First Presidency (LDS Church): Wikis

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George W. Bush (right) meets with the First Presidency in August 2006. Seated clockwise are: Gordon B. Hinckley, President; Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor (obscured); and James E. Faust, Second Counselor (obscured); and F. Michael Watson, Executive Secretary. Since this picture was taken, Hinckley and Faust have died and the First Presidency has been reorganized.

The First Presidency (also called the Quorum of the Presidency of the Church or simply the Presidency) is the presiding or governing body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). It is composed of the President of the Church and his counselors. Called February 3, 2008, new First Presidency members were announced on February 4, 2008: President Thomas S. Monson and his two counselors, Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

Contents

Membership

The First Presidency is composed of the President of the Church and his counselors. Most First Presidencies have been composed of the president and two counselors, but circumstances have occasionally required additional ones (for example, David O. McKay had five during the final years of his presidency and at one point Brigham Young had eight).

Counselors are usually chosen from the among the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, although there have been a number of exceptions where members of the church's Presiding Bishopric or the church at large were called to be counselors. Any high priest of the church is eligible to be called as a counselor in the First Presidency. There have also been a few cases where counselors have been ordained to the priesthood office of apostle and became members of the Quorum of the Twelve after already being set apart as counselors in the First Presidency (e.g., J. Reuben Clark). There have been other cases where counselors have been ordained to the office of apostle but not set apart as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve (e.g., Alvin R. Dyer). Other counselors in the First Presidency were never ordained to the office of apostle (e.g., Charles W. Nibley; John R. Winder). Whether or not a counselor is an apostle, all members of the First Presidency are sustained by the church as prophets, seers, and revelators.

Counselors are formally designated as "First Counselor in the First Presidency" and "Second Counselor in the First Presidency" based on the order they were selected by the president. Additional counselors have been designated in different ways, including "Third Counselor in the First Presidency" (e.g., Hugh B. Brown), "Assistant Counselor to the President" (e.g., John Willard Young), and simply "Counselor in the First Presidency" (e.g., Thorpe B. Isaacson).

Counselors serve in the First Presidency until their own deaths, until the death of the church president who called them, or until they are released by the church president. The death of a church president dissolves the First Presidency, and leaves the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as the senior leader of the church. The death or release of a counselor does not dissolve the First Presidency.

Often, the surviving counselors of the late president will be called as counselors in the new First Presidency, and a notably infirm counselor may revert to his place among the Twelve Apostles with a healthier man called as counselor in his place. On the death or release of a first counselor, the second counselor usually succeeds and a new second counselor is named. Although these are fairly common occurrences, there are no hard and fast rules about such practices and each president is free to choose the counselors he prefers. See Counselors Not Retained and Other Unusual Circumstances, below.

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Title of members

Like the church president and President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, counselors in the First Presidency are appropriately referred to by the title "President".

Removal

Though there has not been a popular movement in the church to have a member of the First Presidency removed or punished for many years, a member could theoretically be removed from his position or otherwise disciplined by the Common Council of the Church.

Duties

The First Presidency is the highest ranking priesthood quorum of the church. The counselors assist the church president and work closely with him in guiding the entire church and carrying out the duties of the president of the church. The First Presidency has the theoretical authority to make the final decision on nearly all issues which might affect the church or its operations, though in practice the First Presidency has delegated much of its decision-making power to members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Seventy, the Presiding Bishopric, and local leaders of the church. Nevertheless, the First Presidency has retained its overarching decision-making power in a number of significant areas and may at any time choose to overrule the decisions of a lesser church quorum or authority.

In the case of an infirm president, his counselors may be called upon to perform more of the duties of the First Presidency that would normally be performed by the president. If needed, any number of additional counselors may be called to assist them, though the president of the church remains the only person on the earth authorized to use all priesthood keys. All members of the First Presidency are sustained by the membership of the church as prophets, seers, and revelators.

All members of the First Presidency are also members of the church's Council on the Disposition of the Tithes, a body which determines how the tithing funds of the church are spent.

