Organization and Leadership of Mormonism
Global and Local Organization
The top level leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They are based in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. All officers of the Church below this level serve on a voluntary unpaid basis.
The Church is led by the President of the Church, who is assisted by two counsellors. Together these three individuals make up the First Presidency. The President is a prophet through whom God can reveal his guidance to the Church. The President of the Church holds office until his death, when the senior apostle (by length of service) becomes President. The current President is Thomas S. Monson, who succeeded Gordon B. Hinckley on February 3, 2008.
The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are twelve full-time paid officers of the Church. Like the Apostles of Christ's day these men leave their professions to serve Christ full time. Mormons regard this group as another example of the literal restoration of the church established by Jesus Christ.
The Mormon world is divided into 22 Areas, supervised by unpaid leaders.
A stake is a group of local wards, comparable to a diocese or a circuit in some Christian churches. It is the large-scale unit of Church organization, with around 2,000 - 4,000 members each. Stakes are led by a Stake President.
Local Mormon congregations are called Wards. They are led by a bishop (see below).
Individual Leadership Roles
At the age of 12, or at any age for new converts, male members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are ordained as deacons. At this time, they join the Aaronic Priesthood, a preparatory stage of priesthood, during which youngsters or new converts learn more about their faith through formal teaching, prayer and active service. Deacons are responsible for such tasks as distributing the sacraments at the Sunday service, collecting offerings, and helping with church maintenance work.
A bishop is a leader of a ward, or local Mormon congregation. Bishops are not paid and usually fulfill their religious duties in their spare time while holding a normal, full-time job. Bishops are ordained into the Melchizedek Priesthood and are responsible for performing sacred ordinances (similar to Christian sacraments) and all other tasks involved in leading the ward.