In this podcast, Kurt interviews two women with the unofficial leadership calling of Bishop’s Wife.

Sister Jill Walker

First he speaks with Jill Walker, the wife of Bishop Jason Walker of Phoenix, Arizona. Bishop Walker has been serving for about seven months. They have been married for 27 years, have three children, and have lived in Phoenix for seven years.

The Walker family

The Walker family

Highlights

4:00 Introduction with Bishop Jason Walker
8:50 Called as bishop and then called again when ward boundaries were changed
9:45 Called shortly after a calling to the high council
10:45 Expectations she had, surprised and confused by new emotions such as feeling jealous of his time away
13:00 Journaled about her emotions but didn’t talk to anyone
13:50 The loneliness of not being able to talk about what he has been doing
14:20 Thoughts that she couldn’t burden him further with trivial family things when he had so many obvious burdens from his calling added to the sense of loneliness
Principles of Leadership as the Bishop’s Wife

  1. 16:25 Journal
  2. 18:25 Find ways to help–helps with loneliness
  3. 20:00 Pray–for your husband and for comfort for yourself
  4. 21:20 Spend time together–go with him to anything that is appropriate, but also on intentional dates, to the store, any moment possible
  5. 23:25 Focus on the positive–look for the blessings and personal growth

24:55 Started sharing whatever spiritual moments they can, which has helped their partnership
26:30 She has learned to pay more attention to everyone and be more compassionate

Sister Kasandra Merrill

Next, Kurt speaks with Kasandra Merrill, wife of Bishop Scott Merrill of Mesa, Arizona. They both grew up in Mesa and have lived in the same ward since they were married. He has been serving as bishop for over four years. Kasandra comes from a large mixed family of 12 children, including step-siblings, and she and Scott have been married 24 years and have seven children.

The Merrill family

The Merrill family

Highlights

30:30 She saw his calling coming but he did not
31:10 The circumstances in their family when he was called: five teenagers who then married or went on missions since his call, plus his busy job and she was in school full time
33:00 The first year was the most difficult for them to understand each other and each other’s roles because they approach life differently
34:00 She could sense the pain of ward members through him, but felt totally alone and unable to share her burdens with anyone
35:10 She was handling and carrying some heavy difficulties with their children all alone
37:00 She felt that he had the mantle of the calling to support him, while she had nothing
37:45 Figured out together how to handle their loneliness together and to share their burdens
38:40 Realized she has angels watching over and strengthening her, too
39:00 They were both called in for his calling as bishop
40:00 They may not have it all together but they are together
41:15 Allowed herself to not parent alone, or to own her children’s mistakes as hers
42:10 Their children all seemed to have had a positive experience with their dad as the bishop, but he let them know that if they wanted to talk to someone else they could go to the stake president
44:00 Don’t dwell on the negative
44:50 Living in a “glass house”
46:00 Her husband has been very private as bishop; she could sense anger and heartbreak but he didn’t/couldn’t share
48:05 Keeping their struggles open instead of private
48:45 Son came home early from his mission and they were open about everything with the ward, eliminating possible shame
50:15 Daughter attempted suicide and they were open about that too, further dissolving shame and bringing the ward together to support each other through difficult struggles
52:10 The Savior taught love and compassion

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