Quorum (Latter Day Saints)

Quorum (Latter Day Saints)

In the Latter Day Saint movement, a quorum is a group of people ordained or endowed with priesthood authority, and organized to act together as a body. The idea of a "quorum" was established by Joseph Smith, Jr. early in the history of the movement, and during his lifetime it has included several church-wide quorums, including the First Presidency, the Presiding High Council, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Anointed Quorum, the Council of Fifty, the Quorum of the Seventy, and arguably the Relief Society, as well as numerous local quorums for each congregation.

The concept of a "quorum" continues to have significant meaning in most modern Latter Day Saint denominations. Quorums are expected to act unanimously, if possible, and are chaired by one person who is designated as the president or presiding officer.

Quorums in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Quorum is a body (group) of those ordained to the same office of the priesthood. The size of each quorum depends on the office to which the members are ordained.

General Authority Quorums

There are certain quorums of the Church that are called to preside over the entire Church. These quorum members are called General Authorities.

The Presidency of the Church (commonly called the First Presidency) is a quorum consisting of at least one apostle (the President of the Church) and two or more high priests. [The Doctrine and Covenants, sourcetext|source=The Doctrine and Covenants|book=Covenant 107|verse=22] In practice, all members of the First Presidency are usually apostles. The Presidency of the Church presides over the entire church, and only the President of the Church is authorized to use all priesthood keys within the church. The members of this quorum are usually the President of the Church and his first and second counselors. The First Presidency may be expanded to allow for additional counselors, when needed.

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is a group of twelve men, ordained to the office of apostle, that have been called as "special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world". This quorum is "equal in authority and power to the three presidents previously mentioned." [The Doctrine and Covenants, sourcetext|source=The Doctrine and Covenants|book=Covenant 107|verse=23] Members of this quorum hold priesthood keys, but they are only used under the direction of the First Presidency.

The Presiding Bishopric is a quorum consisting of three men who are called to preside over the Aaronic priesthood and some temporal affairs of the church. This quorum consists of the Presiding Bishop and two counselors, who hold priesthood keys to direct the temporal affairs and finances of the church, in conjunction with the First Presidency and Twelve. They also hold all of the keys of the Aaronic priesthood. In current practice, these men are always high priests and ordained bishops.

The Quorums of the Seventy "are also called to preach the gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world". These quorums are "equal in authority to that of the Twelve special witnesses or Apostles just named." [The Doctrine and Covenants, sourcetext|source=The Doctrine and Covenants|book=Covenant 107|verse=25] Each Quorum of the Seventy may consist of up to seventy ordained to the office of Seventy, and is presided over by seven presidents who hold keys to direct the affairs of the quorum. There may be an unlimited number of such quorums that are called to witness in "all the world", but currently only the members of the first and second quorums are general authorities of the church. [The Doctrine and Covenants, sourcetext|source=The Doctrine and Covenants|book=Covenant 107|verse=93]

Local Priesthood Quorums

Melchizedek Priesthood Quorums

A High Priests Quorum is a local quorum organized in each stake and presided over by the local stake presidency, who holds the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood with a stake. All Melchizedek Priesthood members who have been ordained a High Priest and live within the stake are in this Quorum. Full quorum meetings are usually held semiannually; however, each ward also has a High Priest Group Leader who leads weekly meetings and oversees the day-to-day aspects of the High Priest quorum within a ward, under the direction of the quorum president.

All Melchizedek priesthood members who have been ordained to the office of High Priest belong to the High Priests Quorum, even if they hold another office, except for Apostles and Seventies as discussed below. This includes High Priests, Patriarchs and Bishops. This holds true in all Latter Day Saint organizations that do not have a separate "patriarchs quorums", which are unspecified by revelation to Joseph Smith.

As noted before, Apostles generally hold membership in the Quorum of Twelve Apostles or the First Presidency. Seventies belong to one of the eight Quorums of Seventy. A Seventy called to serve in a quorum other than the First Quorum of Seventy (that is, in the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, or Eighth Quorum of Seventy) is released from that calling after a period of service, and then returns to membership in his home quorum of High Priests.