Current First Presidency

The current First Presidency was announced on February 4, 2008. The president, Thomas S. Monson, and his counselors, Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf, were sustained by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on February 3.

The previous First Presidency was dissolved on January 27, 2008 upon the death of church president Gordon B. Hinckley.

Chronology of the First Presidency

Dates President of the Church First Counselor Second Counselor Other Counselors Change
8 March 1832 –
3 December 1832
Joseph Smith, Jr. Jesse Gause[1] Sidney Rigdon[1] Initial organization of First Presidency[1]
3 December 1832 –
18 March 1833
Joseph Smith, Jr. Sidney Rigdon Jesse Gause excommunicated
18 March 1833 –
5 December 1834
Joseph Smith, Jr. Sidney Rigdon Frederick G. Williams Sidney Rigdon called as First Counselor; Frederick G. Williams called as Second Counselor
5 December 1834 –
3 September 1837
Joseph Smith, Jr.
Oliver Cowdery (Assistant President)
Sidney Rigdon Frederick G. Williams Oliver Cowdery called as Assistant President of the Church
3 September 1837 –
7 November 1837
Joseph Smith, Jr.
Oliver Cowdery (Assistant President)
Sidney Rigdon Frederick G. Williams Oliver Cowdery (Assistant Counselor)
Hyrum Smith (Assistant Counselor)
John Smith (Assistant Counselor)
Joseph Smith, Sr. (Assistant Counselor)
Hyrum Smith, John Smith and Joseph Smith, Sr. called as Assistant Counselors; Oliver Cowdery also given the title of Assistant Counselor
7 November 1837 –
11 April 1838
Joseph Smith, Jr.
Oliver Cowdery (Assistant President)
Sidney Rigdon Hyrum Smith Oliver Cowdery (Assistant Counselor)
Joseph Smith, Sr. (Assistant Counselor)
John Smith (Assistant Counselor)
Frederick G. Williams rejected as Second Counselor at church conference; Hyrum Smith called as Second Counselor
11 April 1838 –
14 September 1840
Joseph Smith, Jr. Sidney Rigdon Hyrum Smith Joseph Smith, Sr. (Assistant Counselor)
John Smith (Assistant Counselor)
Oliver Cowdery excommunicated
14 September 1840 –
24 January 1841
Joseph Smith, Jr. Sidney Rigdon Hyrum Smith John Smith (Assistant Counselor) Death of Joseph Smith, Sr.
24 January 1841 –
8 April 1841
Joseph Smith, Jr.
Hyrum Smith (Assistant President)
Sidney Rigdon William Law John Smith (Assistant Counselor) Hyrum Smith called as Assistant President of the Church; William Law replaces Hyrum Smith as Second Counselor
8 April 1841 –
25 May 1842
Joseph Smith, Jr.
Hyrum Smith (Assistant President)
John C. Bennett (Assistant President)[2]
Sidney Rigdon William Law John Smith (Counselor) John C. Bennett called as Assistant President[2]
25 May 1842 –
4 February 1843
Joseph Smith, Jr.
Hyrum Smith (Assistant President)
Sidney Rigdon William Law John Smith (Assistant Counselor) John C. Bennett disfellowshipped
4 February 1843 –
18 April 1844
Joseph Smith, Jr.
Hyrum Smith (Assistant President)
Sidney Rigdon William Law John Smith (Assistant Counselor)
Amasa M. Lyman (Counselor)
Amasa M. Lyman called as Counselor
18 April 1844 –
27 June 1844
Joseph Smith, Jr.
Hyrum Smith (Assistant President)
Sidney Rigdon John Smith (Assistant Counselor)
Amasa M. Lyman (Counselor)
Apostasy of William Law
27 December 1847 –
11 March 1854
Brigham Young Heber C. Kimball Willard Richards First Presidency reorganized after deaths of Joseph Smith, Jr. and Hyrum Smith
11 March 1854 –
7 April 1854
Brigham Young Heber C. Kimball Death of Willard Richards
7 April 1854 –
1 December 1856
Brigham Young Heber C. Kimball Jedediah M. Grant Jedediah M. Grant called as Second Counselor
1 December 1856 –
4 January 1857
Brigham Young Heber C. Kimball Death of Jedediah M. Grant
4 January 1857 –
1 July 1866
Brigham Young Heber C. Kimball Daniel H. Wells Daniel H. Wells called as Second Counselor
1 July 1866 –
22 June 1868
Brigham Young Heber C. Kimball Daniel H. Wells Joseph F. Smith (Counselor) Joseph F. Smith called as Counselor
