ARTICLE 6 -- We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, viz., apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.
THE CHURCH IN FORMER AND LATTER DAYS
The Primitive Church -- In the dispensation of the meridian of time FN Jesus Christ established His Church upon the earth, appointing therein the officers necessary for the carrying out of the Father's purposes. Every person so appointed was divinely commissioned with authority to officiate in the ordinances of his calling; and, after Christ's ascension, the same organization was continued, those who had received authority ordaining others to the various offices in the Priesthood. In this way were given unto the Church, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, FN high priests, FN seventies, FN elders, FN bishops, FN priests, FN teachers, FN and deacons. FN
Besides these specific offices in the Priesthood, there were other callings of a more temporal nature, to which men were also set apart by authority; such for instance was the case of the seven men of honest report who, in the days of the apostles, were appointed to minister to the poor, thus leaving the Twelve freer to attend to the particular duties of their office. FN This special appointment illustrates the nature of the helps and governments FN set in the Church, to assist in the work under the direction of the regular officers of the Priesthood.
The ministers so appointed and the members among whom they labor constitute the Church of Christ, which has been impressively compared to a perfect body, the individuals typifying the separate members, each with its own functions, all cooperating for the welfare of the whole. FN Every office so established, every officer so commissioned, is necessary to the development of the Church and to the accomplishment of its work. An organization established of God comprises no superfluities; the eye, the ear, the hand, the foot, every organ of the body, is essential to the symmetry and perfection of the physical structure; in the Church no officer can rightly say to another: "I have no need of thee." FN
The existence of these officers, and particularly their operation with accompaniments of divine assistance and power, may be taken as a distinguishing characteristic of the Church in any age of the world -- -a crucial test, whereby the validity or falsity of any claim to divine authority may be determined. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the everlasting Gospel; its principles, laws and ordinances, and the Church organization founded thereon, must be ever the same. In searching for the true Church, therefore, one must look for an organization comprising the offices established of old, the callings of apostles, prophets, evangelists, high priests, seventies, pastors, bishops, elders, priests, teachers, deacons -- not men bearing these names merely, but ministers able to vindicate their claim to position as officers in the Lord's service, through the evidences of power and authority accompanying their ministry.
Apostasy from the Primitive Church -- Question may arise in the mind of the earnest investigator, as to whether these authorities, together with the attesting gifts of the Holy Spirit, have remained with men from the apostolic age to the present; in short, as to the existence of the Church of Jesus Christ upon the earth during this long interval. In answer, let the facts following be considered. Since the period immediately succeeding that of the ministrations of the apostles of old, and until the nineteenth century, no organization had maintained a claim to direct revelation from God; in fact, the teachings of professed ministers of the Gospel for centuries have been to the effect that such gifts of God have ceased, that the days of miracles have gone, and that the present depends for its guiding code wholly upon the past. A self-suggesting interpretation of history indicates that there has been a great departure from the way of salvation as laid down by the Savior, a universal apostasy from the Church of Christ. FN Scarcely had the Church been organized by the Savior, whose name it bears, before the powers of darkness arrayed themselves for conflict with the organized body. Even in the days of our Lord's personal ministry in the flesh persecution was waged against Him and the disciples. Commencing with the Jews, and directed first against the Master and His few immediate associates, this tide of opposition soon enveloped every known follower of the Savior, so that the very name Christian was used as an epithet of derision.
