General authority: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), a general authority is a member of certain leadership organizations who are given administrative and ecclesiastical authority over the church. A general authority's jurisdiction is church-wide, in contrast to the responsibilities of a local authority or an area authority, which relate to a particular area, unit, or department of the church. However, not all church leaders with church-wide jurisdiction in the church are considered general authorities. As of October 2007, the number of general authorities was 94.[1]

Contents

Origin of the term

The first scriptural use of the term General Authority was in minutes of a meeting for the organization of the Presiding High Council in 1834. Though the original minutes did not refer to the term General Authorities, the revised minutes, which were included in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, stated that decisions of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles "can only be called into question by the General Authorities of the Church in case of transgression."[2] The use of the term General Authorities at this time and in this context is generally interpreted to include the First Presidency and the Presiding High Council.

Composition and distinction from general officers

By definition, general authorities are members of the church's priesthood, which does not include women. The most common definition of the general authorities includes the members of the following leadership organizations:

Organization Membership Title given to members
(e.g., Title Smith or Title John J. Smith)
Tenure
First Presidency President of the Church and his chosen counselors President President of the Church: Life
counselors: Until own death, death of the President of the Church, or release at the discretion of the president
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles 12 Apostles Elder;
President for the President or Acting President of the Quorum
Typically life; may be removed from Quorum to join First Presidency; on rare occasions may be removed from the Quorum due to an excess of Apostles
Presidency of the Seventy 7 Seventies, typically drawn from the First or Second Quorums of the Seventy Elder Variable (usually 5-8 years); until release at the discretion of the church president; will typically remain a member of the First or Second Quorums of the Seventy when released
First Quorum of the Seventy Up to 70 Seventies Elder Life; will typically be relieved of active duties and granted emeritus status around age 70
Second Quorum of the Seventy Up to 70 Seventies Elder Variable (usually 5-7 years); until release at the discretion of the Church President
Presiding Bishopric 3 Bishops: one presiding bishop and two counselors Bishop Variable (usually 9-12 years); until release at the discretion of the church president; will typically become a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy upon their release[3]
Presiding Patriarch 1 Patriarch, usually a descendant of Joseph Smith, Sr. Elder Life; current presiding patriarch has been released of active duties and given general authority emeritus status
Assistants to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Defunct (was variable) Defunct (was Elder) All Assistants to the Twelve were added to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1976 and the position was eliminated
Advertisements

General officers

Excluded from the definition of the general authorities are members of the following organizations:

The latter three groups are composed of women and represent the only three organizations in which women are given church-wide authority. With the exception of the area seventies, who have no church-wide authority, the members of the above organizations are usually referred to as general officers or general auxiliary presidencies of the church to distinguish them from general authorities.

General leadership for the Sunday School and Young Men organizations have historically been called from the ranks of the general authorities. However, in the April 2004 general conference of the church, Thomas S. Monson of the First Presidency announced that "a recent decision [has been made] that members of the Quorums of the Seventy [will] not serve in the general presidencies of the Sunday School and Young Men."[4]

Due to this change, no general auxiliary presidencies are composed of general authorities. Rather, the general authority seventies are now more active in general church committees and have less jurisdiction over local stakes, particularly in North America. Generally, stake presidents now report to the area seventies, who then report to area presidencies, which are usually composed of general authority seventies. In North America, there are no area presidencies, with members of the Presidency of the Seventy taking the responsibility of overseeing the areas.

Typically, general authorities are given authority to use the sealing power, while general officers and area seventies are not.

Tenure

A person is typically called to be a general authority or general officer by a member of the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelve. The president of the church and members of the Quorum of the Twelve are typically called for life, although there have been more than a dozen instances when an apostle has been released from his service in the Quorum of the Twelve.

As with any calling in the church, general authorities and general officers serve "until they are released". In current church practice, men called to the First Quorum of the Seventy typically remain general authorities for life, but are granted emeritus status in the October following their 70th birthday. (This practice has been more flexible in recent years, and as of the October 2004 General Conference, three of the seven members of the Presidency of the Seventy, two other members of the First Quorum, and four members of the Second Quorum were aged 70 or more and continued in office.) Members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy are typically called for a period of five to seven years. When members of the Second Quorum are released, they are no longer general authorities of the church. When members of the presiding bishopric are released, they almost invariably become members of the First Quorum of the Seventy and are therefore retained as lifetime general authorities.

