President of the Church (Mormonism)

From Academic Kids

In Mormonism, the President of the Church is the head of a Latter Day Saint denomination or church. Several other titles are associated with this office, including First Elder of the church, Presiding High Priest, President of the High Priesthood, Trustee-in-Trust for the church, Prophet, Seer and Revelator (in a few cases Prophet, Seer and Translator, Prophet, Priest and King or King Priest and Ruler over Israel on Earth). The movement's founder, Joseph Smith, Jr., the first president of the church, was known by all of these titles in his lifetime.

A succession crisis followed Smith's assassination in 1844. Different successors organized church hierarchies, making use of some or all of these titles and functions. Today, the largest two denominations are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ — and the office of president of the church has evolved distinctly in both of these traditions as well as in many other, smaller Latter Day Saint traditions.

Contents

Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest denomination of the Latter Day Saint movement is the church's leader and the head of the First Presidency, the church's highest governing body. Latter-day Saints consider him to be a Prophet, Seer and Revelator, and refer to him particularly as The Prophet, a title originally given to Joseph Smith, Jr..

Latter-day Saints consider the president of the church to be God's "mouthpiece" both for the church and for other religions. He is thought to have supreme priesthood authority, and the right to receive revelations. Modern presidents, however, have not generally continued Joseph Smith's practice of regularly publishing written doctrinal revelations and visions, although most have stated that they have received such.

Infallibility versus Opinion

According to the Doctrine and Covenants, which includes information on the offices and policies of the church, the president of the church is the only man empowered to receive revelation for the entire church and to change or clarify doctrine. The church teaches that the president will never be allowed to lead the Latter Day Saints astray and that God will "remove" any man who stands at the head of the church who intends to mislead its members. As such, when speaking as president, the words of the president of the church are "infallible," meaning they are correct and binding on those who live under his administration. By following the president's teachings, members of the church are told that they are justified in their actions.

This distinction is important: when he "speaks as the president of the church," his words are infallible. Often when the president speaks, it is not as the president of the church. At these times, the president may offer opinion and conjecture about non-spiritual topics which may or may not be correct. For example, one early church president opined there were people living on the moon. Though most members of the church regard this as an expression of an (uninspired) opinion, critics have cited this statement as proof of the fallibility of church presidents.

Succession to the Presidency

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when a president of the church dies, the First Presidency is dissolved and the members of the First Presidency who were formerly members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles return to that quorum. The Quorum of the Twelve is then the presiding council of the church, with the senior apostle as its president. In modern times the Quorum of the Twelve has moved quickly to reconstitute the First Presidency by calling and setting apart one of their number to be the President of the Church. However, Brigham Young presided over the church for three years as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve before the First Presidency was reconstituted after the death of Joseph Smith. Historically, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve is selected as the new President of the Church, but, there is no scriptural requirement to do so.

Once the new President of the Church is called, he calls two counselors, again historically chosen from the Quorum of the Twelve. Their formal designations are First Counselor in the First Presidency and Second Counselor in the First Presidency. The President and his two counselors constitute the First Presidency, the presiding council of the church. The next senior apostle to the President of the Church is called by the First Presidency to be the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. If the President of the Quorum of the Twelve has been called to be a counselor in the First Presidency, the apostle next in seniority is called to be the Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve. At the death of the President of the Church, an Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve returns to the quorum's membership and the President of the Quorum of the Twelve takes his role as president of the quorum.