|A Sign of Christ's Church: As stated in the text, from the beginning the process of establishing Christ's Church was opposed. The 'Established Hierarchy of Jewish Religion' was challenged and they fought like the Devil, as so motivated by him, first contesting John the Baptist and then persecuting Jesus Christ and the true church which He was proceeding to organized and establish. The textual sentence may be repeted thus, "Scarcely had the restoration of the Church commenced through the Prophet Joseph Smith before the powers of darkness arrayed themselves for conflict against him and the organized body of the Church of Christ being restored." Many such new religious efforts had previously shown their face. No such opposition did show its augly face against them in such a lasting and continuous manner as has been so persued against the Church of Jesus Christ now in our day as even in Jesus' day it is the same. This is a sure sign of the true Church which Satan strives so hard to suppress.|
In the first quarter of the fourth century, however, a change in the attitude of paganism toward Christianity was marked by the so-called conversion of Constantine the Great, under whose patronage the Christian profession grew in favor and became in fact the religion of State. But what a profession, what a religion it was by this time! Its simplicity had departed; earnest devotion and self-sacrificing sincerity were no longer characteristic of the ministers of the Church. Those professed followers of the humble Prophet of Nazareth, those self-styled representatives of the Lord whose kingdom was not of earth earthy, those loudly proclaimed lovers of the Man of Sorrows acquainted with grief, lived amidst conditions strangely inconsistent with the life of their divine Exemplar. Church offices were sought after for the distinction of honor and wealth accompanying them; ministers of the Gospel affected the state of secular dignitaries; bishops exhibited the pomp of princes, archbishops lived as kings and popes like emperors. With these innovations came many changes in the ordinances of the so-called church -- the rites of baptism were perverted; the sacrament was altered; public worship became an exhibition of art; men were canonized, martyrs were made subjects of adoration; blasphemy grew apace, in that men without authority essayed to exercise the prerogatives of God. Ages of darkness came upon the earth; the power of Satan seemed almost supreme.
|First Quarter of the Fourth Century: That is 301-325 A.D. This is the Ante- or Post-Nicene Creed era, though that in itself is misleading, for the real doctrine of the 'Holy Trinity' of Three Gods in but One Being did not fix itself at the time of the Nicene Council, but evolved latter as a result of the persistence of those of the Alexandrian & Anthenasian persuasion, which had evolved out of the Philosophical Helenistic views of God rather than the true simple truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is best studied from the doctrinal position of such as Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea in contrast to the other two combatting positions of Arius and Athanasius.|
|Doctrinal Position of Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea verses positions of Arius and Alexander (Athanasius - He who lives longest prevails.) The Doctrinal Development of the Concept of the Holy Trinity perhaps marks the greatest and final step in the complete apostasy of the Church of Jesus Christ. Until its era there were those who still maintained a 'true' understanding of the nature of God. After its conclusion, which took place over a number of years, the basic doctrine of the Godhead in the Church was no longer compatible with the truth of Jesus Christ, God His Father and the Holy Ghost. It was more consistent which a Satanic and Paganistic view of God, that is three manifestations of God emanating from but One Being.|
For a special consideration of the evidence of a general apostasy from the Church of Christ the student must consult authorities on ecclesiastical history. While the fact of the apostasy is admitted by but few such writers, the historical events they chronicle reveal the awful truth. We may trace, from the days of the apostles down to near the close of the tenth century, a constantly changing form of Church organization, which at the later time named bore but little semblance to the Church established by the Savior. This falling away is admitted by some historians, and as we shall presently see, was definitely foretold by authoritative prophecy.
