to implement McChanges when you have layers in between who can oversee ten wards’ implementation plans for new curriculum or meeting changes. I did see this in evidence when we switched to the council format for Relief Society, then back again.

Fake promotions. This sounds like I’m joking, but seriously, where do you put all the former ward leaders when they’ve kind of exhausted their ward leadership run? There are no ice floes, and you can’t put everyone in nursery. So instead, we can “promote” them into this calling that sounds more important but is really a lot easier. They get to feel important rather than feeling put out to pasture. Everyone wins.