First elders 

Summary

In 1830, JS was designated by revelation as the “first elder” in the specific sense of his authority as the church’s presiding priesthood officer. During the period before the elaboration of church offices, he functioned in this role with Oliver Cowdery as “second elder,” or second presiding officer. The term “first elders” in later records generally meant “leading elders,” especially in reference to those who were to prepare for the endowment of power in the House of the Lord.1