President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
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 President of the Quorum of the Twelve is the most senior Apostle in the church, aside from the President of the Church. When the President of the Church dies, it is the President of the Quorum of the Twelve who becomes the new Church President. The calling of President of the Twelve has been held by 25 men, 15 of whom have gone on to become President of the Church. The current President of the Quorum of the Twelve is Boyd K. Packer.
History of the Presidency of the Quorum of the Twelve
Upon the death of the President of the Church, the First Presidency automatically dissolves, leaving the Twelve Apostles as the highest leadership body and their President as the highest official in the Church. On the death of Church President Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1844, this position was held by Brigham Young, and he persuaded the Church that Smith's death left him and not Sidney Rigdon, who had been Smith's First Counselor in the First Presidency, as the senior leader. Smith had reportedly taught the Apostles, "Where I am not, there is no First Presidency over the Twelve."
In 1847, the Quorum of the Twelve reconstituted the First Presidency, with Brigham Young as President. During Young's presidency, seniority within the Quorum of the Twelve was formalized to mean "continuous service as an Apostle since being ordained as one of the Twelve". The original apostles of 1835 had been ranked by age, and two of them had been excommunicated and later restored to fellowship. With this rule in place, it was John Taylor who led the Church after Young's death in 1877, first as President of the Twelve and after 1880 as President of the Church with Wilford Woodruff as President of the Twelve.
After Taylor died in 1887, Woodruff did not reorganize the First Presidency until 1889. But before his death in 1898, he advised the President of the Twelve, Lorenzo Snow, "Do not wait, Brother Snow, but proceed at once to reorganize the First Presidency". Snow followed this advice and since then every interval between the death of the President of the Church and the ordination of a new President has been less than two weeks, just long enough to mourn the death of the President of the Church and complete his funeral services, and also for the Quorum of the Twelve to nominate and sustain the President of the Twelve and for the new president to choose his counselors in the First Presidency. When the President of the Twelve becomes the President of the Church, the next Apostle in seniority becomes the new President of the Twelve.
The President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is the priesthood leader of the members of the Quorum. As such, all members of the Quorum report directly to him. The President's other duties consist of presiding at and conducting 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; speaking on behalf of the Quorum to members of the Church and the media; 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.
- See main article: Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
If the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is asked to become a counselor in the First Presidency, the President of the Quorum retains that title but is not numbered among the Twelve, and the most senior Apostle who is not in the First Presidency is named Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The Acting President assumes all of the duties that would normally rest upon the President of the Quorum. The title of Acting President was first used in 1918 for Rudger Clawson. The position has also been used during times of infirmity of a President of the Twelve: for example, Howard W. Hunter was Acting President for the infirm Marion G. Romney from 1985 to 1988.
Boyd K. Packer was the Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1994 to 2008 when Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson were presidents of the Quorum but also in the First Presidency.
List of Presidents of the Quorum of the Twelve
|#||President of the Quorum||Dates of Tenure||Why Tenure Ended||Notes|
|1||Thomas B. Marsh||14 February 1835—17 March 1839||Excommunicated for apostasy|
|2||Brigham Young||17 March 1839–27 December 1847||Became 2nd President of the Church||Was not formally set apart as President of the Quorum until 14 April 1840|
|3||Orson Hyde||27 December 1847—10 April 1875||In 1875 Church President Brigham Young adjusted the rule of seniority in the Quorum: the senior member was to be the person with the longest uninterrupted service in the Quorum, as opposed to the person who entered the Quorum at the earliest date. Hyde's seniority in the Quorum was therefore reduced to reflect the fact that he had been disfellowshipped and therefore removed from the Quorum for brief periods of time in 1839 and 1846.||From 1847 to 1868, Hyde was actually the third most senior apostle. The second most senior apostle was Heber C. Kimball, a member of the First Presidency. If current practice were followed, Kimball would have been President of the Quorum and Hyde would have served as Acting President during this time period. However, Kimball was never called as President of the Quorum of the Twelve.|