|Authorities on Ecclesiastical History: Ironically befitting, the first and foremost 'authority' on 'Ecclesiastical History' is but he who did write the preeminent 'Ecclesiastical History of the Church', Bishop Eusibius of Caesarea.|
|Constantly Changing Form of Church Organization: From the loss of the presiding Apostles and the officers of the Higher Priesthood down to a full and complete corruption and appostasy of they of the lower of Aaronic realm as presided over by Bishops, the Church of Jesus Christ was removed from the earth. Though Peter died in Rome, it was John the Beloved Apostle who did continue to live and preside in the Church until, not his death, but his own self removal from Church authority, about 100 A.D., did mark the first predominate disinvestiture of Church Authority and Authorized Sanction. Ironically, John's last canonized writing of the great Revelation of the Apocalypse did not even recognize Rome as any longer being a part of the sanctioned and authorized Churches of Jesus Christ as he wrote but to the seven or 'complete' church remaining only in the seven churches of 'Asia'. All others, including Rome, had already disembarked in apostasy from the truths of the Church of Jesus Christ. This may be regared as the first great confirmation by the remaining presiding Apostle that the Apostasy had generally throughout the 'Christian World' taken place. Certainly the 'Bishop' of Rome could hardly be deemed to preside over John the Apostle of the Lord, though that seems to be exactly that which the Catholic Church would espouse.|
John Wesley, founder of an influential sect, declared that the distinctive gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer with the Church, having been taken away on account of the unworthiness of professing Christians, whom he characterized indeed as heathen, with only a dead form of worship. FN In the Church of England Homily Against Peril of Idolatry we read: "So that laity and clergy, learned and unlearned, all ages, sects, and degrees of men, women, and children of whole Christendom -- an horrible and most dreadful thing to think -- have been at once drowned in abominable idolatry; of all other vices most detested by God, and most damnable to man; and that by the space of eight hundred years and more." The Book of Homilies dates from about the middle of the sixteenth century; and in it is thus officially affirmed that the so-called Church and the whole religious world had been utterly apostate for eight centuries or more prior to the establishment of the Church of England. FN
This Great Apostasy was Foretold -- The foreknowledge of God made plain to Him even from the beginning this falling away from the truth; and, through inspiration the prophets of old uttered solemn warnings of the approaching dangers. Isaiah was contemplating the era of spiritual darkness when he declared: "The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant." FN Deeply impressive are the words of the Lord through Jeremiah: "For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." FN
The Great Apostasy Was Foretold: In a classical one-to-one relationship,
the foretelling of the Apostasy by the Apostle Paul to the Elders of Ephesus
thus, "... For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves
enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall
men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. ..."
(See Acts 20:17-35), as contrasted with that presented by Bishop Eusebius of
Caesarea. This confirmation of Bishop Eusebius is but also reflective of the
words of Jesus Himself,
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but
inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:15, also see Matthew 10:16 and
Luke 10:3 as well as 2 Thes. 2:3). Bishop's observation as to the very nature
of the situation during his day and age is but directly reflective of this
situation as being in abundance as late as his day. "It is my purpose also to
give the names and number and times of those who through love of innovation
have run into the greatest errors, and, proclaiming themselves discoverers
of knowledge falsely so-called have like fierce wolves [grievous
and ravening wolves] unmercifully devasted the flock of Christ.
(Ecclesiastical History, Book I, Paragraph 2; Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea).
The prophecies of the apostles relative to the false teachers then soon to trouble the flock show that the apostasy was at that early time approaching rapidly. Paul warned the saints of Thessalonica that they be not deceived by those who cried that the second coming of Christ was then at hand -- "For," said the apostle, "that day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." FN This falling away had begun even in the days of the apostles: "Even now," says John, "are there many anti-Christs." FN And Paul, in addressing the Galatians, declared, "There be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ." FN
Not less conclusive are the prophecies contained in the Book of Mormon relating to this great falling away. Nephi, son of Lehi, predicted the oppression of the North American Indians at the hands of the Gentiles, and declared that at that time the people will be lifted up in self-pride, having departed from the ordinances of God's house; they will build to themselves many churches, but in these they will preach their own wisdom, with envyings, and strife, and malice, denying, however, the power and miracles of God. FN
Restoration of the Church -- From the facts already stated it is evident that the Church was literally driven from the earth; in the first ten centuries immediately following the ministry of Christ the authority of the Holy Priesthood was lost from among men, and no human power could restore it. But the Lord in His mercy provided for the reestablishment of His Church in the last days, and for the last time; and prophets of olden time foresaw this era of renewed enlightenment, and sang in joyous tones of its coming. FN This restoration was effected by the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith, who, together with Oliver Cowdery, in 1829, received the Aaronic Priesthood under the hands of John the Baptist; and later the Melchizedek Priesthood under the hands of the former-day apostles, Peter, James, and John. By the authority thus bestowed the Church has been again organized with all its former completeness, and mankind once more rejoices in the priceless privileges of the counsels of God. The Latter-day Saints declare their high claim to the true Church organization, similar in all essentials to the organization effected by Christ among the Jews. This people of the last days profess to have the Priesthood of the Almighty, the power to act in the name of God, which power commands respect both on earth and in heaven.