22 June 1868 –
7 October 1868
Brigham Young Daniel H. Wells Joseph F. Smith (Counselor) Death of Heber C. Kimball
7 October 1868 –
8 April 1873
Brigham Young George A. Smith Daniel H. Wells Joseph F. Smith (Counselor) George A. Smith called as First Counselor
8 April 1873 –
9 May 1874
Brigham Young George A. Smith Daniel H. Wells Joseph F. Smith (Counselor)
John Willard Young (Counselor)
George Q. Cannon (Counselor)
Brigham Young, Jr. (Counselor)
Lorenzo Snow (Counselor)
Albert Carrington (Counselor)
John Willard Young, George Q. Cannon, Brigham Young, Jr., Lorenzo Snow, and Albert Carrington called as Counselors
9 May 1874 –
1 September 1875
Brigham Young George A. Smith Daniel H. Wells Joseph F. Smith (Counselor)
John Willard Young (Assistant Counselor)
George Q. Cannon (Assistant Counselor)
Brigham Young, Jr. (Assistant Counselor)
Lorenzo Snow (Assistant Counselor)
Albert Carrington (Assistant Counselor))
Titles of all additional counselors (except Joseph F. Smith) changed from Counselor to Assistant Counselor
1 September 1875 –
8 October 1876
Brigham Young Daniel H. Wells Joseph F. Smith (Counselor)
John Willard Young (Assistant Counselor)
George Q. Cannon (Assistant Counselor)
Brigham Young, Jr. (Assistant Counselor)
Lorenzo Snow (Assistant Counselor)
Albert Carrington (Assistant Counselor)
Death of George A. Smith
8 October 1876 –
29 August 1877
Brigham Young John Willard Young Daniel H. Wells Joseph F. Smith (Counselor)
George Q. Cannon (Assistant Counselor)
Brigham Young, Jr. (Assistant Counselor)
Lorenzo Snow (Assistant Counselor)
Albert Carrington (Assistant Counselor)
John Willard Young called as First Counselor
10 October 1880 –
25 July 1887
John Taylor George Q. Cannon Joseph F. Smith First Presidency reorganized after death of Brigham Young
7 April 1889 –
2 September 1898
Wilford Woodruff George Q. Cannon Joseph F. Smith First Presidency reorganized after death of John Taylor
13 September 1898 –
21 April 1901
Lorenzo Snow George Q. Cannon Joseph F. Smith First Presidency reorganized after death of Wilford Woodruff
21 April 1901 –
6 October 1901
Lorenzo Snow Joseph F. Smith Death of George Q. Cannon
6 October 1901 –
10 October 1901
Lorenzo Snow Joseph F. Smith Rudger Clawson Joseph F. Smith called as First Counselor; Rudger Clawson called as Second Counselor.
NOTE: These counselors were sustained but not set apart due to the death of Snow 4 days later
17 October 1901 –
27 March 1910
Joseph F. Smith John R. Winder Anthon H. Lund Reorganization of First Presidency after death of Lorenzo Snow
27 March 1910 –
7 April 1910
Joseph F. Smith Anthon H. Lund Death of John R. Winder
7 April 1910 –
13 October 1911
Joseph F. Smith Anthon H. Lund John Henry Smith Anthon H. Lund called as First Counselor; John Henry Smith called as Second Counselor
13 October 1911 –
7 December 1911
Joseph F. Smith Anthon H. Lund Death of John Henry Smith
7 December 1911 –
19 November 1918
Joseph F. Smith Anthon H. Lund Charles W. Penrose Charles W. Penrose called as Second Counselor
23 November 1918 –
2 March 1921
Heber J. Grant Anthon H. Lund Charles W. Penrose Reorganization of First Presidency after death of Joseph F. Smith
2 March 1921 –
10 March 1921
Heber J. Grant Charles W. Penrose Death of Anthon H. Lund
10 March 1921 –
16 May 1925
Heber J. Grant Charles W. Penrose Anthony W. Ivins Charles W. Penrose called as First Counselor; Anthony W. Ivins called as Second Counselor
16 May 1925 –
28 May 1925
Heber J. Grant Anthony W. Ivins Death of Charles W. Penrose
28 May 1925 –
11 December 1931
Heber J. Grant Anthony W. Ivins Charles W. Nibley Anthony W. Ivins called as First Counselor; Charles W. Nibley called as Second Counselor
11 December 1931 –
6 April 1933
Heber J. Grant Anthony W. Ivins Death of Charles W. Nibley
6 April 1933 –
23 September 1934
