The Organization of the Church

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This is an excerpt from In Wisdom and Order, by Boyd K. Packer.

Often we are asked how the relatively few Apostles in the First Presidency and the Twelve can manage the Church, now more than ten million strong.

Actually the Church is no bigger than a ward. Each bishop has counselors. He wears a special mantle and is designated as the presiding high priest in the ward. There are other high priests, and there is a presidency of elders. There are auxiliary leaders and teachers sufficient for the need. When we serve obediently, ever willingly, our pay, like the bishop’s, comes in blessings.

No matter if the Church grows to be a hundred million (as it surely will!), it will still be no bigger than a ward. Everything needed for our redemption, save for the temple, is centered there—and temples now come ever closer to all of us.

Small numbers of wards are grouped together under the shelter of stakes and branches under districts. There is a stake presidency and a council to train the bishopric and other leaders to train those who serve with them.

This organization, in place across the world, is a product of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This miracle of willing service is possible because of individual testimonies of the Redeemer.

The revelation, present when this system was conceived, did not end there, for the purpose of it all is to shelter families. Families are grouped together in a ward or branch.

It is the responsibility of the bishop to see that each family is bound together in enduring covenants and each individual is safe and happy. The system works best when the bishop recognizes the preeminent responsibility of parents.

While the bishop is sometimes referred to as the “father of the ward,” we should remember he is not called to rear the children of the ward. (Body K. Packer, In Wisdom and Order [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013], 92–93).

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