PLAN OF GOVERNMENT IN THE RESTORED CHURCH
Orders and Offices in the priesthood FN -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognizes two orders of Priesthood, the lesser called the Aaronic, the greater known as the Melchizedek order.
The Aaronic Priesthood is named after Aaron, who was given to Moses as his mouthpiece, to act under his direction in the carrying out of God's purposes respecting Israel. FN For this reason it is sometimes called the Lesser Priesthood; but though lesser, it is neither small nor insignificant. While Israel journeyed in the wilderness, Aaron and his sons were called by prophecy and set apart for the duties of the priest's office. FN
At a later period the Lord chose the tribe of Levi to assist Aaron in the priestly functions, the special duties of the Levites being to keep the instruments and attend to the service of the tabernacle. The Levites were to take the place of the firstborn throughout the tribes, whom the Lord had claimed for His service from the time of the last dread plague in Egypt whereby the firstborn in every Egyptian house was slain while the eldest in every Israelitish house was hallowed and spared. FN The commission thus given to the Levites is sometimes called the Levitical Priesthood,; FN it is to be regarded as an appendage to the Priesthood of Aaron, not comprising the highest priestly powers. The Aaronic Priesthood, as restored to the earth in this dispensation, includes the Levitical order. FN The Aaronic Priesthood holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and the authority to attend to the outward ordinances, the letter of the Gospel; FN it comprises the offices of deacon, teacher, and priest, with the bishopric holding the keys of presidency.
The Melchizedek Priesthood is named after the king of Salem, a great High Priest before whose day it was known as "the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God. But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the Church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek." FN This Priesthood holds the right of presidency in all the offices of the Church; its special functions lie in the administration of spiritual things, comprising the keys of all spiritual blessings of the Church, the right "to have the heavens opened unto them [the bearers of this Priesthood], to commune with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant." FN The special offices of the Melchizedek Priesthood are those of apostle, patriarch or evangelist, high priest, seventy, and elder. Revelation from God has defined the duties associated with each of these callings; and the same high authority has directed the establishment of presiding officers appointed from among those who are ordained to the several offices in these two Priesthoods. FN
Special Duties in the priesthood -- The office of Deacon is the first or lowest in the Aaronic Priesthood. The duties of this calling are primarily of a temporal nature, pertaining to the care of houses of worship, the comfort of the worshipers, and ministration to the members of the Church as the bishop may direct. In all things, however, the deacon may be called to assist the teacher in his labors. FN Twelve deacons form a quorum; FN such a body is to be presided over by a president and counselors selected from among their number.
Teachers are local officers, whose function it is to mingle with the saints, exhorting them to their duties, and strengthening the Church by their constant ministry; they are to see that there is no iniquity in the Church; that the members do not cherish ill feelings toward one another, but observe the law of God respecting Church duties. They may take the lead of meetings when no priest or higher officer is present. Both teachers and deacons may preach the word of God when properly directed so to do; but they have not the power to independently officiate in any spiritual ordinances, such as baptizing, administering the sacrament, or laying on of hands. FN Twenty-four teachers constitute a quorum, including a president and two counselors.
Priests are appointed to preach, teach, expound the scripture, to baptize, to administer the sacrament, to visit the homes of the members, exhorting them to diligence. When properly directed, the priest may ordain deacons, teachers, and other priests; and he may be called upon to assist the elder in his work. A quorum of priests comprises forty-eight members, and is under the personal presidency of a bishop.
