Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

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In Mormonism, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (also known as the Quorum of the Twelve, the Council of the Twelve, or the Twelve) is one of the governing bodies of the church hierarchy in many Latter Day Saint denominations, members of which are considered to be Apostles and special witnesses of Jesus Christ called of the Lord to preach as the apostles of old were. The Quorum was originally designated to be a body of "traveling councilors" equal in authority to the First Presidency as well as to the Seventy, the standing High Council of Zion and the High Councils of the various Stakes of Zion (Doctrine & Covenants 107:25-27, 36-37). The jurisdiction of the Twelve was limited to areas of the world outside of Zion or its outlying Stakes.

Within the Latter Day Saint movement today, many denominations have organized Quorums of the Twelve.


Quorum in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

After the death of Joseph Smith, Jr., the President of the Quorum of the Twelve was Brigham Young. Assuming control of the church, Young emphasized the Utah church's position that the Quorum of the Twelve should be the governing body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Quorum of Twelve is designated to be a body of "traveling councilors" equal in authority to the First Presidency as well as to the Seventy, the standing High Council of Zion and the High Councils of the various Stakes of Zion (Doctrine & Covenants 107:25-27, 36-37), and act under the direction of the First Presidency. To date, there has never been a conflict between the Presidency, the Seventy, and the Quorum of the Twelve. Each has their responsibilities, but church policy decisions are made unanimously with consultation among the organizations. The Savior emphasized that the church should be unified in all things, and a great deal of effort is made to ensure that the organizations are united in purpose and policy.

Each member of the Quorum is considered to be an Apostle. Each is also sustained as a "Prophet, Seer and Revelator". Thus, each Apostle is considered to hold the rights ("keys of the Priesthood") to use all powers granted by God to the Church. Individually and collectively, the Twelve hold the keys and have confirmed the authority to exercise all of the keys upon the president of the Church, the one man who is to preside over the Church. Thus, officially, only the President and Prophet of the Church is entitled to receive revelation for the entire Church.

A major role of the Quorum of the Twelve is to appoint a successor when the president of the Church passes away. When the prophet passes away, the apostles still meet in a sacred place, a temple, for revelation on who to appoint as successor. Invariable this has been the most senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve, who has been an apostle for the longest consecutive time. They lay their hands on his head and give him the authority to exercise his keys and set him apart as the prophet, seer, and revelator for the entire church. The president then calls two councilors, who are high priests or Apostles. From time to time, he will pick the next most senior member. By right, the next most senior member of the quorum becomes the president of the quorum. In cases when he is simultaneously called to become a councilor in the presidency, an acting president of the quorum is called in his stead to temporarily fill the position. This is invariably the most senior member of the quorum who is not a councilor in the presidency.

As vacancies arise within the Quorum, the Twelve and First Presidency meet to pray and to come to a unanimous decision as to whom will be called to fill the vacancy. The chosen man is generally ordained an Apostle by the President of the Church, Counselor in the First Presidency or President of the Twelve. Depending on circumstances this may occur before or after a sustaining vote is held at a General Conference of the Church, which is traditionally the occasion for the new Apostle to be publicly announced and sustained by Church members. Any Melchizedek priesthood holder in the church who is faithful is eligible to be called as an apostle. Generally, new apostles have considerable experience in church government and have held positions as bishops, stake presidents, or even seventies, and have served faithfully.

As a matter of policy, apostles are asked to quit their professional careers and devote themselves fulltime to church service. Even members of boards and professional organizations are asked to resign. Those who are able provide for themselves. Those who are not receive a small stipend from the church for subsistence. Because the calling of apostle is a typically lifetime calling, it is usually the last job they will ever hold.

Presently, the members of the quorum are as follows:

Note that the current First Presidency has three apostles as its members. While they are not part of the Quorum of the Twelve, they still maintain their seniority.

Council of Twelve Apostles in the Community of Christ

In the Community of Christ, the second largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement, this body is named the "Council of Twelve Apostles." As in the early Latter Day Saint church (prior to the 1844 succession crisis), the Council is responsible primarily for the church's missionary work. Each of the apostles is called to serve as a "special missionary witness" for the gospel, and each oversees one the church's Mission Fields. Also in keeping with the practices of the early church, the Community of Christ's apostles are a separate body from its First Presidency (i.e., unlike the LDS system in which the First Presidency is drawn from a body of 15 total apostles). It is the Second of three Presidencies of the Church.

The Community of Christ has ordained women to the priesthood since 1985 and the church maintains that it has always ordained persons of African heritage. Presently, the Council contains three female apostles and one apostle of African descent.

