Talk:Bishop (Latter Day Saints)

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Were wards first invented at Winter Quarters? If so does the concept of a bishop of a ward pre-date the death of Joseph Smith and the subsequent leadership crisis? Bottom line, is the LDS Church concept of a bishop the same as the other groups that arose at the death of Joseph Smith? Tom - Talk 08:21, Dec 7, 2004 (UTC)

Wards and Stakes existed since the early days of the Church. If you look at the latest copy of the Deseret Morning News Church Almanac, in the back it gives a listing of statistical summaries from the beginning of the tenure of a Church President until his death. When the Church was organized, there were initially no wards or stakes, but by the death of Joseph Smith, there were a few of each. Hope that helps, and sorry no one answered your question earlier. --Jgstokes-We can disagree without being disagreeable (talk) 20:31, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

High Priests and Bishops[edit]

The Priesthood article implies that (non-Levite?) Bishops must be High Priests; this article implies this is merely usual. Can anyone clarify? Alai 19:45, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

To expand on my confusion: "serve as the presiding High Priest of the ward". But High Priest is a separate office, and furthermore of the 'other' branch of the priesthood. Or am I confusing the leadership calling and the Melchizedek priesthood office, if those are distinct? Is it usual, or indeed mandatory, to be ordained as high priest before becoming bishop? (Twin track approach, as it were?) Alai 03:16, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)
The Priesthood article is correct - non-Levite Bishops must hold the Melchizedek Priesthood and hold the office of High Priest (which they are ordained to before being set-apart as the Bishop if they are not already a High Priest). I will try to think of a better way to word it. This is one of the confusing things about the calling of Bishop because it really is like two roles in the same person - the "presiding officer" of the ward - requiring to be a high priest, and the office in the Aaronic Priesthood (which only a levite or a High Priest can be called to). Correct me if I am wrong here. Trödel|talk 13:02, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Your wording seems fine; perfectly clear now. The Levitical exception makes it seem less odd in historical terms -- I was wondering about that. Alai 15:57, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Basically, the office of Bishop is made out of the old Aaronic Priesthood, which the Levites held. If someone who is not a descendant of Aaron is to hold the office of Bishop, he must ordained a High Priest. If someone claims to be a descendant of Aaron, that claim must be substantiated by the President of The Church for him to become a Bishop without being ordained a high priest. It is not likely that that has ever happened since the church was organized.Isaac Crumm 05:45, 8 January 2007 (UTC)


I left out of my "overhaul" a section on Relationships which I envision as explaining the relationship to to stake presidents, EQ presidents, HP group leaders, auxillary presidencies, PEC, etc. Although the EQ Pres and HQ Group Leader are not "called" by the Bishop most Stake Pres honor the recommendations made by the Bishop and the Bishop manages the resources of the EQ Pres and the HP Group Leader in PEC an other council meetings. Etc. Trödel|talk 02:43, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Trödel --- This is beautiful work. An excellent and extremely helpful expansion of the article. (Now all we need is bishops in other Latter Day Saint movement denominations.) --John Hamer 15:01, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Thanks alot! Trödel|talk 00:45, 26 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Father of the ward[edit]

The article says the bishop is often called the "father of the ward" ... As an active Latter-day Saint, I've NEVER heard this before. If others agree, I would suggest dropping this verbage and retaining the following information because it is accurate. Particularly, the change would be "The Bishop is the priesthood leader that is most intimately involved ...." 20:57, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

I removed this at this suggestion since it is disputed and has no cites; however, in just a few moments on google I found a few:
with the last two references being talks by the prophet (in 1999 and 2003) in which he refers to the bishop as the father of the ward - so I am going to revert myself. Trödel 22:46, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

The material at Bishopric (LDS Church) seems like it could fairly easily be merged into the section about bishops in the LDS Church. If the bishopric is the bishop plus his counselors and the counselors pretty much do what the bishop asks them to do, then would probably be helpful to have all the information together. Good Ol’factory (talk) 01:33, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

This wasn't attracting any discussion, so I went ahead and performed the merge, which really only resulted in redirecting Bishopric (LDS Church) to this article. If anyone else disagrees and wants to reopen this issue, feel free as I don't intend my opinion only to be the "final word" on the issue. Good Ol’factory (talk) 06:27, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

