The Calling of the Twelve

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and his Apostles, Instructor’s Guide (Rel 211–12), (2000), 21–22


Apostles are special witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ

Theme Analysis

  • A.

    Apostles have a special calling to unlock the door of the kingdom of heaven unto all nations and to preach the gospel to every creature.

    1. 1.

      Members of the Council of the Twelve Apostles have all the keys of the kingdom.

    2. 2.

      They are called to be special witnesses of the Savior.

  • B.

    Apostles are called by the Lord.

    1. 1.

      In antiquity He Himself was there to call them.

    2. 2.

      Since His ascension He calls them by revelation.

  • C.
    1. 1.

      When we sustain them, we sustain the Lord.

    2. 2.

      When we reject them, we reject the Lord.

Study Sources

New Testament Reading Assignment

Matthew 12:1-21; Mark 2:23-28; 3:1-21; Luke 6:1-16; John 5:1-47

Course Manual

Chapter 7, “The Calling of the Twelve”

Standard Works

Acts 1:14-26. How was revelation involved in the selection of Matthias?

Acts 13:2; 14:14. How were Barnabas and Paul called?

1 Corinthians 15:1-20. What is the significance of Paul’s statement that he was “born out of due time”?

Galatians 1:1, 10-24. Did Paul get his knowledge from the other apostles?

2 Peter 1; 16-19. What was the “more sure word” more sure than?

Alma 5:45-49. How did Alma get his testimony?

Alma 17:2, 3. What did the sons of Mosiah do that made them men of sound understanding?

D&C 112. What special instructions did the Lord give the Twelve through their first president?

D&C 1:14. What will be the consequences of the world’s rejection of the message of the apostles? (See also Luke 10:6; D&C 84:36, 37.)

Basic Library

Teachings, p. 190. What is the special assignment of the Twelve?

DS, 3:144-59. How do keys and witnessing carry through into all phases of the holy apostleship?

Discourses, p. 136. In what way is an apostle greater than a prophet?

Gos. Doc, p. 178. How real must be the witness of an apostle?

Spencer W. Kimball in CR, Apr. 1974, pp. 173-74. What did President Kimball illustrate by his review of the testimony of two apostles?

David B. Haight in CR, Apr. 1976, pp. 29-31. What did Elder Haight’s introspection lead him to in his understanding of his call?

Additional Sources

William E. Bennett and Alma P. Burton, Readings in LDS Church History, 1:88-90. How does the experience of Lorenzo Snow fulfill the requirement of an apostolic witness?

Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 785. Is a testimony of an apostle superior to the logic of a scientist?

Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, pp. 119-26. The charge to the Twelve by Oliver Cowdery.

Media Suggestions

Casette tape (Elder Boyd K. Packer), The Spirit Beareth Record (9-AO)

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)

Using Questions to Generate Discussion

Proper questions, properly used, are a productive method of generating discussion. If a teacher uses them, he should obey the following rules:

  1. 1.

    Never ask a question that is designed to stimulate criticism or skepticism. (Thus one would never ask, Are scientists likely to believe the testimony of apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? or Why are scientists not likely to believe the testimony of apostles? Both of these questions could lead students to seek negative responses and to get involved in endless and pointless discussion. A better question would be, How do the many witnesses of apostles validate the scientific principle of replication? [Replication is the principle that an experiment is not valid if it cannot be repeated successfully by others than its originator.] [See item 7-1.] This, in turn, could be an opener to a discussion on the need to obey the rules of experimentation to get the same results as someone else got in spiritual matters. Next might come a discussion of the divine law of witnesses and the need for exercising faith before receiving a witness [Ether 12:6].)

  2. 2.

    Have a clearly defined objective in mind so that the discussion will go where you want it to go and will reach that objective. A properly designed question implies the objective and leads naturally to it.

    for the teacher

None of these responses is of any particular value to the lesson, and each could lead to an hour of fruitless discussion.

for the teacher

Can the teacher see how this latter type of question leads to a positive discussion concerning the calling of apostles and, perhaps, the divine source of their authority and testimonies? What objectives would this question lead to? Of course, it is really three questions in one. Each should be dealt with separately. What are these three questions? (See items 7-5, 7-6, 7-8, and 7-9.)

Beginning with a list of questions and their objectives, a teacher can plan a class session that will have unity as it moves logically to its objective.