I am a pretty informal guy. With few exceptions, I address everyone I know by first name. Two of the exceptions are in the Church: “Bishop” for the bishop, and “President” for the stake president … unless I know them really well, in which case I tend to use their titles only at Church functions.
Those who read closely will remember that I live in a ward that is somewhat fanatical about white shirts.* This formality seems to extend to titles. I have noticed that the Young Men’s President and the Elder’s Quorum President are referred to as “President.” Given that I currently occupy one of those callings, I may be in a position to effect some change. In the meantime, it annoys me immensely. (Just call me Gordon, please.) Especially since the Relief Society President is not called “President,” but “Sister.”
And what is one supposed to call the High Priest Group Leader or Ward Mission Leader? Surely not “Leader,” but perhaps “Elder”? Strangely, they seem to be mere “Brothers.” The Bishop’s counselors pose a similar problem, and the solution (“Brother”) is the same. I address other members as “Brother” or “Sister” only when I am not yet acquainted with them. This is a bit odd, however, because “Brother” and “Sister” suggest familiarity, and I am using the words where familiarity is lacking. Moreover, when did we start calling people “Brother [Last Name]” rather than “Brother [First Name]” (like “Brother Brigham”)? Of course, if we used this older convention, I would be writing a post about how we should just drop the “Brother” altogether and just call each other by our first names. There’s no pleasing some people.
* As a side note on the white shirts, last Sunday I was the only male in PEC with a non-white shirt. Our ward mission leader mentioned that one of our investigators was nervous about coming to Church because he didn’t own a white shirt and tie. I blurted, “Tell him that I don’t either!” This brought nervous laughter from some and scowls from others. I suspect that it won’t be long now before I am called to repentance.