Elders are empowered to officiate in any or all duties connected with lower callings in the Priesthood; and in addition, they may ordain other elders, confirm as members of the Church candidates who have been properly baptized, and confer upon them the Holy Ghost. Elders have authority to bless children in the Church, and to take charge of meetings, conducting the same as they are led by the Holy Ghost. FN The elder may officiate in the stead of the high priest when the latter is not present. Ninety-six elders form a quorum; three of these constitute the presidency of the body. FN
Seventies are primarily traveling elders, especially ordained to promulgate the Gospel among the nations of the earth, "unto the Gentiles first, and also unto the Jews."
They are to act under the direction of the apostles in this specific labor. FN A full quorum comprises seventy members, including seven presidents.
High Priests are ordained with power to officiate, when set apart or otherwise authoritatively directed, in all the ordinances and blessings of the Church. They may travel as do the seventies, carrying the Gospel to the nations; but they are not especially charged with this duty; their particular calling being that of standing presidency and service. The high priests of any stake of the Church may be organized into a quorum, and this without limit as to number; over such a quorum, three of the members preside as president and counselors. FN
Patriarchs or Evangelists are charged with the duty of blessing the members of the Church; of course they have authority to officiate also in other ordinances. There is one "Patriarch to the Church," known officially as the Presiding Patriarch, with general jurisdiction throughout the whole organization; he holds the keys of the patriarchal office, and unto him the promise is given "that whoever he blesses shall be blessed, and whoever he curses shall be cursed, that whatsoever he shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever he shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." FN
Concerning the patriarchal authority the Lord has said.: "The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed to whom the promises were made. This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage." FN But, besides this office of general patriarchal power, there are a number of local patriarchs appointed in the branches of the Church, all subject to counsel and instruction from the Presiding Patriarch as he is directed by the First Presidency or the Council of the Twelve, yet possessing the same privileges and authority within their districts as belong to the Presiding Patriarch throughout the Church. "It is the duty of the Twelve, in all large branches of the church, to ordain evangelical ministers, as they shall be designated unto them by revelation." FN
Apostles are called to be special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world; FN they are empowered to build up and organize the branches of the Church; and may officiate in any and all of the sacred ordinances. They are to travel among the saints, regulating the affairs of the Church wherever they go, but particularly where there is no complete local organization. They are authorized to ordain patriarchs and other officers in the Priesthood, as they may be directed by the Spirit of God. FN In all their ministry they act under the direction of the First Presidency of the Church. Twelve Apostles, duly set apart, constitute the Quorum, or Council, of the Twelve.
Presidency and Quorum Organizations -- The revealed word of God has provided for the establishment of presiding officers "growing out of, or appointed of or from among those who are ordained to the several offices in these two priesthoods." FN In accordance with the prevailing principles of order characteristic of all His work, the Lord has directed that the bearers of the Priesthood shall be organized into quorums, the better to aid them in learning and discharging the duties of their respective callings. Some of these quorums are general in extent and authority, others are local in jurisdiction. The General Authorities of the Church, and all officers whether of general or local jurisdiction, are to be sustained in their several positions by the vote of the people over whom they are appointed to preside. Stake and ward officers are so voted upon by the local organizations, the general authorities and general officers by the Church in conference assembled. Conferences of the Church are held at semiannual intervals, while both stake and ward conferences are convened quarterly; and at these conferences the vote of the people on nominations to office is an important feature. The principle of common consent is thus observed in all the organizations of the Church. FN
The First Presidency constitutes the presiding quorum of the Church. By divine direction, a president is appointed from among the members of the High Priesthood to preside over the entire Church. He is known as President of the High Priesthood of the Church, or Presiding High Priest over the High Priesthood of the Church. FN He is called "to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the Church." FN His station is compared by the Lord to that of Moses of old, who stood as the mouthpiece of God unto Israel. In his exalted labors amongst the Church, the Presiding High Priest is assisted by two others holding the same Priesthood, and these three High Priests, when properly appointed and ordained and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayers of the Church, "form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church." FN
The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles -- Twelve men holding the apostleship, properly organized, constitute the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, also designated The Council of the Twelve. These the Lord has named as the twelve traveling councilors; FN they form the Traveling Presiding High Council, to officiate under the direction of the First Presidency in all parts of the world. They constitute a quorum whose unanimous decisions are equally binding in power and authority with those of the First Presidency of the Church. FN When the First Presidency is disorganized through the death or disability of the President, the directing authority in government reverts at once to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, by whom the nomination to the Presidency is made.
