Presiding high council

Presiding high council image

In the Latter Day Saint movement, there are two presiding high councils, one said to be "standing," and the other "traveling." The traveling high council is generally known as the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. Both councils, at least in theory, preside over the church, although the apostles have tended to supersede the standing high council in both of the largest Latter Day Saint denominations, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ.

Both presiding high councils function as second presidencies to the church, the apostles overseeing the mission field, and the standing high council overseeing the stakes of Zion (or areas where the church has been organized into sustained units).

Historically, the standing high council had oversight over all other high councils within the stakes of Zion and was equal in authority to the Quorum of the Twelve. Because the standing high council oversaw stake high councils, the Quorum of the Twelve had oversight over the Seventy.

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Types of high councils

In the revelations of Joseph Smith, at least three types of high council are mentioned:

  • Stake high councils, with standing or authority in only one particular stake;
  • a standing presiding high council, also called the High Council in Zion or the High Council of Zion, with jurisdiction over all the stakes of Zion; and
  • a traveling presiding high council, later called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles), with jurisdiction over the mission field outside of the established stakes.

The standing presiding high council was intended to be located at the "center place" of Zion, or church headquarters. The center place itself is not considered a stake. Building upon the Book of Isaiah's imagery of Zion as a tent (Isaiah 54:2), the church leadership is found at the center pole of the tent, with the stakes of Zion providing support and balance to the center place.

The standing presiding high council in Zion acts with the First Presidency as a second presidency to the church. The traveling presiding high council acts to govern the church outside of the organized stakes. One of Smith's revelations states that "the high council in Zion form a quorum equal in authority in the affairs of the church, in all their decisions, to the councils of the Twelve at the stakes of Zion."

The two presiding high councils, when combined, are equal in authority to the ...read more

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