Heber J. Grant Anthony W. Ivins J. Reuben Clark, Jr. J. Reuben Clark, Jr. called as Second Counselor
23 September 1934 –
11 October 1934
Heber J. Grant J. Reuben Clark, Jr. Death of Anthony W. Ivins
11 October 1934 –
14 May 1945
Heber J. Grant J. Reuben Clark, Jr. David O. McKay J. Reuben Clark, Jr. called as First Counselor; David O. McKay called as Second Counselor
21 May 1945 –
4 April 1951
George Albert Smith J. Reuben Clark, Jr. David O. McKay Reorganization of First Presidency after death of Heber J. Grant
9 April 1951 –
19 May 1959
David O. McKay Stephen L Richards J. Reuben Clark, Jr. Reorganization of First Presidency after death of George Albert Smith
19 May 1959 –
12 June 1959
David O. McKay J. Reuben Clark, Jr. Death of Stephen L Richards
12 June 1959 –
22 June 1961
David O. McKay J. Reuben Clark, Jr. Henry D. Moyle J. Reuben Clark, Jr. called as First Counselor; Henry D. Moyle called as Second Counselor
22 June 1961 –
6 October 1961
David O. McKay J. Reuben Clark, Jr. Henry D. Moyle Hugh B. Brown (Third Counselor) Hugh B. Brown called as Third Counselor
6 October 1961 –
12 October 1961
David O. McKay Henry D. Moyle Hugh B. Brown (Third Counselor) Death of J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
12 October 1961 –
18 September 1963
David O. McKay Henry D. Moyle Hugh B. Brown Henry D. Moyle called as First Counselor; Hugh B. Brown called as Second Counselor
18 September 1963 –
4 October 1963
David O. McKay Hugh B. Brown Death of Henry D. Moyle
4 October 1963 –
28 October 1965
David O. McKay Hugh B. Brown N. Eldon Tanner Hugh B. Brown called as First Counselor; N. Eldon Tanner called as Second Counselor
28 October 1965 –
29 October 1965
David O. McKay Hugh B. Brown N. Eldon Tanner Thorpe B. Isaacson (Counselor) Thorpe B. Isaacson called as Counselor
29 October 1965 –
6 April 1968
David O. McKay Hugh B. Brown N. Eldon Tanner Thorpe B. Isaacson (Counselor)
Joseph Fielding Smith (Counselor)
Joseph Fielding Smith called as Counselor
6 April 1968 –
18 January 1970
David O. McKay Hugh B. Brown N. Eldon Tanner Thorpe B. Isaacson (Counselor)
Joseph Fielding Smith (Counselor)
Alvin R. Dyer (Counselor)
Alvin R. Dyer called as Counselor
23 January 1970 –
2 July 1972
Joseph Fielding Smith Harold B. Lee N. Eldon Tanner Reorganization of First Presidency after death of David O. McKay
7 July 1972 –
26 December 1973
Harold B. Lee N. Eldon Tanner Marion G. Romney Reorganization of First Presidency after death of Joseph Fielding Smith
30 December 1973 –
23 July 1981
Spencer W. Kimball N. Eldon Tanner Marion G. Romney Reorganization of First Presidency after death of Harold B. Lee
23 July 1981 –
27 November 1982
Spencer W. Kimball N. Eldon Tanner Marion G. Romney Gordon B. Hinckley (Counselor) Gordon B. Hinckley called as Counselor
27 November 1982 –
2 December 1982
Spencer W. Kimball Marion G. Romney Gordon B. Hinckley (Counselor) Death of N. Eldon Tanner
2 December 1982 –
5 November 1985
Spencer W. Kimball Marion G. Romney Gordon B. Hinckley Marion G. Romney called as First Counselor; Gordon B. Hinckley called as Second Counselor
10 November 1985 –
30 May 1994
Ezra Taft Benson Gordon B. Hinckley Thomas S. Monson Reorganization of First Presidency after death of Spencer W. Kimball
5 June 1994 –
3 March 1995
Howard W. Hunter Gordon B. Hinckley Thomas S. Monson Reorganization of First Presidency after death of Ezra Taft Benson
12 March 1995 –
10 August 2007
Gordon B. Hinckley Thomas S. Monson James E. Faust Reorganization of First Presidency after death of Howard W. Hunter
10 August 2007 –
6 October 2007
Gordon B. Hinckley Thomas S. Monson Death of James E. Faust[3]
6 October 2007 –
27 January 2008
Gordon B. Hinckley Thomas S. Monson Henry B. Eyring Henry B. Eyring called as Second Counselor
3 February 2008 –
Thomas S. Monson Henry B. Eyring Dieter F. Uchtdorf Reorganization of First Presidency after death of Gordon B. Hinckley[4]