History or changes over time?[edit]

It would be helpful to see how the Bishop role has changed over time. For example, early in the LDS church, the Bishop was actually supported out of the Bishop's Storehouse rather than being supported by a separate vocation. This implies that the Bishop has not always been a lay role, but compensated for the time spent managing the church. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

LDS Aaronic Bishop (aka Levitical Bishop)[edit]

"According to Latter-day Saint scripture, a bishop in the church does not need to be a high priest nor does he need counselors if he is a Levite and a direct descendant of Aaron, the brother of Moses.[2] In the LDS Church, it is rare for a bishop to be selected under this doctrine." Rare? I have never heard of a single person who has ever held the office of bishop as a lone Aaronic Bishop (also known as a Levitical Bishop). My understanding is that this office in the LDS Church is treated much like the same office in the Community of Christ in that nobody has yet been called to act alone as an Aaronic Bishop, but is always a high priest who has the authority to officiate as, and is specifically called to be, a bishop within a three-person bishopric. If there has ever been an Aaronic bishop serving alone in this capacity in the LDS Church, I would be very interested to find out who that person was and when and where he served. I would also be interested to find out if there have been any other Aaronic bishops serving in any of the other denominations in the Latter Day Saint Movement. --Champaign (talk) 23:44, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

I have heard rumours before, but nothing more. Certainly there is nothing in reliable sources about it having happened. But I also don't think there's a reliable source that says it has never happened. So without a discourse on how there are no sources on this one way or the other, "rare" might be the safest description? Good Ol’factory (talk) 04:23, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
President Joseph Fielding Smith has perhaps elaborated further on this topic than anyone else. Interesting to read his quotes here - (scroll down to "D&C 68:15–21. Under What Conditions Can a Literal Descendant of Aaron Be a Bishop without Counselors?") - Hooson (talk) 14:46, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Bishopric counselors[edit]

There has been some back-and-forth editing of the "fact" that bishopric counselors must be high priests. Here's my feedback on the issue. In almost every bishopric I have encountered, if the counselors were not already high priests at the time of their call, they are ordained high priests prior to being set apart as a member of the bishopric. I have no chapter and verse on this, just my own experience. I don't have access to the handbook section about bishoprics. But I was able to find this quote from the Journal of Discourses: "[T]he Bishop's counselors, if not already ordained to the High Priesthood, should be, and then set apart to act in their capacity as First or Second Counselors to the Bishop." (Journal of Discourses, Volume 19, p. 53) Now, whether the High Priesthood in this instance refers to those who are actually ordained High Priests or merely indicates that counselors to a bishop should be Melchizedek Priesthood holders, is, I suppose, a matter of personal interpretation. I looked in the gospel reference guide, True to the Faith for more on this subject, but came up empty. So I have altered the wording again, but so as not to start an edit war, I thought I'd post here first and invite discussion on this. Thoughts? --Jgstokes (talk) 06:49, 14 September 2015 (UTC)

Handbook 2, Section 7.1.1: "Brethren are ordained high priests when they are called to a stake presidency, high council, or bishopric or when otherwise determined by the stake president." As noted elsewhere, a bishopric consists of the bishop and his counselors. Bahooka (talk) 13:35, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
Section 7.1.1, quoted above, is the default situation. Exceptions are made (ie, the counselors are not ordained as high priests) per Handbook 1, section 9.1.6: "Counselors to bishops of young single adult wards in conventional stakes must be high priests. Counselors to bishops of young single adult wards in young single adult stakes may be high priests or elders." And 9.1.7: "As an exception, bishops' counselors in wards that are in young single adult stakes do not need to be ordained high priests." Good Ol’factory (talk) 23:17, 14 September 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for those quotes from the handbook. With those quotes in mind, should we edit the article further to clarify what I feel is an important point? --Jgstokes (talk) 06:34, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

I think it's fine how it is now—just stating that there is an exception to the rule that applies to singles wards. I'm not sure if the "YSA ward in a YSA stake" specificity in necessary to set out explicitly. It is an exception that has changed over time. (Previously, it was counselors in any YSA ward that could be elders.) Good Ol’factory (talk) 08:55, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

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