According to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, also known as the Twelve, is one of the main governing bodies in the hierarchy of the LDS church.
The members of the “Quorum of the Twelve Apostles” are not just referred to as apostles, but also prophets, revelators, seers, evangelical ambassadors, as well as special witnesses of Jesus Christ.
This quorum had initially been organized as far back as 1835. At that time, it had been designated as a 12 member body of “traveling councilors” with full jurisdiction to operate even outside those areas where the Church itself was not formally organized.
In such areas, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was deemed to be completely equal in terms of authority to the following:
- The First Presidency
- The Standing Presiding High Council
- The Seventy
- The High Councils of the Church
The Quorum as a Governing Body
The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is currently the second highest governing body of the LDS Church and is deemed to be second only to the First Presidency. Apostles are basically considered to be very special witnesses of Lord Jesus Christ Himself. They are also called to both teach, as well as testify of Him, all over the world so that there is no place that has not heard of His mercy.
This is why they tend to travel quite frequently. At the same time, they also address and encourage several large congregations of members as well as multiple interested non-members and their local leaders, with regard to the teachings of the faith.
When the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is not traveling, then its members take collective counsel both together as well as with the other Church leaders (even outside the Mormon church) on various matters affecting the world and the missionary work that goes on, all the time. This can include temple building, spiritual and temporal welfare, missionary work and a whole lot more.
The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as it exists in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has some similarities with regard to the College of Cardinals that exists in the Roman Catholic Church. This holds especially true due to its duty to choose a specific successor once the church president is no more, in much the same way as the College of Cardinals use their right of vote, to elect a Pope.
The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles follows various policy decisions that are typically made unanimously. That is with the mutual consultation among the Quorum of the Twelve, the First Presidency, and as and where required, the Seventy. In this case, each body has its own responsibility and all efforts are dedicated to ensure that the various organs of the Church are united in purpose and policy.