Disciple 

Summary

Generally, a follower of Christ, and in certain cases, one selected to lead the ministry.1 In the New Testament, Christ ordained twelve of his disciples as apostles.2 The Book of Mormon recounted that during his ministry to the Nephites, Christ similarly appointed twelve disciples as leaders of the people.3 These disciples were referred to as “Elders of the church” and were responsible for administering in Christ’s absence and ordaining and baptizing other followers.4 In June 1829, a revelation instructed Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer to seek out and call twelve disciples, who were to baptize and “preach unto the world.”5 When Cowdery and Whitmer later selected twelve apostles (in February 1835), they believed it was in fulfillment of the June 1829 commandment.6 After the organization of the church on 6 April 1830, disciple was often used in the more general sense to refer to a follower of Christ and a member of the church.7 By 1832, however, the term Saint had largely replaced disciple in this usage, perhaps to distinguish members of the church from followers of Alexander Campbell’s Disciples of Christ, located nearby in Ohio.8 See also “Apostle,” “Elder,” and “Saints.”