Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

This is one post in an A-Z series of 26 where I am writing about living as a Mormon in the wilderness of Kuantan

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Together with the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles represents the upper echelons of Mormon church leadership.

The method of succession to President has changed over time since Joseph Smith was sustained as the first Church President in 1830. Following his death in 1844, the church endured a period of 3 years without a called and set apart President as the leadership sought for answers as to the best route of succession. With enhanced methods along the way, the church is now settled on a sensible succession plan wherein the longest-serving member of the Quorum of the Twelve possesses the right of advancement to the Presidency.

Thomas S. Monson is currently serving as the 15th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

What may be less black and white is how a person is chosen to be installed as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. That's because it is not measurable like years of service. Mormons like to say that such people are chosen by God, even if it is not exactly clear how that happens.

To be clear, I fully believe that new apostles are considered carefully and prayerfully by the upper church leaders. Current apostles submit several names as personal suggestions to the President who assesses, considers, prays and ultimately makes his own decisions on suitable candidates for Apostleship.

Precisely how he arrives at specific names, I'm not entirely sure, though I trust that it is done by feelings, thoughts and ideas gained through asking Deity and receiving such responses in a spiritual manner.

At a recent General Conference in October 2015, three spaces in the Apostleship were filled due to the passing of three senior apostles. This was seen as an opportunity for the church to demonstrate that it could be diverse in its general leadership choices. 

Perhaps there would be a black apostle.

Maybe an Asian apostle.

Possibly  a Latin American called to the Quorum of the Twelve.

As it turned out, and to my initial disappointment, three white men from Utah were called to fill the vacancies. A sigh was let out.

It wasn't until the press conference where Ronald Rasband, Gary Stevenson and Dale Renlund were introduced to the public, that I suddenly felt that they were the right people for the job. And it's not like they've been locked up in Utah their whole lives - they have travelled the world and met with people of all cultures and nationalities. In this respect, they have great diversity.

L-R:- Ronald Rasband, Gary Stevenson and Dale Renlund were called to fill vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the October 2015 General Conference

The church could easily have chosen a black man, an Asian with a difficult English accent and a European fighting homosexual urges to fill the three spots and show that colour, geography and sexuality were of no limitation to the Lord. The fact that it wasn't like that, really highlighted to me that our leaders had not just followed the whims of the world, but had in all reality, with great precision and pleading, called upon those who had the necessary life experience, spiritual maturity and church service in their arsenals.

If God is mindful enough of those details, He is mindful too of me in the wilderness. We live in Asia, an area of the world where Gary Stevenson has previously lived and served for a number of years, so we can make a connection there.

A call to the apostleship is time-consuming and spiritually challenging. I would certainly never wish it upon myself. I can only admire their efforts and willingness to serve, and pray for their success.


  1. Your blog name caught my attention as I looked over the list of A to Z Challenge participants. While some bloggers might have struggled with Q, you had a great topic!
    Visiting from ThankfulMe. (

    1. Hi Kristi, it sure is good to welcome a fellow-Mormon to my blog! Thank you for visiting and I enjoyed popping over to your blog to see your wonderful handiwork


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