The current members of the Council and the Mission Fields and other assignments they oversee, are as follows:

  • James E. Slauter — President, Council of Twelve (2005-Present), Director of Field Ministries, Young Adult and Campus Ministries(1996)
  • Linda L. Booth — Secretary, Council of Twelve, Southern USA Mission Field; Church Planting Ministries, Contemporary Christian Ministries(1998)
  • David R. Brock — Pacific Mission Field; Hispanic American Ministries; Native American Ministries (1992)
  • Bunda C. Chibwe — Africa Mission Field(2000)
  • Stassi D. Cramm — Michigan USA Mission Field, Aferican-American Ministries, Director of Mission Support Ministries(2005)
  • Mary Jacks Dynes — Canada/North Central (USA) Mission Field;(2002)
  • Ronald D. Harmon Jr. — East central USA Mission Field, Director of Leadership Development Ministries, Spectacular and IYF, Urban Ministries(2005)
  • John P. Kirkpatrick — Asia Mission Field, Director of WorldService Corps (1988)
  • Dale E. Luffman — Central USA Mission Field, Singles Ministries; Theological Education Ministries(1994)
  • Rick W. Maupin— latin American/Caribbean Mission Field(2005)
  • Susan D. Skoor — Western USA Mission Field(2005)
  • Leonard M. Young — North Atlantic (Europe/USA) Mission Field(2000)

Councils/Quorums of Twelve Apostles in other Latter Day Saint denomintions

In addition to the largest two, many smaller Latter Day Saint denominations also have Councils or Quorums of Twelve Apostles.

The Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite) is often cited as the third largest denomination that resulted from the 1844 succession crisis. In this church, the "Quorum of Twelve Apostles" are the chief governing officers. The president of the church and his two counselors are also the presidency of the quorum — they are not separated from the quorum and the total number of apostles never exceeds twelve. Apostles in this church are strictly volunteers and are not given any compensation for their ministry. Currently, the president of the quorum (also church president) is Dominic R. Thomas. His First Counselor is Paul Palmieri and his Second Counselor is Thomas M. Liberto. The other members of the Quorum are Joseph Lovalvo, Paul J. Benyola, Joseph Calabrese, Peter Scolaro, Isaac Smith, John R. Griffith and Richard Christman. There are currently two vacancies in the Quorum.

The Church of Christ (Temple Lot) has a Council of Twelve Apostles who serve as the head of the church. This church has no First Presidency, because it feels that such presidencies are doctrinally inconsistent with the practice of the early Christian church described in the New Testament.

The Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has an Apostolic Quorum that is, as yet, incomplete by design. As the Remnant church seeks to "renew" the branch of the Latter Day Saint movement resulting from the 1860 Reorganization, it is attempting to follow the exact pattern of that prior reorganization. As such, there are presently five vacancies in the Quorum — as was the case in the Council of Twelve of what is now the Community of Christ in the early 1860s. The First Presidency of the Remnant church is not drawn from the Apostles. Instead, the prophet/president of the church is chosen by lineal descent from the movement's founder, Joseph Smith, Jr. The current members of the Quorum are: Casper Kaat, Gary Argotsinger, Jim Rogers, Lee Killpack, Bob Ostrander, Steve Church and Leland Collins.

Members of the Original Quorum, Prior to 1844

This is a list of the members of the quorum prior to the succession crisis of 1844. Including Brigham Young himself, ten of the eighteen continued on as apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints indicated below as "LDS after 1844." Thomas B. Marsh and Luke S. Johnson also later rejoined the movement in that organization, but did not resume their former places in the Quorum. Three of these apostles went on to be apostles in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite). One of these, John E. Page, went onto be an apostle in the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) or "Hedrickite" church. Another, William Smith, later asserted his claim to head his own "Williamite" church organization before ultimately joining what is now the Community of Christ (where he did not resume his place in the Quorum). Lyman Wight, likewise, organized his own branch of the church. William E. McLellin joined with many of post-1844 church organizations in succession, each of which recognized his apostleship.

The list includes the dates when each apostle was ordained. In some cases, the date of the calling is used instead as the actual date of ordination is unclear.

Members of the Quorum of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, post 1844

Main article: List of Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Latter-day Saint)

This is a list of the members of the Quorum in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ordained after 1844, listed with the date of their ordinations. In some cases, the date of the calling is used instead as the actual date of ordination is unclear.

Members of the Council in the Community of Christ (formerly RLDS church), post 1844

This is a list of the members of the Council in the Community of Christ ordained after 1844. The dates are the years they served as a member of the Council of Twelve.

