BYU

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY

Topic(s): Organization and Government: Church Organization
What principles govern the organization of the Church?
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that certain organizational principles, laws, and arrangements as defined in early revelations of the Church are divinely inspired. Six basic principles that can be inferred from the revelations have shaped the historical and contemporary Church organization. First is the principle that the Church functions in the context of God's eternal plan. Thus the structures, programs, and processes of the organization of the Church are designed to fulfill the purposes of God. The second principle establishes the priesthood of God as the organizing authority of the Church. Structurally, the Church follows a strict hierarchical form, and authority is exercised through priesthood keys, which determine who presides over the Church and who directs its affairs at each organizational level. Third is the principle of presidencies and councils. Presidents, because they hold priesthood keys, possess the ultimate decision-making authority for their assigned stewardships. Yet all presidents meet in presidencies and councils to hear various points of view and to receive counsel. Fourth is the law of common consent. Church leaders are selected through revelation by those in authority. Before new leaders may act, however, they must receive a formal sustaining vote from the members whom they will serve. Fifth is the principle of orderly administration. The organization of the Church follows prescribed policies and procedures defined in handbooks and manuals of the Church. Sixth, the contemporary organization of the Church continues to change in response to the demands of rapid international growth. New auxiliary organizations and new levels of geographic representation have been added since the original revelations were received.
Written By:
Lee Tom Perry -
Lee Tom Perry has worked at Brigham Young University.
Alan L. Wilkins -
Alan L. Wilkins has worked at Brigham Young University.
Paul M. Bons -
Paul M. Bons has worked for the Church Personnel Department in Salt Lake City.
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