Which Star Trek Captain Would Make the Best Bishop?

Recent events in my life have caused me to think more about leadership.  It is difficult for me to observe anything without evaluating the leadership behind the event.  My wife is a big Star Trek fan, and has been watching old episodes on Netflix.  As I have watched a few of these with her, I cannot help myself from evaluating the leadership styles and preferences of the Star Trek captains.

I found a post that analyzed the leadership styles of these Star Trek captains here.  I will sort of borrow from this site, but because this is a Mormon blog, I will share some of my thoughts on these captains in terms of what kind of bishop they would likely be.  Please feel free to discuss these captains as much as you like.

Kirk

Kirk was a commanding, competitive and charismatic presence.  He loved his ship and his crew, and would do anything to save them.  He was a bit of a maverick, and would bend or break the rules if it meant winning.  He could be very charming and warm when the situation called for it.  He had a good sense of humor, and did not take himself too seriously.  But he expected to be obeyed.  He kept his distance from the rank and file, but had very close relationships with Spock and Bones.  The responsibilities of his office weighed on him, yet he was often very decisive anyway.

It would be unlikely to me that Kirk would ever be called as a bishop.  Chances would be good that as he served in other callings, he would do or say something that would turn somebody off.  His ignoring policy and procedure might be his undoing if he were called, and might prevent him from ever being called in the first place.  I believe he would relate well to the youth, and would be something of a hero figure for some.  But his recklessness probably would not fly in the church.

Picard

Picard was a man with a strong sense of morality, that was more concerned with doing what he felt was right than anything else.  Etiquette,  protocol, chain of command, policy, procedure, etc., were of very high priority.  He could be arrogant, intolerant, and aloof.  He was not comfortable in social settings.  There was something noble about the man, as he always tried to take the moral high ground.

I think it would almost be inevitable that Picard would be called as a bishop.  In fact, I would project him as a Stake President, if not a general authority.  The church would love a guy like Picard.  Always by the book, always taking the moral high ground.  His reluctance to be socially outgoing, and occasional lack of bedside manner, might make him less effective than he could be.

Sisko

I admit that I have less of a feel for Sisko than the others.  He seemed to long for the simple life, and had a sense that life was not fair.  Protecting the home turf was important to him in his role.  An organized, strategic plan seemed important to him.  He was resourceful and innovative

I am afraid that Sisko probably had a better past as a leader than a future.  His bitterness and anger gave him some inner demons, that would likely give him his own problems.  His ability to organize and to delegate would be important to his success.  Ultimately, I think the timing would be wrong for him to be a bishop.

Janeway

Yes, I know Janeway is a woman, but let us consider her anyway.  Janeway could be very warm and personable in private settings.  She also was supposedly quite competent as a scientist/engineer prior to her being captain.  Like Picard she placed a high priority on chain of command.  She expected blind obedience.  She was very decisive, and made those decisions quickly, often with little data or information – which seems inconsistent with her background.  She also seemed inconsistent with the prime directive – sometimes refusing to violate it even when lives were at stake – other times violating it on a whim.

I think that Janeway could be a good bishop on a personal level.  Her ability to be compassionate would really resonate with many people.  Yet, her expectations for blind obedience to her sometimes whimsical decisions would turn others off.

Archer

Archer had some good qualities, and created an environment of trust and respect.  But he often seemed over his head.  His recklessness was not of the same quality as Kirks.  He seemed to surround himself with personal friends, and would likely fall prey to the yes-man.  As his experience grew, he may turn out to be a good captain.  Time will tell.

He would likely do well with the whole trust and respect thing, but his lack of personal discipline and experience would hold him back.

Quote

And one quote to wrap this up:

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virture of the priesthood, only be persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile…(D&C 121)

The above qualities rarely get mentioned in leadership books or seminars.  And I am afraid that those who have those qualities will rarely get noticed and receive opportunities for leadership.

Anyway, which of the Star Trek captains do you feel would make the best bishop?  Which would best fit the model of D&C 121?

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23 Responses to “Which Star Trek Captain Would Make the Best Bishop?”


