News Story

Aspirations, Lobbying are Absent From Church Leadership Process

The simplicity of the succession to two of the highest offices in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was highlighted last month with the appointment of President Henry B. Eyring as a counselor in the First Presidency and the naming of Elder Quentin L. Cook as a new apostle.

Official photographs of the new First Presidency and of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are on the front page of Newsroom for the first time today.

The appointment of a new Church leader at this level happens in an orderly way that avoids any trace of internal lobbying or electioneering for position or rank, either behind the scenes or in public. There is also a deeply ingrained tradition in the Church that personal aspiration for leadership at any level is inappropriate and out of harmony with Jesus’ teachings about personal worthiness and willingness to servewhen invited.

The latest changes were prompted by the passing of President James E. Faust, who was serving as second counselor in the three-man First Presidency, the most senior of the governing councils of the Church. The vacancy was filled simply by an invitation from the president of the Church, Gordon B. Hinckley, to his choice of counselor. Typically, though not always, the new counselor in the First Presidency is chosen from the ranks of the Twelve Apostles.

In this case, the selected apostle was Elder Henry B. Eyring, who had been an apostle for 12 years. The vacancy this created in the Twelve was then filled by Elder Cook — again on invitation from the president of the Church.

In the Church’s semiannual world general conference of the Church in October, the names of the new leaders were presented to the audience for a “sustaining vote.”

The Church, as a whole, is governed by the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles, while the majority of the day-to-day needs and concerns of Church members at the congregational level are taken care of by local lay leaders.

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