3 quorums govern Church

In Doctrine and Covenants 107 the Lord specified that three quorums would preside over the Church - The First Presidency, the Twelve Apostles, and the Seventy (D&C 107:22-26).

The president of the Church would function as a prophet, seer and revelator, "having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the Church" (D&C 107:92). The Lord's revelation in Section 107 sets forth similar responsibilities for the Twelve and the Seventy - to stand as "special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world" and to build up the church, and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nations" (Compare v. 23-4 with v. 25-6 and v. 33 with v. 34). In these duties, the Seventy were to function under and assist the Twelve. (D&C 107:38.)The First Presidency had been organized in 1833, and the Twelve trace their beginnings to the events of February 1835. While various quorums of the seventy have been called over the years, only the seven presidents of the First Quorum of Seventy (known as the First Council of the Seventy) were recognized as General Authorities until comparatively recent times.

As Church expansion accelerated during the 1930s, consideration was given to reconstituting the First Quorum of the Seventy as a General Authorities body. This would have required a minimum of 36 members - a majority of seventy - in order to meet the requirements set forth in the Doctrine and Covenants 107:27. The Church's needs at that time, however, did not justify calling so many new General Authorities. Thus, in 1941, five high priests were named Assistants to the Twelve. By 1976 the total of these Assistants plus General Authority Seventies exceeded the minimum number of 36 for the first time and so the First Quorum of Seventy was officially organized.

In recent decades the Church has grown at an even faster rate. In 1989 a Second Quorum of the Seventy was created, presided over by the same seven presidents who headed the First Quorum - in complete harmony with the Lord's instructions in Doctrine and Covenants 107:93-95. Hence, these recent developments are simply carrying into effect the plan which was set forth by the Lord over a century and a half ago when the Church was still comparatively small. - Richard O. Cowan

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