Members of the First Presidency who were not Apostles

There is no requirement that counselors in the First Presidency be apostles of the church. The following men served as a counselor in the First Presidency during the years indicated and were never ordained to the priesthood office of Apostle:

Counselors in the First Presidency not retained upon reorganization

Secretary to the First Presidency

The church employs a secretary to assist the First Presidency in its administrative duties. The position is paid employment and its holder is not formally considered to be a member of the First Presidency or a general authority of the church. However, it is common for letters from the office of the First Presidency to private individuals to bear the signature of the Presidency's secretary as opposed to any of the members of the Presidency.

The First Presidency also employs assistant secretaries and press secretaries. When David O. McKay became President of the Church in 1951, he continued with his longtime personal secretary, Clare Middlemiss, and moved the existing secretary, Joseph Anderson, into the newly-created First Presidency's office.[5]

Chronology of secretaries

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Gause and Rigdon were never formally designated as "first" and "second" counselor. However, one researcher has provided several pieces of circumstantial evidence which suggest that Gause could be regarded in today's terms as Smith's "first" counselor. See Quinn, D. Michael (1983). "Jesse Gause: Joseph's Smith's Little Known Counselor" (). BYU Studies 23 (4): 487–493 at 489–490. http://byustudies.byu.edu/shop/pdfSRC/23.4Quinn.pdf.  .
  2. ^ a b Smith appointed Bennett to serve "as Assistant President until President [Sidney] Rigdon's health should be restored.": History of the Church, 4:341. However, since Rigdon was a member of the First Presidency but not the Assistant President, many have speculated that Bennett's intended role was as a fill-in for Rigdon as a counselor in the First Presidency. Unlike both Oliver Cowdery and Hyrum Smith, Bennett was not ordained to the priesthood office of apostle and he was not given all of the keys of the priesthood. Therefore, it appears that Bennett's status as "Assistant President" may not have been commensurate with the position held by Cowdery and Hyrum Smith.
  3. ^ "President James E. Faust dies at age 87". Deseret Morning News. 2007-08-10. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695199591,00.html.  
  4. ^ "LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley dies at age 97". Deseret Morning News. 2008-01-27. http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695247765,00.html.  
  5. ^ Prince, Gregory A.; William Robert Wright (2005). David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. University of Utah Press. p. 407. http://books.google.com/books?id=3UBXLIkLEQwC&lpg=PA448&ots=w0tiYn_kOm&pg=PA407. Retrieved 2009-07-17.  

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