The Presiding Quorum of Seventy -- The First Quorum of Seventies form a body whose unanimous decisions would be equally binding with those of the Twelve Apostles on matters properly brought before the Seventy for their official action. Many quorums of seventies may be required in the work of the Church. Each quorum is presided over by seven presidents. The seven presidents of the First Quorum of Seventies, however, preside over all the other quorums and their presidents. FN
The Presiding Bishopric, as at present constituted, comprises the Presiding Bishop of the Church and two counselors. This body holds jurisdiction over the duties of other bishops in the Church, and of all activities and organizations pertaining to the Aaronic Priesthood. The oldest living representative among the sons of Aaron is entitled to this office of presidency, provided he be in all respects worthy and qualified; however, he must be designated and ordained by the First Presidency of the Church. FN If such a literal descendant of Aaron be found and ordained, he may act without counselors except when he sits in judgment in a trial of one of the Presidents of the High Priesthood, in which case he is to be assisted by twelve High Priests. FN But in the absence of any direct descendant of Aaron properly qualified, a High Priest of the Melchizedek Priesthood may be called and set apart by the First Presidency of the Church to the office of Presiding Bishop; he is to be assisted by two other High Priests properly ordained and set apart as his counselors. FN
Local Organizations of the Priesthood -- Where the saints are permanently located, Stakes of Zion are organized, each stake comprising a number of wards or branches. Over each stake is placed a Stake Presidency, consisting of a president and two counselors, who are high priests set apart to this office. The Stake Presidency is assisted in judicial functions by a Standing High Council, composed of twelve high priests chosen and ordained to the office. This council is presided over by the Stake Presidency, and forms the highest judicial tribunal of the stake.
The presidents of stakes and bishops of wards are pastors to the fold; their duties are analogous to those of the pastors of former dispensations. The high priests and the elders in each stake are organized into quorums as already described, the former without limitation as to number, the latter forming one or more quorums, each of ninety-six members. Patriarchs are also set apart to officiate in their office among the people of the stake.
A Ward Bishopric is established in every fully organized ward of the Church. This body consists of three high priests, one of whom is ordained as a bishop and set apart to preside over the ward, the other two being set apart as counselors to the bishop. The bishop has jurisdiction over the quorums of the Lesser Priesthood in his ward, and also over holders of the Higher Priesthood as members of his ward; but he has no direct presidency over quorums of the Melchizedek order, as such, which may be embraced within his domain. As a presiding high priest, he properly presides over his entire ward. The ward comprises quorums of priests, teachers, and deacons, one or more of each as the numerical extent of the ward may determine, and also auxiliary organizations as noted hereinafter.
Church Auxiliaries -- Beside these constituted authorities and offices in the Priesthood, there are secondary organizations established for moral, educational, and benevolent purposes. These include the following:
Primary Associations providing for the moral instruction and training of young children.
Mutual Improvement Associations comprising separate organizations for the sexes, and designed for the education and training of the youth in subjects of practical interest. Instruction is provided in literature and history, dramatics and music, science and art, the laws of health, and numerous other branches of useful knowledge; and facilities are provided for recreational activities of wide and varied range.
Sunday Schools include graded classes for the study of the scriptures and for training in theology, in moral and religious duties, and in the discipline of the Church. Sunday schools, while primarily designed for the young, are open to all and include kindergarten and parents' classes with all intermediate gradations.
Church Schools provide for both secular and religious instruction, and range from the grade of the kindergarten to that of the college.
Religion Classes -- In these is provided a course of graded instruction in theology and religion, which is offered as supplement and complement to the secular teachings of the non-denominational schools. Theological seminaries are maintained for students of high school and college grades.
