Presiding Bishopric, VI.

Final Installment

Summarizing and expanding a bit here. Responsibility profiles for the PB have varied. In the 1970s they became more deeply connected with the Church’s youth organizations. Eventually that role was withdrawn and they now function in supervising Church business matters including real estate, commercial corporate interests, humanitarian operations, etc. though at present the Presiding Bishop sits on the Church PEC, hence he is a discussion partner in youth issues.[1] Read more of this post

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Presiding Bishopric, V. The First Presiding Bishops.

The First Presiding Bishop, Newell K. Whitney

After the death of Joseph Smith in June 1844, it became clear that the Latter-day Saints would leave Illinois. The majority of Nauvoo Saints went west with the apostles, and they needed assistance in dealing with those who required food, transportation, and shelter. In the lay over region called Winter Quarters, near present day Omaha, Nebraska, the need was great enough in 1846 that small wards of roughly 500 persons were created with a bishop for each.[1] As Utah was established a similar pattern developed but the office became richer yet.

Church leaders finally appointed a Presiding Bishop in 1847, Newell K. Whitney. Whitney was one of the first bishops in the church, but this was a new assignment. As Presiding Bishop, Whitney served without counselors until his death in 1850. At the same time, Whitney presided over a corps of other bishops that developed over time: “traveling bishops,” who moved among various communities, stake bishops who operated within the boundaries of one stake, general bishops, who supervised various stakes, regional bishops, who moved among the Mormon communities, regulating the work of “located” bishops in those communities and collecting donations-in-kind for redistribution.

When Whitney died in 1850, Edward Hunter became his successor:[2]
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Presiding Bishopric, IV.

With the revelations of November 1 and 11, 1831 helping to define the role of the bishop,[1] you can see that the road was being paved for more bishops in the Church. As temporal ministers, it was only a matter of time before more were called as Church population increased (when Partridge was called there were about 150 members in Ohio). At first, two population centers developed: Zion (Missouri) and Kirtland (Ohio). Bishop Partridge was a leading voice in governance in Zion. At the end of 1831, another bishop, Newel Kimball Whitney, was called for the Kirtland area (by that time Ohio membership numbered about 1,500) and among other things to work in tandem with Partridge in the United Firm (UF — the Church “corporation” if you will). Partridge, Whitney and their counselors formed an important financial administrative body in the firm. Whitney was relatively well off and his business operations in Kirtland became the heart of the firm there.[2]
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Presiding Bishopric, III.

Doctrine and Covenants section 68 contains important material regarding bishops. It is also interesting its textual evolution. I’ll begin by considering a proto-version of verses 13 through 24 (as they appear in Revelation Book 1, Joseph Smith Papers Manuscript Revelations volume) and then I’ll look at the current text of the D&C. In the RB-1 text, observe that the blue text is omitted from the current edition. In verses 13-24 in the current imprint, the text in red is additional text added to the 1831 revelation—this additional text appeared first in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants.
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Presiding Bishopric, II.

Mormon Bishops, much like their post-New Testament counterparts did, evolved several classes of duties. Those duties augmenting or adding to those outlined or suggested in the precursor to D&C 42 and various additions like D&C 51. D&C 107 is a revelation of many historical parts, several of those being in the segment from verse 58 onward. That segment for the most part was given November 11, 1831. There the first ordained Mormon bishop, Edward Partridge,[1] learned a bit more about the relation of the office to other Church officers and his duties regarding Church discipline. The relevant part of the revelation originally read something like this: [see RB-1.]
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Presiding Bishopric, I.

A few years ago I did a series of posts at BCC on the Presiding Bishopric of the LDS Church. This is a bit of a rehash of that series, slightly updated. And I rather enjoy the topic anyway.

The priesthood office of “bishop” in Mormonism derives from two early revelations. The first was dictated in New York, January 2, 1831.

And now, I give unto the church in these parts a commandment, that certain men among them shall be appointed, and they shall be appointed by the voice of the church;
And they shall look to the poor and the needy, and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer; and send them forth to the place which I have commanded them;
And this shall be their work, to govern the affairs of the property of this church.[D&C 38:34-36]

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The New General Relief Society President: God Can Make Your Ordinariness into Something More

General Relief Society President, Jean Bingham:

“Growing up, although I enjoyed learning, I was not the top student in any class. I cannot boast of any expert skills. … I was never asked to the prom, I wasn’t the president of anything, I was never one of the popular group.
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