In October 2021, Charlie Taylor, Bishop of a Rexburg YSA ward, made his way into the stake president’s office. Not knowing beforehand the calling he would receive, Taylor thought the Lord knew him well enough not to assign him as bishop.

Taylor spent many years serving within different callings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as a counselor in a bishopric in the Rigby YSA ward and as the Sunday School president at Bonneville High School, but Taylor knew the calling of a Bishop held more responsibility.

“Once I received the mantle of Bishop when they laid their hands upon my head, I knew at that point that the experiences I have had in my life have prepared me to be a bishop,” Taylor said.

According to the General Handbook: Serving in the Church, “The bishop’s foremost responsibility is to the rising generation in the ward, including young single adults.”

As a bishop, Taylor works with students who attend BYU-Idaho. Within his calling, he works with students who are going through a broad range of life experiences.

Taylor and his counselors work with men and women who desire to serve missions, are seeking their eternal companions and those who have the desire to repent and become new.

Taylor understands that students who are new to the BYU-Idaho campus might be nervous to meet with someone who isn’t the bishop that they know and love from their home ward.

To combat their nerves, within the first few weeks of a new semester, Taylor and his counselors are honest with BYU-Idaho students.

Shawn Anderson, the first counselor of the bishopric, poses with members of his YSA ward for the 2022 Thanksgiving.

Shawn Anderson, the first counselor of the bishopric, poses with members of his YSA ward for the 2022 Thanksgiving. Photo credit: Shaw Anderson

“I told them right up front that ‘I am not your home Bishop and that you don’t know me and I didn’t grow up knowing you. And I won’t be let down by anything you tell me,” Taylor said.

Because of his honesty, and the grace of the Savior, students have been able to confide in him with different issues they deal with.

“I can unload your backpack, and I can hand it to the Savior,” Taylor said. “And then you can move forward without any regrets or without having to deal with the issues.”

Staying up late, playing video games, viewing pornography and missing church are a few common challenges that Taylor and his counselors see while serving in a bishopric on the BYU-Idaho campus.

“I think it’s really strengthened my testimony just knowing that all the adversary tricks, all the things that he’s thrown at these kids, they’re able to overcome it,” Anderson said. “You know they’re strong enough. They have the background, and you’re able to overcome all those things.”

As a bishop and a counselor, Taylor and Anderson hold themselves to a high standard so they are able to step into action when the Lord needs them.

“I don’t want to not be ready when they need certain things,” Anderson said. “So I try (to) be a better person.”

Bishops around the world typically serve for five years, but YSA bishops who are called to serve at BYU-Idaho typically serve for three years.

With one year of service left, the bishopric desires their ward members to know how much love they have for them and how much love Christ has for them.

“To a lot of them, I’m a shoulder to cry on,” Taylor said. “But more than anything, I want to bring their attention to the light that the Savior is shining on them.”