Common consent

In the biannual general conferences of the church held in April and October, all of the general authorities and general officers of the church are presented to the Latter-day Saints for a sustaining vote, in accordance with the church's interpretation of the principle of common consent. This is a voluntary indication made by each member (usually by raising the hand) that the member assents to be led by the individuals presented as general authorities and general officers. Members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are always named by name, as are any persons being added or released from a position or any general authority or general officer moving from one organization to another (e.g., a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy being called to the Presidency of the Seventy). Otherwise, the general authorities and general officers of the church are simply sustained "as presently constituted".

This biannual procedure is dictated by church theology, which states that the church shall be governed by the common consent of its membership.[5] Dissenting votes are rare and have even more rarely prevented a person from holding the proposed position. General authorities and general officers are also assigned to deliver sermons during the two-day conferences.

General authority firsts

First Individual Date Position Notes
First second-generation general authority Joseph Smith, Sr. December 18, 1833 Presiding Patriarch son Joseph Smith, Jr. was President of the Church
First non-American general authority John Gould April 6, 1837 president of the Seventy British subject, having been born in Upper Canada; released on September 3, 1837
First third-generation general authority John Smith February 18, 1855 Presiding Patriarch father was Hyrum Smith, Assistant President of the Church and presiding patriarch; grandfather was Joseph Smith, Sr., presiding patriarch
First fourth-generation general authority Joseph Fielding Smith April 7, 1910 Quorum of the Twelve Apostles father was Joseph F. Smith; President of the Church; grandfather was Hyrum Smith; great-grandfather was Joseph Smith, Sr.
First general authority of Asian descent Adney Y. Komatsu 4 April 1975 Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Joined the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1976; was given emeritus status in 1993
First Native American general authority George P. Lee 3 October 1975 First Quorum of the Seventy Excommunicated in 1989
First resident of Europe general authority Charles A. Didier 3 October 1975 First Quorum of the Seventy Native of Belgium; was a member of the Presidency of the Seventy from 1992 to 1995 and from 2001 to 2007
First resident of Asia general authority Yoshihiko Kikuchi October 1977 First Quorum of the Seventy Native of Japan
First resident of the United Kingdom general authority (i.e. resident when called) Derek A. Cuthbert March 1978 First Quorum of the Seventy
First resident of Latin America general authority Ángel Abrea 20 March 1981 First Quorum of the Seventy Given emeritus status in 2003
First resident of Australia general authority Robert E. Sackley April 1988 First Quorum of the Seventy transferred to Second Quorum of the Seventy in 1989; died in 1993
First general authority of black African descent Helvécio Martins April 1990 Second Quorum of the Seventy released in 1995
First Korean general authority Han In Sang July 1991 Second Quorum of the Seventy released in 1996
First Filipino general authority Augusto A. Lim July 1992 Second Quorum of the Seventy released in 1997
First Chinese general authority Tai Kwok Yuen July 1992 Second Quorum of the Seventy released in 1997
First resident of Africa general authority Christoffel Golden Jr. April 2001 First Quorum of the Seventy Resident of South Africa
First black African general authority[6] Joseph W. Sitati April 4, 2009 First Quorum of the Seventy Native of Nairobi, Kenya

See also

References

  1. ^ See “General Authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”, Ensign, Nov. 2007, pp. 64-65.
  2. ^ Doctrine and Covenants, Covenant 102:32
  3. ^ Since 1961, every member of the Presiding Bishopric has be called to be a general authority in another capacity upon being released from the Presiding Bishopric. Most have become Assistants to the Twelve or members of the First Quorum of Seventy; Robert D. Hales was called as member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
  4. ^ “The Sustaining of Church Officers”, Ensign, May 2004, 24.
  5. ^ Doctrine and Covenants, Covenant 20:65
  6. ^ Stake, Peggy Fletcher, (April 16, 2009). "Africa's 'Mormon superstar' is LDS Church's first black African general authority". The Salt Lake Tribune. http://www.rickross.com/reference/mormon/mormon607.html. Retrieved 2009-08-06.  

External links


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message