|4||John Taylor||10 April 1875—10 October 1880||Became 3rd President of the Church||Became the President of the Quorum when Church President Brigham Young adjusted the rule of seniority in the Quorum; see Notes on Orson Hyde, above; was not formally set apart as President of the Quorum until after the death of Brigham Young in 1877|
|5||Wilford Woodruff||10 October 1880—7 April 1889||Became 4th President of the Church||Unclear if he was ever formally set apart as President of the Quorum|
|6||Lorenzo Snow||7 April 1889—13 September 1898||Became 5th President of the Church|
|7||Franklin D. Richards||13 September 1898—9 December 1899||Death|
|8||Brigham Young, Jr.||9 December 1899—10 October 1901||Death of Lorenzo Snow; First Presidency dissolved and Joseph F. Smith joins Quorum of the Twelve as senior Apostle and President of the Quorum||At the beginning of Young's tenure, George Q. Cannon was the second most senior Apostle in the Church. However, Cannon was a counselor in the First Presidency and was never called as President of the Quorum. (If today's practices had been followed, Cannon would have been called as Quorum President and Young as Acting Quorum President.) When Cannon died in April 1901, Young remained the President of the Quorum despite the fact that First Presidency member Joseph F. Smith was then the second most senior Apostle. For a similar anomalous situation, see Orson Hyde's 1847 to 1868 tenure, above. Young also served as Quorum President between 17 October 1901 and 11 April 1903.|
|9||Joseph F. Smith||10 October 1901—17 October 1901||Became 6th President of the Church||Shortest tenure as Quorum President; unclear if he was ever formally set apart|
|10||Brigham Young, Jr.||17 October 1901—11 April 1903||Death||Also served as Quorum President between 9 December 1899 and 10 October 1901; only Quorum President to serve two interrupted terms|
|11||Francis M. Lyman||11 April 1903—18 November 1916||Death|
|12||Heber J. Grant||18 November 1916—23 November 1918||Became 7th President of the Church|
|13||Anthon H. Lund||23 November 1918—2 March 1921||Death||Was a member of the First Presidency during the entirety of his tenure as Quorum President. Rudger Clawson was Acting President during this time.|
|14||Rudger Clawson||2 March 1921—21 June 1943||Death||Longest tenure as Quorum President; was also Acting President between 23 November 1918 and 2 March 1921|
|15||George Albert Smith||21 June 1943—21 May 1945||Became 8th President of the Church|
|16||George F. Richards||21 May 1945—8 August 1950||Death|
|17||David O. McKay||8 August 1950—9 April 1951||Became 9th President of the Church||During his tenure as Quorum President, he was a member of the First Presidency between 8 August 1950 and 4 April 1951. Joseph Fielding Smith was Acting President during this time.|
|18||Joseph Fielding Smith||9 April 1951—23 January 1970||Became 10th President of the Church||Was also Acting President between 8 August 1950 and 4 April 1951. During his tenure as Quorum President, he was a member of the First Presidency between 29 October 1965 and 8 January 1970, but remained a member of the Quorum during this time.|
|19||Harold B. Lee||23 January 1970—7 July 1972||Became 11th President of the Church||During his tenure as Quorum President, he was a member of the First Presidency between 23 January 1970 and 2 July 1970. Spencer W. Kimball was Acting President during this time.|
|20||Spencer W. Kimball||7 July 1972—30 December 1973||Became 12th President of the Church||Was also Acting President between 23 January 1970 and 2 July 1970|
|21||Ezra Taft Benson||30 December 1973—10 November 1985||Became 13th President of the Church|
|22||Marion G. Romney||10 November 1985—20 May 1988||Death||Due to Romney's ill health, Howard W. Hunter served as Acting President for the entirety of his tenure as Quorum President.|
|23||Howard W. Hunter||20 May 1988—5 June 1994||Became 14th President of the Church||Was also Acting President between 10 November 1985 and 20 May 1988|
|24||Gordon B. Hinckley||5 June 1994—12 March 1995||Became 15th President of the Church||During his tenure as Quorum President, he was a member of the First Presidency between 5 June 1994 and 3 March 1995. Boyd K. Packer was Acting President during this time.|
|25||Thomas S. Monson||12 March 1995—3 February 2008||Became 16th President of the Church||Was a member of the First Presidency for the entirety of his tenure until Gordon B. Hinckley's death on January 27, 2008. Boyd K. Packer was Acting President during the time that Monson was a member of the First Presidency.|
|26||Boyd K. Packer||3 February 2008—||Was also Acting President from 5 June 1994 to 3 March 1995, when Gordon B. Hinckley was a member of the First Presidency, and from 12 March 1995 to 27 January 2008, when Thomas S. Monson was a member of the First Presidency.|
- Joseph Smith, Jr., B.H. Roberts (ed.), History of the Church, 2:374 (16 January 1836); Joseph Smith, Jr., Joseph Fielding Smith (ed.) (1938) Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Deseret Book: Salt Lake City, 106.