Relief Societies -- These are composed of women whose duties relate to the care of the poor and the relief of suffering amongst the afflicted.
Most of these auxiliary organizations function in each ward of the Church, as also in the missions throughout the world. Officers are appointed to preside in the several auxiliaries of the ward, and while they are under the general supervision of the ward bishopric they look to the Stake and General Boards of the respective organizations for detailed instruction as to the plans and methods of their particular work. In line with the principle of common consent, which characterizes the Church administration in general, officers of the auxiliary institutions, while nominated by or with the approval of the administrative officers of the Priesthood, are sustained in their places by the vote of the members in the local or general units within which they are appointed to serve.
The Church Before the Birth of Christ -- It is a significant fact that the word "church" does not appear in our English version of the Old Testament. From the time of Moses to the coming of Christ the people lived under the jurisdiction of the Law, between which and the Gospel, as embodied in the Church established by Jesus Christ, there is important distinction. Among the Nephites, however, who were sequestered on the western continent, the Church did exist as an organized body prior to the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As many as were baptized did belong to the church of God -- Mosiah 25:18; see also 26:28.
Persecution against those who did belong to the church of God -- Alma 1:19.
By way of commandment unto you that belong to the church -- Alma 5:62.
Alma had consecrated teachers and priests and elders over the church -- Alma 4:7; Alma retained the office of high priest -- verse 18; Alma was the high priest over the church of God -- Alma 8:23.
The people of the church did have great joy -- Helaman 6:3; the church did spread throughout the face of all the land -- Helaman 11:21.
The Primitive Church on the Eastern Continent
Upon this rock I will build my church -- Matt. 16:18.
And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church -- Matt. 18:17.
And the Lord added to the church daily -- Acts 2:47.
There was great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem -- Acts 8:1.
Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church -- Acts 12:1.
Elders had been ordained in every church -- Acts 14:23.
Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church -- Acts 15:22.
Paul sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church -- Acts 20:17; he instructed them to feed the church of God -- verse 28.
And so ordain I in all churches -- 1 Cor. 7:17.
God hath set some in the church, first apostles, etc. -- 1 Cor. 12:28.
Christ is the head of the church -- Eph. 5:23; as the church is subject under Christ -- verse 24; even as Christ also loved the church -- verse 25.
Let the sick call for the elders of the church -- James 5:14.
John to the seven churches which are in Asia -- Rev. 1:4.
I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches -- Rev. 22:16.
The Church Regulated and Continued by Christ on the Western Continent
The sacrament to be administered to the church of Christ -- 3 Nephi 18:5.
Even so shall ye pray in my church -- 3 Nephi 18:16.
If the Gentiles will repent the church of Christ is to be established amongst them -- 3 Nephi 21:22.
The church to be known and called by the name of Jesus Christ -- 3 Nephi 27:1-8.
And the church did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine -- Moroni 6:5; see also verses 2, 4, 7, 9.
The Church of Jesus Christ Established in the Current Dispensation
Hearken, O ye people of my church -- D&C 1:1.
Authority given to lay the foundation of the church, and to bring it out of obscurity -- D&C 1:30; it being the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth -- same verse.
In this, the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness -- D&C 5:14.
If this generation harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them -- D&C 10:53. Whosoever belongeth to my church need not fear -- verse 55. Whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church -- verse 67; see also verses 68-70.
Concerning the foundation of my church, my gospel, and my rock -- D&C 18:4, 5.
The church of Christ organized and established April 6, 1830 -- D&C 20:1.
Elders of the church, the first and the second -- D&C 20:2, 3.
Concerning duties of the several officers in the church -- D&C, secs. 20 and 84.
Revelation given at the organization of the church -- D&C, sec. 21.
None who belong to the church are exempt from law -- D&C 70:10.
Duty of the church to preach the gospel -- D&C 84:76; how the ancient apostles built up the church -- verse 108.
Name of the church revealed: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- D&C 115:4.
The First Presidency to receive the oracles for the whole church -- D&C 124:126.