Quorum of the Twelve: Wikis


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In the Latter Day Saint movement, the Quorum of the Twelve (also known as the Council of the Twelve, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Council of the Twelve Apostles, or the Twelve) was one of the governing bodies (quorums) of the church hierarchy organized by the movement's founder Joseph Smith, Jr., and patterned after the twelve apostles of Christ (see Mark 3). Members are considered to be apostles, with a special calling to be evangelical ambassadors to the world.

The Twelve were designated to be a body of "traveling councilors" with jurisdiction outside areas where the church was formally organized (areas of the world outside of Zion or its outlying Stakes), equal in authority to the First Presidency as well as to the Seventy, the standing Presiding High Council and the High Councils of the various Stakes (Doctrine & Covenants 107:25-27, 36-37).

After the death of Joseph Smith, Jr. on June 27, 1844, permanent schisms formed in the movement, resulting in the formation of various churches, many of which retained some version of this high council of twelve apostles.


Members of the original quorum, prior to 1844

In 1835, the Three Witnesses were asked by Joseph Smith, Jr. to select the original twelve members of the church's Quorum of the Twelve. They announced their choices at a meeting on 14 February 1835.[1] The Three Witnesses also ordained the twelve chosen men to the priesthood office of apostle by the laying on of hands.[1] Below is a list of members of the quorum prior to the succession crisis of 1844. Ten of the eighteen followed Brigham Young to Utah Territory and remained part of the Quorum in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (indicated below as "LDS after 1844"). Thomas B. Marsh and Luke S. Johnson later rejoined the Latter-day Saints in Utah, 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, John E. Page, went on to 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. M'Lellin joined with multiple 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 when the actual date of ordination is unclear.

Early Members after 1844

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Quorum of the Twelve is officially referred to as the "Quorum of the Twelve Apostles". The group normally has a leadership role in the church that is second only to the church's First Presidency. The Quorum implicitly follows the First Presidency's policies and pronouncements and its members are chosen by the First Presidency. However, when the First Presidency is dissolved—which is understood to occur upon the death of the President of the Church—the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles becomes the church's supreme governing body (led by the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) until they ordain a new President of the Church and he chooses counselors, which completes the reorganization of the First Presidency.

Membership in the Quorum of the Twelve is typically a lifetime calling. The current Quorum consists of:

Boyd K. Packer, President; L. Tom Perry, Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, M. Russell Ballard, Richard G. Scott, Robert D. Hales, Jeffrey R. Holland, David A. Bednar, Quentin L. Cook, D. Todd Christofferson, and Neil L. Andersen.

Council of Twelve Apostles in the Community of Christ

The Quorum of Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite)

The Church of Jesus Christ is often cited as the third largest denomination that resulted from the 1844 succession crisis.

At a conference in Green Oak, Pennsylvania in July of 1862, leaders of several branches in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia came together and formally organized what they called "The Church of Jesus Christ". William Bickerton presided over the conference. Bickerton's two counselors in the newly organized First Presidency were George Barnes and Charles Brown who were ordained apostles. The members of the Quorum of the Twelve of that organization (ordered by seniority) were Arthur Bickerton, Thomas Bickerton, Alexander Bickerton, James Brown, Cummings Cherry, Benjamin Meadowcroft, Joseph Astin, Joseph Knox, William Cadman, James Nichols, John Neish and John Dixon. At the conference George Barnes reported receiving the "word of the Lord," which he related:

Hear the word of the Lord; Ye are my Sons and Daughters, and I have committed unto you the Keys of the Kingdom, therefore be ye faithful .[2]

In this church, the "Quorum of Twelve Apostles" are the chief governing officers. Currently, the president of the church and his two counselors are not separated from the quorum, as the total number of apostles in the quorum is twelve, as specified in the scriptures. Apostles (and all ministers - commonly called "elders") in this church are volunteers and are not given any compensation for their ministry.

Council of Twelve in the Church of Christ (Temple Lot)

In the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) the Council of Twelve serves as the head of the church. The church seeks to strictly follow the church organization of the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and teaches that church offices added by Joseph Smith, Jr. after publication of the Book of Commandments, such as a President of the Church and a First Presidency, were not consistent with the Bible and Book of Mormon, and therefore were not revelations from God (Sheldon 1999).

Apostolic Quorum of the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

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.


  1. ^ a b History of the Church 2:186–187.
  2. ^ Cadman, W. H. (1945). A History of the Church of Jesus Christ. Monongahela, PA: The Church of Jesus Christ.  


  1. Sheldon, William A. (1999). "A Synopsis of Church of Christ Beliefs as Compared to Other Latter Day Saint Churches" (). Church of Christ (Temple Lot). http://www.churchofchrist-tl.org/latter.html. Retrieved April 26, 2007.  .


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