  1. 1 Tex November 8, 2011 at 10:51 am

    My first thought before reading the article was Picard, however I think Janeway would be the most likely to get the job.

  2. 2 Paul November 8, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Picard’s the one. He was the one in my mind before I read your post and after. (It’s the accent that makes him seem so polite, of course…)

  3. 3 Ben November 8, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I’m not sure Kirk could be trusted interviewing women ;)

  4. 4 John Mansfield November 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Captain Pike in the new movie was good at delegating responsibility and nurturing the youth.

  5. 5 Keri Brooks November 8, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    I would go with Sisko. He’s a deeply spiritual man, and he’s one of the few openly religious main characters in any of the Star Trek series. (With Kira and Chakotay being the only others that come to mind.) He’s a bit uncomfortable at first with his religious calling, but he eventually warms up to it and he follows the revelation he receives.

  6. 6 Eric Nielson November 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Tex: I do think Picard is the most natural choice. I am not sure about the Janeway thing.

    Ben: I thought of that also.

    John: Pike would be good at that calling.

    Keri: You may be right about Sisko. I know him the least.

  7. 7 Matt W. November 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Who would be the best Bishop? I dunno, but I am pretty sure I know who would be the most fun Bishop…

  8. 8 Proud Daughter of Eve November 8, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    I don’t think I’d call Sisko openly religious. He spent a lot of time very conflicted about his role as “Prophet” for the Bajorans. Then he turned out to be semi-mystical in some strange “aliens stole my mother’s will so she would get pregnant with me” way.

    I’d peg him as rogue-sect leader more than bishop.

    Janeway? Never. Not because she’s a woman. Because she’s inconsistent as all heck.

    Kirk could never be trusted by the women in his ward. Nope.

    Picard would be the best choice, I think. He took fatherly care of his crew and had a strong moral sense.

  9. 9 Vader November 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Don’t forget what Janeway did to poor Tuuvix. No, I don’t see her as a Mormon bishop.

  10. 10 coltakashi November 8, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    We should not forget that Paul told Timothy that a bishop should be a husband. The only one of these captains with a real family life (at least during the series and movies) is Benjamin Sisko. Being a husband and father is part of learning God’s point of view, and combining love and leadership. Sisko’s son, in my favorite episode, dedicates his life to saving his father from oblivion in an alternate universe. I don’t think any of the other captains ever experienced that kind of unconditional, personal, self-sacrificing, Christ-like love. Sisko would be stern, but also empathetic.

  11. 11 kevinf November 8, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Every bishop wants to be fun, wants to be loved by the youth, and respected by the rest of the ward. So we all want our bishops to be a little like Kirk, but more like Picard.

    As for my tenure as bishop, I think that I was definitely a Captain Archer.

  12. 12 Proud Daughter of Eve November 8, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    “Empathetic” and “Sisko?” Not the Sisko I remember. Also, Paul told Timothy a bishop ought to be husband of “just one woman.” I think he was more concerned with polygamy than he was with marriage as a qualification. This is the same guy that claimed celibacy was the idea but that it was “better to marry than to burn.”

    I’ve just posted more here than anywhere in ages. Clearly I need more LDS geeks in my life.

  13. 13 Mark N. November 8, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    I’ll second Ben’s point of view. :-)

    I’d like to vote for Picard, but it seems he’s already been made a Stake President. Sisco I don’t know at all; my wife was a fan of that series (I saw so little of it, I can’t even remember the series’ title at this point) — which surprised me to no end, since she does NOT consider herself to be a Trek fan.

    Janeway seems to be all-business to me, but maybe that’s just from not knowing her character all that well.

    I’ll vote for Archer, just on the basis of his alternate identity as the time traveler in “Quantum Leap”. Maybe some of the empathy he no doubt gained from those adventures remains a part of his Archer soul.

  14. 14 WVS November 8, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Kirk for First Council of Seventy. I know it doesn’t exist anymore, but it was a home for mavericks.

  15. 15 Roland Richey November 9, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I’m giggling at the idea of Chakotay and Spock as Bishop’s counselors.