List of Presidents

#PresidentLifeServedLengthOrdination
1 Joseph Smith, Jr. December 23 1805 – June 27 1844 1832–1844 12 years April 6 1830
2 Brigham Young June 1 1801 – August 29 1877 1847–1877 30 years December 27 1847
3 John Taylor November 1 1808 – July 25 1887 1877–1887 10 years October 10 1880
4 Wilford Woodruff March 1 1807 – September 2 1898 1889–1898 9 years April 7 1889
5 Lorenzo Snow April 3 1814 – October 10 1901 1898–1901 3 years September 13 1898
6 Joseph F. Smith November 13 1838 – November 19 1918 1901–1918 17 years October 17 1901
7 Heber J. Grant November 22 1856 – May 14 1945 1918–1945 27 years November 23 1918
8 George Albert Smith April 4 1870 – April 4 1951 1945–1951 6 years May 21 1945
9 David O. McKay September 8 1873 – January 18 1970 1951–1970 19 years April 9 1951
10 Joseph Fielding Smith July 19 1876 – July 2 1972 1970–1972 2 years January 23 1970
11 Harold B. Lee March 28 1899 – December 26 1973 1972–1973 1 year July 7 1972
12 Spencer W. Kimball March 28 1895 – November 5 1985 1973–1985 12 years December 30 1973
13 Ezra Taft Benson August 4 1899 – May 30 1994 1985–1994 8 years November 10 1985
14 Howard W. Hunter November 14 1907 – March 3 1995 1994–1995 9 months June 5 1994
15 Gordon B. Hinckley born June 23 1910 1995–present presently serving March 12 1995

Presidents of the Community of Christ

In the Community of Christ, the president of the church is often referred to as the Prophet-President. The Prophet-President is the highest priesthood leader of this denomination of Latter Day Saints. The position is composed of several roles: (1) President of the Church, (2) President of the High Priesthood and (3) Prophet, Seer, and Revelator to the church.

As President of the Church, the prophet-president is the church's chief executive and is the leader of the First Presidency, the church's chief executive council. As President of the High Priesthood, the prophet-president is the church's leading priesthood official. (Since the initiation of the ordination of women in 1985, it is now possible for this position to be filled by a woman though all prophet-presidents to date have been men.) As Prophet, Seer and Revelator, the prophet-president is the Community of Christ's spiritual leader and can present revelations to the church to be added to the Doctrine and Covenants — an open canon of scripture, which stands with the Bible and the Book of Mormon as sacred text.

Succession to the Presidency

Generally, the prophet-president will name or ordain a successor prior to his death. Prior to 1995 these successors have been chosen according to the principle of lineal succession. Accordingly, the first six prophet-presidents following movement founder Joseph Smith, Jr. were his direct descendents.

In 1995, Wallace B. Smith broke with the precedent of lineal succession by naming W. Grant McMurray as his successor. In November 2004, McMurray resigned from the office of prophet-president without naming a successor, citing medical and personal issues. The First Presidency, composed of McMurray's two counselors, continued to function as the church's chief executive council. 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 president of the High Priesthood, Prophet, and President of the Church on June 3, 2005.

List of Presidents

#PresidentLifeServedLengthOrdination
1 Joseph Smith, Jr. December 23 1805 – June 27 1844 1830–1844 14 years April 6 1830
2 Joseph Smith III November 6 1832 – December 10 1914 1860–1914 54 years April 6 1860
3 Frederick M. Smith January 21 1872 – March 20 1946 1914–1946 32 years May 15 1915
4 Israel A. Smith February 2 1876 – June 14 1958 1946–1958 12 years April 6 1946
5 W. Wallace Smith November 18 1900 – August 4 1989 1958–1978 20 years October 6 1958
6 Wallace B. Smith born July 291929 1978–1996 18 years April 5 1978
7 W. Grant McMurray born June 12 1947 1996–2004 8 years April 15 1996
8 Stephen M. Veazey born: 2005– present current June 3 2005

Presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite)

In the Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite), the President of the General Church is also a member of and the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

List of Presidents

#PresidentLifeServedLengthOrdination
1 Joseph Smith, Jr. December 23 1805 – June 27 1844 1830–1844 14 years April 6 1830
2 Sidney Rigdon 1844–1847
3 William Bickerton 1962–1946
4 William Cadman 1876–1907
5 Alexander Cherry 1907–1921
6 William H. Cadman [[1921]–?
Dominic R. Thomas 1974– present current
de:Prδsident der Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzten Tage
Navigation

Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)

Information

  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Toolbox
Personal tools