Introduction to the Basic Unit Program

“Introduction to the Basic Unit Program,” Basic Unit Program Guidebook (2002), 2


“We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church” (Articles of Faith 1:6).

During His mortal ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ established His Church among the believers in a simple way. He had His Apostles organize small groups of members with a presiding priesthood leader to minister to them.

The early Church members were able to grow and prosper in the gospel because Christ and His Apostles:

  1. Kept the focus on teaching the principles and doctrines of the gospel.

  2. Encouraged members to receive the ordinances and to make and keep related covenants.

  3. Taught members to minister to one another’s spiritual and temporal needs.

  4. Kept the organization simple.

The same principles of organization and administration were practiced by Church leaders in the Book of Mormon. “And thus did Alma and Amulek go forth, and also many more who had been chosen for the work, to preach the word throughout all the land. And the establishment of the church became general throughout the land” (Alma 16:15).

The same principles were also practiced in the early years of the restoration of the Church. Members of the Church today are best served by following these same principles of organization and administration.

As authorized by the Area Presidency, the Basic Unit Program may be used for establishing and organizing the Church in areas of the world where:

  1. The Church is in its beginning stages.

  2. Members are scattered.

  3. The number of members is small and leadership is just beginning to develop.

  4. Wards and stakes are not yet organized.

  5. Members have special language needs or other special needs.

With the Area Presidency’s approval, the Basic Unit Program may also be used where similar conditions exist in stakes.

As the Church is established under these conditions, members are organized into small groups called branches.

Guidelines for the Basic Unit Program are provided in this publication and in the Family Guidebook (item number 31180), Branch Guidebook (31179), Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders Guidebook (31178), and Teaching Guidebook (34595). When units are fully organized into stakes and wards, they should use the Church Handbook of Instructions (35205 and 35209).