Seventy (Latter Day Saints)
Seventy is a priesthood office in the Melchizedek priesthood of several denominations within the Latter Day Saint movement, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Traditionally, a Latter Day Saint holding this priesthood office is a "traveling minister" and an "especial witness" of Jesus Christ, charged with the mission of preaching the gospel to the entire world under the direction of the Twelve Apostles. Latter Day Saints teach that the office of seventy was anciently conferred upon the seventy disciples mentioned in the Gospel of Luke 10:1-2. Multiple individuals holding the office of seventy are referred to collectively as "seventies".
Place in Latter Day Saint hierarchy
In practical terms, the priesthood office of seventy is one which has varied widely over the course of history. As originally envisioned by Latter Day Saint movement founder Joseph Smith, Jr. in the 1830s, the seventy were to be a body composed of several separate quorums of up to 70 seventies each, all of which would be led by seven presidents. These presidents, chosen from the first quorum, would appoint and direct the other quorums of seventy.
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest of the Latter Day Saint denominations, the quorums of the seventy are directed and supervised hierarchically by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who are in turn directed by the First Presidency. As introduced by Joseph Smith, the apostles and the seventy had authority only outside the main body of Latter Day Saints in Zion, and in the outlying stakes. Members in Zion and the stakes were led by the High Council of Zion (under the direction of the First Presidency) and stake high councils.
As a body, the seventy in the LDS Church are considered to be equal in priesthood authority with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. This presumably means that if the apostles were killed or incapacitated, the seventy could take over the function of the apostles. However, in such circumstances, the seventy would be required to act unanimously.
Early Latter Day Saint quorums of seventy
Historically, the First Quorum of the Seventy came into being in 1835 when seven men were set apart as the First Seven Presidents of the Seventy.
In 1837, six of the seven presidents were released because it was discovered that they had previously been ordained high priests. Five of these men were ultimately replaced by others. The other two—Levi W. Hancock and Joseph Young—remained members of the First Seven Presidents for the rest of their lives.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
As of 2008, in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Quorums of the Seventy are organized into eight quorums with a presidency of seven. The seventy act as emissaries of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and First Presidency of the church in organizing, training, proselytizing, and administering to millions of people scattered all across the globe. The seventy are the layer between local church administration and general church administration.
Members of the Third through Eighth Quorums of the Seventy are called an area seventy and are ordained to the priesthood office of seventy, but they are not general authorities of the church. Area seventies generally have authority only within a geographical unit of the church called an area.
The Community of Christ
Within the Community of Christ, a seventy is also considered to be an elder but are not High Priests. Part of the function of the seventy is a missionary role and they work closely with the apostle in charge of the mission field they are in. They are organized into ten quorums, each quorum being presided over by a president. These presidents make up the Council of Presidents of Seventy, and are collectively led by the Senior President of the Presidents of Seventy. All ten quorums are equal with one another. When someone is ordained a seventy, that person automatically becomes a member of one of the Ten Quorums, and remains a member of one of the Quorums (although the specific quorum may change based on residency) so long as that person remains a seventy. In other words, it is not possible to be a seventy and not belong to one of these quorums.
The current roster of Presidents of Seventy include:
- Quorum I - Urbain Mbenga
- Quorum II - Amson Mallick
- Quorum III - Keith McMillan
- Quorum IV - Larry McGuire
- Quorum V - Karin Peter
- Quorum VI - Robin Linkhart
- Quorum VII - Luis Dias
- Quorum VIII - Ruben Landeros
- Quorum IX - Kris Judd
- Quorum X - John Wight, Senior President
Historically, there have always been 7 quorums, with a maximum of 70 members each. However, on January 17, 2010, President–Prophet Stephen M. Veazey announced that the number of quorums (and presidents) could be flexible, based on the current needs of the church. The change from seven to ten quorums occurred after the acceptance of Doctrine and Covenants Section 164 at the World Conference in April 2010.
The Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite)
The seventy in this church are called the Seventy Evangelists and strictly limited to that number. They are ordained evangelists, not seventies. Missionary work is the focus of this calling in The Church of Jesus Christ.
Apostolic United Brethren
There is currently one functioning Quorum of Seventy in the Apostolic United Brethren, and its members are geographically split between different congregations. All men ordained to this office are called for life.
- The Doctrine and Covenants, Section 107:97
- The Doctrine and Covenants, Section 107:25
- The Doctrine and Covenants, Section 107:34
- The Doctrine and Covenants, Section 107:95
- The Doctrine and Covenants, Section 107:26
- Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Quorum of the First Presidency”, Ensign, Dec. 2005, 47.
- The Doctrine and Covenants, Section 107:27
- Hancock was originally one of the six who were removed, but he was reinstated when it was discovered that he in fact had not been ordained a high priest.
- Turley, Richard E., Jr. (2005), "The Calling of the Twelve Apostles and the Seventy in 1835", Joseph Smith and the Doctrinal Restoration: the 34th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium, Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, ISBN 1-59038-489-X, OCLC 60589119.
- Cowan, Richard O. (2011), "The Seventies' Role in Worldwide Church Administration", in Whittaker, David J.; Garr, Arnold K., A Firm Foundation: Church Organization and Administration, Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, pp. 573–593, ISBN 978-0-8425-2785-9
- Porter, L. Aldin (Aug. 2000), "A History of the Latter-day Seventy", Ensign: 15
- Tingey, Earl C. (Sep. 2009), "The Saga of Revelation: The Unfolding Role of the Seventy", Liahona: 18–24
- Young, S. Dilworth (Dec. 1975), The First Quorum of the Seventy: A Conversation with Elder S. Dilworth Young, "Keeping Pace With Church Programs and Emphases", Ensign: 58–59
- The Twelve and the Seventy, Part One: Revelation and the Role of the Seventy, The Twelve and the Seventy Series, LDS.org