Dear 100 Hour Board,
Why is it frowned upon to ask to serve in a specific calling? Is there anything wrong with making your preferences known to the leadership? Is a lot of information good or bad when working for inspiration?
-Actually it would be helpful
I always think it's perfectly acceptable to express your preferences on callings, but I wouldn't demand or request anything. My experience is that it is always best to have more information when you're seeking inspiration on those kinds of things. But you don't want to think that someone will be upset if they don't get the calling that they want.
That's my two cents!
Keep it real,
I actually requested my current calling. Personally, I think you should give your leadership as much information as you can. You may not get the calling, but if you think you will be able to bless your Ward in a certain way, why not let someone know?
The Soulful Ginger
Because all callings are delivered from God directly to your bishop on a silver platter via Angel Courier™. And everyone who is ever extended a calling always says "yes" and it's always the exactly what they needed to be doing at the time.
Realistically, your bishop (or other leader) may have reasons for not wanting you in a specific calling at a specific time or for wanting someone else in that calling, which could make it awkward if you're lobbying to be in that calling. And some callings may be more prestigious or popular than others, so asking to serve in one of those callings may give the impression that you are unwilling to serve in some of the more thankless or unpopular callings.
Like Zed, however, I've also heard that "information leads to inspiration" (and as someone who's mainly served in music callings for the last 20 years, it's pretty clear to me that some callings require some fairly concrete skills). I don't think there's anything wrong with letting people know you've enjoyed doing a particular calling in the past or would be happy to serve in a particular calling in the future (or be available as a sub, if applicable).
I think there's a difference between asking for or expressing interest in a calling, and aspiring to a calling. Aspiring to a calling typically involves a desire for prominence or unrighteous dominion. It may involve a mean-spirited version of feeling like you could do better at the calling.
On the other hand, it's okay to let your bishop or branch president know that you'd enjoy a calling. My mission president always used to say that information precedes revelation. It's even okay to do it if you feel that the current person is struggling in the calling - but this should just be done in a way that's intended to offer your own talents, not to be judgmental about the person currently fulfilling the calling. For instance, I volunteered to be a ward organist, and I do admit that I'm the best ward organist and I have a hard time tolerating ward organists who don't play well. However, I was mainly motivated because I know it can be stressful to play week after week when you have trouble with the notes.
If I had been turned down from the calling, I would simply assume that the calling was a growing opportunity for the other ward organist, instead of grumbling about how the bishop was so dumb to not use my clearly superior organ skills.* To me, that's the difference between asking and aspiring.
*This is an example of an attitude one should not have, not me bragging about my organ skills.
I don't know about everybody else, but practically all of my bishops have asked me what callings I've had in the past, which I take to mean "what callings do you like and are good at?" I usually use that as an opportunity to tell the bishop how I'm a really good Sunday School teacher and how I really enjoy working with the Young Men. I just barely got called as an Assistant Scoutmaster over the 11-year-olds and this is the first time ever that I've been smacked with revelation telling me that it is exactly the right calling for me now. I'm sure that it happened in part because I was open with my bishop about my desires and skills.