  • Jason W. Briggs (1853–1886)
  • Zenas H. Gurley, Sr. (1853–1871)
  • Henry Harrison Deam (1853–1854)
  • Reuben Newkirk (1853–1873)
  • John Cunningham (1853–1855)
  • George White (1853–1863)
  • Daniel B. Rasey (1853–1873)
  • Samuel Powers (1855–1873)
  • David Newkirk (1855–1865)
  • William W. Blair (1858–1873)
  • John Shippy (1860–1868)
  • James Blakeslee (1860–1866)
  • Edmund C. Briggs (1860–1902)
  • Josiah Ells (1865–1885)
  • Charles Derry (1865–1870)
  • William H. Kelley (1873–1913)
  • Thomas Wood Smith (1873–1894)
  • James Caffall (1873–1902)
  • John H. Lake (1873–1902)
  • Alexander Hale Smith (1873–1897)
  • Zenas H. Gurley, Jr. (1873–1886)
  • Joseph R. Lambert (1873–1902)
  • James W. Gillen (1887–1900)
  • Heman C. Smith (1888–1909)
  • Joseph Luff (1887–1909)
  • Gomer T. Griffiths (1887–1922)
  • Isaac N. White (1897–1913)
  • John W. Wight (1897–1913)
  • Richard C. Evans (1897–1902)
  • Peter Andersen (1901–1920)
  • Frederick A. Smith (1902–1913)
  • Francis Sheehy (1902–1920)
  • Ulysses W. Greene (1902–1922)
  • Cornelius A. Butterworth (1902–1922)
  • John W. Rushton (1902–1947)
  • James F. Curtis (1909–1938)
  • Robert C. Russell (1909–1922)
  • James E. Kelley (1913–1917)
  • William Murray Aylor (1913–1922)
  • Paul M. Hanson (1913–1958)
  • James A. Gillen (1913–1934)
  • Thomas W. Williams (1920–1925)
  • Myron A. McConley (1920–1948)
  • Clyde F. Ellis (1922–1945)
  • John F. Garver (1922–1946)
  • Daniel T. Williams (1922–1958)
  • F. Henry Edwards (1922–1946)
  • Edmund J. Gleazer (1922–1958)
  • Roy S. Budd (1922–1936)
  • George G. Lewis (1932–1948)
  • George C. Mesley (1938–1954)
  • Arthur Alma Oakman (1938–1964)
  • Charles R. Hield (1938–1964)
  • Blair D. Jensen (1946–1966)
  • Roscoe E. Davey (1947–1964)
  • Maurice L. Draper (1947–1958)
  • W. Wallace Smith (1947–1950)
  • Percy E. Farrow (1948–1966)
  • Reed M. Holmes (1948–1974)
  • Donald O. Chesworth (1950–1972)
  • Donald Victor Lents (1954–1980)
  • Charles D. Neff (1958–1984)
  • Clifford A. Cole (1958–1980)
  • Cecil R. Ettinger (1960–1974)
  • Duane E. Couey (1960–1966)
  • Russell F. Ralston (1964–1976)
  • William E. Timms (1964–1978)
  • Earl T. Higdon (1966–1974)
  • Alan D. Tyree (1966–1982)
  • Aleah G. Koury (1966–1980)
  • Howard S. Sheehy. Jr. (1968–1978)
  • John C. Stuart (1972–1982)
  • William T. Higdon (1974–2005)
  • Lloyd B. Hurshman (1974–1988)
  • Paul W. Booth (1974–1992)
  • Eugene C. Austin (1976–1994)
  • Roy H. Schaefer (1978–1988)
  • Phillip M. Caswell (1978–2000)
  • Kisuke Sekine (1980–1994)
  • Everett S. Graffeo (1980–1994)
  • Kenneth N. Robinson (1980–1996)
  • Joe A. Serig (1982–2005)
  • James C. Cable (1982–1996)
  • Geoffrey F. Spencer (1984–1994)
  • A. Alex Kahtava (1988–2002)
  • John P. Kirkpatrick (1988–present)
  • David R. Brock (1992–present)
  • Stephen M. Veazey (1992–2005)
  • Lawrence W. Tyree (1992–2002)
  • Danny E. Belrose (1994–2000)
  • Dale E. Luffman (1994–present)
  • Kenneth L. McLaughlin (1994–2005)
  • Peter A. Judd (1996–2000)
  • James E. Slauter (1996–present)
  • Gail E. Mengel (1998–2005)
  • Linda L. Booth (1998–present)
  • Leonard M. Young (2000–present)
  • Bunda C. Chibwe (2000–present)
  • Mary Jacks Dynes (2002–present)
  • David D. Schaal (2002–2005)
  • Ronald D. Harmon, Jr. (2005–present)
  • Rick W. Maupin (2005–present)
  • Susan D. Skoor (2005–present)

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