Historically, a Quorum of Seventy was a local quorum that consisted of up to seventy members in each quorum, and was presided over by seven presidents, each of who have keys and act under the direction and authority of the Stake President. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Quorums of Seventy are no longer organized in local units (stakes and wards).

An Elders Quorum is a local quorum organized in each ward, but presided over by a president with priesthood keys, who acts under the direction and authority of the local stake presidency, and under the direction of the presiding High Priest in the ward who is typically a Bishop. Each quorum consists of up to ninety-six Elders. [The Doctrine and Covenants, sourcetext|source=The Doctrine and Covenants|book=Covenant 107|verse=89]

A Melchizedek Priesthood Group is formed in a ward or branch where there are not enough High Priests to justify a High Priest group within a ward or branch (usually less than 20). In these cases, a High Priest is called to oversee the direction of both the High Priests and Elders, and is set apart as the Melchizedek Priesthood Group leader, under the direction of the Stake President.

Aaronic Priesthood Quorums

A Priests Quorum is a quorum consisting of up to forty-eight members of at least sixteen years of age, [The Doctrine and Covenants, sourcetext|source=The Doctrine and Covenants|book=Covenant 107|verse=87] ordained to the office of Priest. If there are more than forty-eight Priests in the ward, then multiple quorums are organized. Priests Quorums are organized at the ward level and presided over by the ward Bishop, with the Bishop being the president of the quorum(s) and holding the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood in the ward. [The Doctrine and Covenants, sourcetext|source=The Doctrine and Covenants|book=Covenant 107|verse=88] The Bishop typically calls two "assistants" to oversee the day-to-day affairs of the quorum.

A Teachers Quorum is a quorum consisting of up to twenty-four members of at least fourteen years of age, [The Doctrine and Covenants, sourcetext|source=The Doctrine and Covenants|book=Covenant 107|verse=86] ordained to the office of Teacher. If there are more than twenty-four Teachers in the ward, then multiple quorums are to be organized. Teachers Quorums are organized at the ward level and act under the direction of the Aaronic Priesthood president—the ward Bishop—who calls a Teachers Quorum President who holds keys to direct the work of the quorum.

A Deacons Quorum is a quorum consisting of up to twelve members of at least twelve years of age, [The Doctrine and Covenants, sourcetext|source=The Doctrine and Covenants|book=Covenant 107|verse=85] ordained to the office of Deacon. If there are more than twelve Deacons in the ward, then multiple quorums are to be organized. Deacons Quorums are organized at the ward level and act under the direction of the ward Bishop—who is the Aaronic Priesthood president—who calls a Deacons Quorum President who holds keys to direct the work of the quorum.

An Aaronic Priesthood Group is formed in a ward or branch where there are not enough Aaronic priesthood holder to form multiple quorums (usually less than 10 total). In these cases, a senior Aaronic priesthood holder (a Priest if available, then a Teacher if available) is called to "assist" the Bishop to oversee the direction of Aaronic priesthood holders within the ward. This individual may be called as "Aaronic Priesthood group leader," "Aaronic Priesthood class president," or as an assistant to the bishop depending on circumstances.

Administrative Quorums

A Stake Presidency is a quorum consisting of three to administrate a unit of church organization called a stake. This quorum consists of the Stake President and two counselors who are each ordained to the office of high priest.

A Stake High Council is an administrative quorum consisting of twelve called that assist in the administration of a stake. Each of the members is ordained to the office of high priest, and also belongs to the High Priests Quorum in the stake.

A Bishopric is a quorum consisting of three to administrate a church congregation or ward. This quorum consists of the Bishop and two counselors. While the Bishop and his counselors are typically High Priests, counselors may hold other priesthood offices. [In Latter-day Saint single adult wards, often counselors are Elders rather than high priests. Other circumstances may dictate different arrangements] Typically, the Bishop is also set apart as the quorum president of the Priests Quorum, and therefore the bishopric is the presidency of that quorum.

A Quorum Presidency is an administrative quorum consisting of a quorum president who holds keys to direct the affairs of the quorum, and two counselors who he has selected to assist him. In most cases, the president will also select a secretary whom he will delegate authority to as needed.

Auxiliary presidencies and groups such as the Relief Society, Primary, Sunday School and Young Men's and Young Women's programs do not form quorums as they are auxiliary to the priesthood.

References


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