Chapter 5: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Teachings of the Living Prophets Teacher Manual, (2010), 24–27


Introduction

The Church is built “upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 2:20). This chapter provides opportunities to help students see how the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles guides the Church with inspired leadership and testimony. Concerning this leadership, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testified:

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles circa 1930s.

As the least of those who have been sustained by you to witness the guidance of this Church firsthand, I say with all the fervor of my soul that never in my personal or professional life have I ever associated with any group who are so in touch, who know so profoundly the issues facing us, who look so deeply into the old, stay so open to the new, and weigh so carefully, thoughtfully, and prayerfully everything in between. (In Conference Report, Oct. 2006, 112; or Ensign, Nov. 2006, 105–6)

At the conclusion of this lesson, your students should understand that with the sacred keys of priesthood authority, the Apostles advance the kingdom of God throughout the earth.

Some Doctrines and Principles

  • Apostles are special witnesses for Jesus Christ in all the world.

  • Apostles labor to advance the kingdom of God.

  • The decisions of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are unanimous.

Ideas for Teaching

Advance preparation: In case your students are unfamiliar with the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Church’s website newsroom.lds.org has materials that provide valuable assistance. You can download pictures, brief biographical sketches, or more detailed biographical articles to help students become familiar with our current Apostles.

Apostles Are Special Witnesses for Jesus Christ in All the World

Invite one student to read Doctrine and Covenants 107:23 and another to read Acts 4:33. Then ask the following questions:

  • According to these verses, what is the duty of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles?

  • What are they to bear witness of?

  • Where are Apostles to bear this “special” witness?

Read the account related by President Harold B. Lee in the student manual under the heading “Apostles Know and Bear Special Witness That Jesus Is the Christ” (pages 57–58) to the part of the quotation that reads “What shall we answer?” Ask the students:

  • How would you advise the missionaries to answer?

After some student responses, read the rest of the quotation. Then ask:

  • In what ways does President Lee’s response reflect his calling to be a “special witness” of Jesus Christ?

Share the following statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972):

This is an exacting duty upon [the Apostles], to know that Jesus Christ is in very deed the Only Begotten Son of God, the Redeemer of the world. (Seek Ye Earnestly [1970], 213)

Then ask:

  • What do you think President Smith meant when he said it is “an exacting duty”?

Share with your students the statement by President Howard W. Hunter on page 60 of the student manual under the heading “Apostles Know and Bear Special Witness That Jesus Is the Christ.” Then ask students the following questions:

  • What did President Hunter specifically bear testimony of?

  • How can hearing the testimony of an Apostle strengthen our testimonies?

Invite students to pay close attention whenever they hear or read the testimony of an Apostle. Invite students to strengthen their testimonies of the truths to which the Apostles bear witness.

Apostles Labor to Advance the Kingdom of God

Share with students the statement from President Gordon B. Hinckley on page 64 of the student manual under the heading “Apostles Are Sent to Build God’s Kingdom throughout the Earth.” Ask students to listen for the definition of an Apostle. Then ask:

  • What did President Hinckley say was the meaning of the word Apostle?

  • What have Apostles been given “certain authority and responsibility” to do?

Read Matthew 28:16–20 and Doctrine and Covenants 65:5–6 with your class and ask:

  • What commission did Jesus Christ give to His Apostles in these verses?

  • If the Apostles are to build God’s kingdom throughout the earth, what is God’s kingdom? (God’s kingdom is the Church on the earth today. The Apostles help build the kingdom of God—the Church—on the earth today so the kingdom of heaven—the millennial Church—may come.)

As an illustration of how living Apostles fulfill this divine commission, share the following quotation from President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

I am no different from the Brethren of the Twelve … when I tell you that the records show I have been in Mexico and Central and South America more than 75 times, in Europe over 50 times, Canada 25 times, the islands of the Pacific 10 times, Asia 10 times, and Africa 4 times; also China twice; to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the Dominican Republic, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia, and many, many other places around the globe. Others have traveled even more than that. (In Conference Report, Apr. 2008, 84–85; or Ensign, May 2008, 86)

Then ask:

  • What knowledge do you think the Apostles gain from such extensive travel?

Assign half of the class to read Doctrine and Covenants 107:33–35, 58 and the other half to read Doctrine and Covenants 18:27–32. Have students identify words and phrases that describe what Apostles are “sent forth” to do today. On the board, write (or ask a student to write) the words and phrases that students identify. (Some words and phrases may include officiate, build up the Church, regulate, open doors, proclaim the gospel, ordain, set in order, preach to every creature, baptize, and declare the gospel according to the Holy Ghost.) Then ask:

  • What are some ways that our living Apostles proclaim the gospel and build up the Church today? (Speak in general conference, visit local conferences, tour missions, interview local Church leaders, conduct worldwide leadership training broadcasts, and so on.)

Invite a student to read the quotation by President Gordon B. Hinckley on pages 65–66 of the student manual (the last paragraph under the heading “Apostles Are Sent to Build God’s Kingdom throughout the Earth”). Then ask the following questions:

  • In what ways have you seen or heard of the Apostles ministering in the way President Hinckley described?

  • What influence have the Apostles had on you as an individual?

The Decisions of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Are Unanimous

Read Doctrine and Covenants 107:27–31 and ask:

  • What principles did the Lord say should govern the decisions made by the Twelve?

  • What promise is given in verse 31 if decisions are made according to the guidelines provided in verses 27 and 30? What do you think that promise means?

Share with the students the statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley on pages 68–69 of the student manual under the heading “The Decisions of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Are Unanimous.” Then ask:

  • How can knowing that the Apostles’ decisions are made in unanimity increase your faith and confidence in those decisions?

Share with the class the statement by President James E. Faust of the First Presidency from page 68 of the student manual under the heading “The Decisions of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Are Unanimous.” Encourage students to listen for what brings unanimity among the Brethren. Then ask the following questions:

  • How would this process serve as a “check” against personal bias or personal agendas?

  • What did President Faust suggest is needed in order for unanimity to be achieved?

Conclude the lesson by sharing your testimony of the calling and role of the Twelve Apostles. Challenge students to pay close attention to the testimonies of the Twelve and the topics they choose to address in their talks.