First Presidency

From Academic Kids

In Mormonism, the First Presidency (or the Quorum of the Presidency of the Church) is one of the governing bodies in the church hierarchy of several Latter Day Saint denominations. A First Presidency was organized by Joseph Smith, Jr., who was its presiding member until his death in 1844. Some time later, First Presidencies were organized by Brigham Young and Joseph Smith III.

The First Presidency in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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President Gordon B. Hinckley

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the First Presidency is the presiding or governing authority of the church. It usually consists of the President of the Church and two counselors, although up to six counselors have on occasion been included in the presidency.

The counselors are customarily chosen from among the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and work closely with the Church President in guiding the entire church. In the case of an infirm president they may be called upon to perform his duties in his absence, and if needed additional counselors, who are not numbered, are called to assist them. Like the Church President and President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, counselors in the First Presidency are known as "President" (thus the current First Presidency are referred to as President Gordon B. Hinckley, President Thomas S. Monson, and President James E. Faust).

Counselors serve until either their own deaths, the death of the Church President who called them, or until they are released. 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. See President of the Church (Mormonism) for information on succession in the church.

Customarily the counselors of the late president are retained, but 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.

The present membership of the First Presidency is as follows:

The First Presidency in the Community of Christ

The First Presidency is the highest leadership or priesthood quorum of the Community of Christ church. Normally the First Presidency consists of the Prophet-President of the church and two counselors.

In 1860 with the reorganization of the First Presidency, Joseph Smith III became the second Prophet-President of this church and also President of a new First Presidency. William Marks became Smith's First Counselor.

The First Presidency of the Community of Christ differs from the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where the church president is always the senior-most member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (of which there are usually 14 following the death of the Prophet). In the Community of Christ, by contrast, each new church president has generally been "designated" as the successor by the preceding church president. The Counselors in the First Presidency were then chosen by the church president and are also not former members of the Council of Twelve Apostles. In addition, the death of the Prophet-President does not dissolve the First Presidency, which continues on as the church's executive council in the persons of the remaining two presidents until a Prophet-President is called. The two members who were counselors to the prophet-president, cease to be counselors during this time. Upon ordination of the Prophet-President, the former first presidency is desolved, and upon ordination of the two he/she calls to be his/her councilors and presidents of the church it is reorganized.

Prior to 1996, all prophet-presidents happened to be descendents of the movement's founder, Joseph Smith, Jr.. This pattern was broken by Wallace B. Smith, who designated W. Grant McMurray church president. McMurray, in turn, resigned the church presidency in 2004 without designating a successor. A Joint Council of church leaders led by the Council of Twelve Apostles announced in March 2005 the name of Stephen M. Veazey as Prophet-President designate. Veazey had been serving as president of the Council of Twelve. Delegates elected to a special World Conference of the church approved Veazey and he was ordained as the 8th president of the High Priesthood, Prophet, and President of the Church on June 3, 2005.

One June 4, 2005 with the ordinations of Ken Robinson and David Schaal as presidents of the church and counselors to the president, the First Presidency was reorganized.

Current members of the First Presidency:

  • President Stephen M. Veazey
  • President Kenneth N. Robinson (Counselor to the president)
  • President David D. Schaal (Counselor to the president)

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