Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

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Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is a priesthood calling in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

In general, the position of Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is only filled when the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is called as a counselor in the First Presidency of the church. In such instances, the man who holds this calling is the most senior apostle who is not serving in the First Presidency. Additionally, a person may be called as the Acting President of the Quorum when the actual President of the Quorum is unable to perform his duties due to ill health or other incapacitation.

The formal calling of Acting President of the Quorum has been held six times by five men: Rudger Clawson, Joseph Fielding Smith, Spencer W. Kimball, Howard W. Hunter, and Boyd K. Packer. Additionally, two earlier apostles—Orson Hyde and Brigham Young, Jr.—have acted as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles when they were not the second-most senior apostle in the church, and therefore may be said to have played the role of an Acting President of the Quorum before this specific title was created by the church. To date, every former Acting President of the Quorum has eventually gone on to serve as the President of the Quorum.

Duties[edit]

As the Acting President of the Quorum, the person with this calling performs all of the duties that would normally be performed by the President of the Quorum. Primarily, these duties consist of presiding at and conducting the weekly meetings of the Quorum in the Salt Lake Temple; making decisions about the particular assignments to be made to the members of the Quorum; and acting as a liaison in coordinating the work of the Quorum with the First Presidency, the Quorums of the Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric.

When adherents refer to the Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve, his name is usually prefaced by the honorific title "President".

Five formal Acting Presidents in six terms[edit]

Acting President President Dates Reason Acting President was needed Reason tenure ended
Rudgerclawson.gif Rudger Clawson Anthon H. Lund 23 November 1918 – 17 March 1921 Lund, the President of the Quorum, was asked to be a counselor in the First Presidency to Church President Heber J. Grant Death of Lund
Joseph Fielding Smith.jpg Joseph Fielding Smith David O. McKay 8 August 1950 – 4 April 1951 Quorum President George F. Richards died, and new Quorum President McKay was a counselor in the First Presidency to George Albert Smith Death of George Albert Smith and dissolution of the First Presidency, which resulted in McKay returning to the Quorum
Spencer W. Kimball3.JPG Spencer W. Kimball Harold B. Lee 23 January 1970 – 2 July 1972 Lee, the President of the Quorum, was asked to be a counselor in the First Presidency to Church President Joseph Fielding Smith Death of Joseph Fielding Smith and dissolution of the First Presidency, which resulted in Lee returning to the Quorum
Howard W. Hunter.JPG Howard W. Hunter Marion G. Romney 10 November 1985 – 20 May 1988 Romney, the Quorum President, was incapacitated due to ill health. Hunter is the only Acting President to serve while the actual President was still a member of the Quorum Death of Romney
Boyd K. Packer.jpg Boyd K. Packer Gordon B. Hinckley 5 June 1994 – 3 March 1995 Hinckley, the President of the Quorum, was asked to be a counselor in the First Presidency to Church President Howard W. Hunter. Thomas S. Monson, who was next in seniority after Hinckley, was also asked to be a counselor in the First Presidency. Death of Hunter and dissolution of the First Presidency, which resulted in Hinckley returning to the Quorum
Thomas S. Monson 12 March 1995 – 27 January 2008 Monson, the President of the Quorum, was asked to be a counselor in the First Presidency to Church Presidency Gordon B. Hinckley. Packer is the only Acting President to serve two separated terms as Acting President. Death of Hinckley and dissolution of the First Presidency, which resulted in Monson returning to the Quorum

Two "Acting Presidents" of the Quorum prior to the creation of the formal title[edit]

Bust photo of Orson Hyde
Orson Hyde
Bust photo of Brigham Young, Jr.
Brigham Young, Jr.
  • Orson Hyde (27 December 1847 – 22 June 1868): When senior apostle Brigham Young was made President of the Church on 27 December 1847, the next senior apostle, Heber C. Kimball, was asked by Young to be one of the counselors in the First Presidency. This left Orson Hyde as the most senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve. According to current practices of the church, Kimball should have been called as President of the Quorum and Hyde as Acting President. However, this procedure was not followed, and Hyde was simply called as President of the Quorum. This created a historical anomaly whereby Hyde served as the President of the Quorum (not Acting President) while being the third most senior apostle until Kimball's death on 22 June 1868.
  • Brigham Young, Jr. (9 December 1899 – 10 October 1901): When Lorenzo Snow became President of the Church, the next senior apostles, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith, were asked by Snow to be counselors in the First Presidency. This left Brigham Young, Jr.—who was the third most senior apostle of the church, but the fourth most senior member of the Quorum—as the most senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Rather than making Cannon the President of the Quorum, as would be the procedure today, Snow simply asked Young to serve as the President of the Quorum. When Cannon died in April 1901, Young continued to serve as President of the Quorum, despite the fact that Joseph F. Smith was the second most senior apostle of the church. When Snow died later that same year, Smith became president of the church and Young continued on as President of the Quorum until his own death in 1903.