High Council

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The High Council are twelve high priests who are called by the stake presidency and set apart to sit as a council under the direction of the stake presidency and help with the work of salvation and exaltation in the stake. The stake presidency assigns a high councilor to each ward in the stake and to each elders quorum in the stake. High councilors counsel with the stake presidency and sustain their decisions. High councilors also serve on stake councils and committees. As assigned by the stake presidency high councilors serve as the stake Young Men president and the stake Sunday School president.[1]

According to Encyclopedia of Mormonism, "Following the organization of the Church, in 1830, the Prophet Joseph Smith served as the spiritual leader for the growing body of members. However, with the rapid growth in membership and a commitment to lay participation and leadership, it soon became evident that a more extensive governing structure would be required. The First Presidency was organized in 1832."

"At a conference held in Kirtland, Ohio, on February 17, 1834, Joseph Smith established a standing stake high council composed of twelve high priests, with himself, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams comprising the First Presidency and also as the presidency of the Kirtland Stake. Later that year, a separate stake presidency and high council were organized in Missouri. They operated independent of the Kirtland council, except for cases that went from Missouri to Kirtland on appeal. These initial standing high councils became the prototype for future stake organizations as the Church continued to grow and expand."[2]

“Now, I don’t know that it is possible for any organization to succeed in the Church under the Priesthood without adopting the genius of our Church government. What is that? As I conceive it, the genius of our Church government is government through Councils. The Council of the Presidency, the Council of the Twelve, the Council of the Stake Presidency, or quorum if you choose to use that word, the Council of the Bishopric, and the quorum o[r] Council of the Quorum Presidency. I have had enough experience to know the value of councils. Hardly a day passes but that I see the wisdom, God’s wisdom, in creating councils: to govern his Kingdom. In the spirit under which we labor, men can get together with seemingly divergent views and far different backgrounds, and under the operation of that spirit, by counseling together, they can arrive at an accord, … and therefore I say that accord is always right. That accord represents the wisdom of the council, acting under the Spirit.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1953, p. 86, as quoted by Roy W. Doxey, “Questions and Answers,” Tambuli, Mar. 1983, 16–17.)
As each stake is organized, a high council is also organized to assist the stake presidency in governing the stake. None of these stake high councils has jurisdiction over decisions of the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelve. A stake high council’s jurisdiction is confined to the stake in which it is organized (Doxey, Q&A).