Church News

Elder D. Todd Christofferson: 'The elders quorum'

In his priesthood session talk on March 31, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offered further instructions on the modifications to Melchizedek Priesthood quorums announced moments earlier by President Russell M. Nelson.

After briefly discussing historical patterns of “significant refinements” to the priesthood organization dating back to Joseph Smith, Elder Christofferson detailed the adjustments for ward high priest groups and elder quorums.

Elders and high priests quorums

“Members of elders quorums and high priests groups will now be combined into one Melchizedek Priesthood quorum with one quorum presidency. This quorum, increased in numbers and unity, will be designated the ‘elders quorum.’

“High priests groups are discontinued. The elders quorum includes all elders and prospective elders in the ward as well as high priests who are not currently serving in the bishopric, in the stake presidency, on the high council, or as functioning patriarchs.

“The high priests quorum in the stake will be composed of those high priests who are serving in the stake presidency, in bishoprics, on the high council, and as functioning patriarchs.”

The elders quorum presidency

So how is the presidency of the elders quorum to be organized?

The stake presidency will release current high priests group leaderships and elders quorum presidencies and will call a new elders quorum president and counselors in each ward, he said.

The new elders quorum presidency may include elders and high priests — and either an elder or a high priest may serve as the quorum president or a counselor in the presidency.

“We expect elders and high priests to work together in any combination in the quorum presidency and in quorum service,” he said. “These quorum adjustments should be implemented as soon as conveniently possible.”

Priesthood offices in the elders quorum

Does the adjustment in quorum structure change the priesthood office held by quorum members?

No, the action does not rescind any priesthood offices to which any quorum member may have been ordained in the past, Elder Christofferson said.

“Elders will continue to be ordained high priests when they are called to a stake presidency, high council, or bishopric — or at other times as determined by the stake president through prayerful consideration and inspiration,” he added. “When their terms of service in a stake presidency, high council, or bishopric are completed, high priests will rejoin the elders quorum in their ward.”

Direction for the elders quorum president

So, who directs the work of the elders quorum president?

“The stake president presides over the Melchizedek Priesthood in his stake,” he said. “Therefore, the elders quorum president is directly responsible to the stake president, who provides training and guidance from the stake presidency and through the high council.”

The bishop, as the presiding high priest in the ward, also meets regularly with the elders quorum president, offering counsel and direction on how to best serve ward members.

The purpose of these changes

Having one Melchizedek Priesthood quorum in the ward unifies priesthood holders to accomplish all aspects of the work of salvation, including the temple and family history work previously coordinated by the high priests groups, explained Elder Christofferson.

“It also allow quorum members of all ages and backgrounds to benefit from the perspective and experience of one another and of those in different stages of life.”

The adjustments were considered by the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the Presidency of the Seventy over an extended period of time.

“With much prayer, careful study of the scriptural foundations of priesthood quorums, and confirmation that this is the Lord’s will, we are moving forward with unanimity in what is in reality one more step in the unfolding of the Restoration.”

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