High council 

Summary

A governing body of twelve high priests.1 The first high council was organized in Kirtland, Ohio, on 17 February 1834 “for the purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the church, which could not be settled by the church, or the bishop’s council to the satisfaction of the parties.”2 Under JS’s leadership, the high council also made administrative decisions and for a time established policy for the entire church.3 Although the presidency of the church presided over the high council, they were not numbered among its twelve members.4 In JS’s absence, members of the high council could also preside.5 The Missouri high council was founded on 7 July 1834 and consisted of twelve members with three additional men as its presidency.6 The high councils conducted disciplinary proceedings and heard and ruled on disagreements between members of the church.7 Decisions of other councils could be appealed to “the high council at the seat of the general government of the church.”8 High councils also had jurisdiction over Zion and its stakes.9 The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was organized as a “traveling high council” in February 1835 and initially performed a function similar to that of high councils for all other geographical areas.10 The “Instruction on Priesthood,” given circa April 1835, stipulated that the standing high councils formed a body equal in ecclesiastical authority to the church presidency or the traveling high council.11 See also “Twelve Apostles.”

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