Mormon Organizational Structure
Dr. Andrew Jackson
President and Prophet. The President of the church is the LDS prophet, seer, and revelator, the most senior living apostle, the only person on the earth who receives revelation to guide the LDS Church, and presides over the entire church.
First Presidency. The First Presidency is the highest governing body of the LDS Church, and is composed of the President of the church and his two counselors.
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are also prophets, seers, and revelators acting under the direction of the First Presidency.
Apostles. The LDS Church has fifteen apostles, consisting of the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Prophets. The LDS Church believes that the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are prophets.
Presiding Bishopric. The Presiding Bishopric is the presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood throughout the LDS Church and has two counselors. It serves under the direction of the First Presidency to administer the temporal affairs of the church.
An area is the largest geographic division of the LDS Church. The First Presidency assigns the Presidency of the Seventy to supervise selected areas of the church under the direction of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. In other areas of the church, the First Presidency assigns Area Presidencies to preside.
Quorums of the Seventy. The members of the Quorums of the Seventy work under the direction of the Twelve Apostles, and are the leadership of seven men who are called to serve as the Presidency of the Seventy. Members of the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy are designated General Authorities, and they may be called to serve anywhere in the world.
Area Presidency. An Area Presidency consists of a president, who is usually assigned from the First or Second Quorum of the Seventy, and two counselors. Area Presidencies serve under the direction of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, and the Presidency of the Seventy.
Area Seventies. Some men are ordained to the office of Seventy but do not serve as General Authorities. They are called Area Seventies, and they are assigned to quorums other than the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy, according to geographic location. Their jurisdiction is limited to the general region in which they live.
Wards. Members of the LDS Church are organized into congregations. Large congregations are called wards. Each ward is presided over by a bishop, assisted by two counselors.
Branches. Small congregations are called branches. Each branch is presided over by a branch president, assisted by two counselors. A branch may be organized when at least two member families live in an area and one of the members is a worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holder or a worthy priest in the Aaronic Priesthood. A stake, mission, or district presidency organizes and supervises the branch. A branch can develop into a ward if it is located within a stake.
Stakes. Most geographic areas where the LDS Church is organized are divided into stakes. There are usually five to twelve wards and branches in a stake. Each stake is presided over by a stake president, assisted by two counselors. The stake president is under the oversight of the Presidency of the Seventy or the Area Presidency.
Missions. A mission is a unit of the LDS Church that normally covers an area much larger than that of a stake. Each mission is presided over by a mission president, assisted by two counselors. Mission presidents are directly accountable to General Authorities.
Districts. Just as a branch is a smaller version of a ward, a district is a smaller version of a stake. A district is organized when enough branches are located in an area. A district president is called to preside over it, assisted by two counselors. The district president reports to the mission presidency. A district can develop into a stake.
Through the Mormon priesthood God’s eternal power and authority is active. Through the priesthood God created and governs the heavens and the earth. God gives priesthood authority to worthy male members of the LDS Church so that they can act in his name for the salvation of his children. Priesthood holders can be authorized to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation, and govern the kingdom of God on the earth.
Melchizedek Priesthood for Adult Men
Through the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, the LDS Church leaders guide the church. This greater priesthood was given to Adam and has been on the earth whenever the Lord has revealed his gospel. It was taken from the earth during the great apostasy, but it was restored in 1829, when the apostles Peter, James, and John conferred it upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.
High council. Twelve high priests sit as a high council under the direction of a stake presidency and minister by teaching, training, and supervising stake personnel or programs. The high council also convenes as a disciplinary council in cases of serious personal transgression.
Patriarch. A patriarch is one who is ordained to give special blessings to members of the church. Patriarchal blessings include a declaration of a person’s lineage in the house of Israel and contain personal counsel from the Lord.
High priest. A high priest has the right to officiate in the church. Stake presidents, mission presidents, high councilors, bishops and their counselors, and other leaders of the church are ordained as high priests.
Elder. Elder is used as a title for male missionaries or General Authorities of the church. Elders have authority to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands and to bestow priesthood blessings.
Aaronic Priesthood for Young Men: Worthy male members may receive the Aaronic Priesthood beginning at age twelve. These young men, typically ages twelve to seventeen, receive opportunities to participate in sacred priesthood ordinances and give service.
Bishop. A man who has been ordained and set apart as the presiding high priest for a ward is a bishop. He has overall responsibility for ministering the temporal and spiritual affairs of the congregation.
Priest. A worthy young man may be ordained as a priest when he is sixteen years of age or older. A newly baptized adult man is also normally ordained as a priest shortly following his baptism. Some of a priest’s responsibilities are to administer or bless the sacrament and to preach the gospel to the members.
Teacher. A teacher serves as instructor by conducting classes and presenting gospel lessons.
Deacon. A boy is normally ordained as a deacon when he is twelve years of age or older. Some of a deacon’s responsibilities are to pass the sacrament and collect fast offerings.