Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
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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 seven times by six men: Rudger Clawson, Joseph Fielding Smith, Spencer W. Kimball, Howard W. Hunter, Boyd K. Packer, and M. Russell Ballard. 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.
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.
Six formal Acting Presidents in seven terms
|Acting President||President||Dates||Justification||Reason tenure ended|
|Rudger Clawson||Anthon H. Lund||23 November 1918 – 17 March 1921||Quorum president Lund became a counselor in the First Presidency to Heber J. Grant||Death of Lund|
|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. Kimball||Harold B. Lee||23 January 1970 – 2 July 1972||Quorum president Lee became a counselor in the First Presidency to 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||Marion G. Romney||10 November 1985 – 20 May 1988||Quorum president Romney 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||Gordon B. Hinckley||5 June 1994 – 3 March 1995||Quorum president Hinckley, along with Thomas S. Monson, who was second in seniority, both served as counselors in the First Presidency to Howard W. Hunter.||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||Quorum president Monson was a counselor in the First Presidency to Hinckley. Packer is the only person 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.|
|M. Russell Ballard||Dallin H. Oaks||14 January 2018 - present||Quorum president Oaks is a counselor in the First Presidency to Russell M. Nelson.||-|
Two "Acting Presidents" of the Quorum prior to the creation of the formal title
- 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, Brigham Young, Jr. was the most senior apostle, based on the fact that he had been an apostle for the longest. However, in 1900, the First Presidency changed the rules for seniority to be based on time in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. This put George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith ahead of Young in seniority. However, since they were part of the First Presidency, Young remained as President of the Quorum. Today's procedure would have made Cannon president until his death, and then Smith. When Snow died in 1901, Smith briefly became President of the Quorum before becoming President of the Church. Young was then reinstated as President of the Quorum while also being the most senior apostle.
- Compton, Todd, "John Willard Young, Brigham Young, and the Development of Presidential Succession in the LDS Church", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 35.4 (winter 2002): 111–34 at pp. 128–29.