  16. 16 staceyvalderama November 9, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Frankly, it has always seemed to me that every Star Trek Captain, deep down, is a little bit of a “swaggering, overbearing, tin-plated dictator with delusions of godhood”.

    When Captain Janeway met a woman claiming to be her future self, she did not trust her- not because she thought she was an imposter, but because she thought there was a good chance she wasn’t!

    Archer did not hesitate to use torture as a means to his ends.

    I wouldn’t trust any of the others to put my needs and concerns above their personal agenda, either- which is what a GOOD bishop would do.

  17. 17 Eric Nielson November 9, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Matt: I am assuming you mean Kirk?

    coltakashi: excellent call on the family life thing.

    kevinf: I think you are on to something with the kirk/picard thing. Also, I think every bishop probably feels like Archer.

    PDOE: Glad to see your name up in a comment again. Nice work.

    MarkN: Someone had to vote for Archer.

    WVS: I think Kirk would have been a fit for early Mormonism.

    Roland: I think Spock would be better than they all as a leader, not sure about a bishop.

    staceyvalderama: I think you feel about typical leaders they way I do. I often feel that those who would be the best leaders, are often those who would not be likely to be given the opportunity.

  18. 18 jks November 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Definitely Picard would make the best bishop. Of course he’d be married though.
    Kirk would totally be made bishop as long as he was married and just sleeping with his wife to save the world, rather than other women. Kirk would bend the rules, sure, but he’d do it for good reasons because he would be watching out for the people in his ward and you’d feel like he was following the spirit. He might end up clashing with a few opinionated people because of his strong personality (or qualities like sexism for instance) and wanting things his way, but any little tensions would blow over quickly because loyalty to the ward feeling would be high.
    Janeway would insist on strictly abiding by the rules at the wrong times and people would go inactive, but then break the rules at odd times so that other people end up going inactive over that but besides people leaving the church left and right, she would keep things running well so those who still come to church will be able to function well.
    Sisko would be serious, but responsible and ultra careful. Things would move very slowly so callings wouldn’t get filled in a timely manner and other decisions will drag out forever with people getting frustrated but people would respect him even if things weren’t going particularly smoothly because he would give thoughtful talks.

  19. 19 Eric Nielson November 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    I tend to agree with you jks

  20. 20 Dee Rodger November 9, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    I don’t think there is any doubt that Picard would make the best bishop. But Kirk would make the best mission president, and it isn’t even close. His missionaries would have done the impossible for him.

  21. 21 Meg November 9, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Before reading it, Sisko popped straight to mind. He knows the people — not just his senior staff, but most everyone who’s on the station. Bishops aren’t just bishops over the members of their ward, but everyone in the ward boundaries. He cares about people’s lives and knows what’s happening in them, Starfleet or not. Yes, he struggled with questions (who wouldn’t, given the situation?) but he sought answers to them to gain better understanding. I adore Picard, but he seems too impersonal and aloof.

  22. 22 chris@yahoo.com November 15, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Well, since we’ve all invested some time in this, we might as well put in some more. After seeing this I youtube’d around for some video clips to demonstrate leadership & ethics from the top 3 captains most likely to be a modern day bishop – Picard, Janeway and Sisko. The others just don’t cut it I think. Maybe 100 years ago we’d see Kirk or Archer though…

    Picard

    Janeway

    Sisko

    I think you can get a pretty good feel for each of them in those clips, but I think Sisko really gets it. So while my original vote was for Picard, Picard would probably make a good GA, taking orders from the Apostles, etc. and then expecting others to comply while also having a bit of leeway occaisonally with the rules. You also can’t forget that Picard was once an apostate Borg. From there you have to either compare him to Alma Younger or Martin Harrris/Oliver Cowdery/etc.

    Watching the last Sisko clip I think he really has the vision there and would make a great prophet, which means an ideal bishop.

  23. 23 Graham Ruttan November 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Reblogged this on Surprised by Joy and commented:
    A blog post combining two of the things I love best in life, obviously excepting my wonderful wife and family, Star Trek and the Church.


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