Why the Church is governed by councils

VIDEO: Inside Church Headquarters | The Power of Councils


Inside Church Headquarters | The Power of Councils – powered by Happy Scribe

In the abundance of Council.

There is wisdom.

When the Prophet Joseph Smith was called, he taught the world, and he taught all of us for the first time. The first principle about the plan of Salvation is that our Heavenly Father introduced it in a great Council in heaven. So as latterday Saints, we begin with councils.

I think it is important to note that these councils, their purpose is really one work. The gospel is being brought to all people of the world, to all tanks, to all countries, to all nations, irrespective of their geographic or political situation.

The Council is a time when people gather to try to understand and come to an agreement and set goals and objectives that will make a difference in their organization.

It is so critical that everyone has a voice. That’s one of the things that you learn in Council, that every single person that comes, they have something valuable to contribute. And we all see things differently because of our background, because of our personal experiences. So when we put all those things together, we find the best solution every time. And really, if we’re focused on what the Lord wants, that’s how we find the best solution. It’s not because what I want is such a great idea or someone else has a brilliant idea.

It’s as we put our voices together, men and women put their voices together. They find what is the best solution. We’re looking for the Lord.

Well, when we picked an issue, I know he’s been a judge, a and a great lawyer, and he’ll see some things that I can’t see. And it’s interesting he will often say after a meeting, well, we came at it differently. And when we came out together at the end, it’s true that it’s happened many times.

It’s a good description of how a Council works. He sees problems and irrelevant facts that I didn’t even know existed. And then I apply my judgment and background and background. And when we get through, we listen to the Lord’s will through the one who presides in the Council. That’s an essential part of the Council.

The revelatory process doesn’t always happen to us just just because we thought Heaven’s help. Sometimes we have to work at it. And sometimes there’s another idea or opinion that we need to glean that needs to come to the forefront before we reach that consensus. So just because you scheduled the meeting doesn’t mean that it’s all going to come together in that one 1 hour session. It may take time.

Revelation is sprinkled among us. There is no one person in that Council that is the source of all the revelation. There’s a piece here an idea there, and it’s interesting how the Lord uses all of us. It’s not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday women. It’s not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day men. It’s the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints and Saints. Striving to do the will of the world. And so as we come together, you know, you can take ordinary men and ordinary women.

And as they come together and counsel together and are unified with the purpose of the cause of Christ, they become extraordinary leaders.

The Council process refines things and perfect them. And the Council setting allows great power and purpose to come into them. When they then get to the Twelve and they’re perfected further. And then when the first parent and Council works on them, they do it. What a blessing that spin.

We don’t represent countries or nationalities. We represent the Lord Jesus Christ and His work. And that brings a unique unity and love for each other and respect for each other and respecting and asking for Council that counseling together. There is on an equal level of discussion. There’s no looking down onto anyone.

The savings rule in this Council is absolutely critical. That’s what we want. We want to have revelations so that our choice. Our decision is in accordance with the Lord’s will. We sometimes stumble along, but the Lord is patient with us. Lord leaves us along. And when we listen, when we want what he wants, more than anything else, he is more than willing to give us everything that we need.

Sometimes we think that leadership is somebody taking control and doing all of it. But really effective. Leadership is the opportunity and the vision to counsel together and listen. But not just listen, but listen to learn what the Lord would like us to do.

The ideal would be that he’s directing every Council. That’s the thought you’d like to have an alliance. You hope the leader would feel that. And every member to say, if this is a matter of substance, this is his counsel. And let’s find out what his view is.

I don’t have anything else to you.

No, no, thank you. I just love counseling with you.

Good questions. We work together very well.

Women have a voice in the Church. We are on all of the executive councils. And the more we work together, the more successful we are, we can’t do it alone. Women can’t do it alone. Men can’t do it alone. When we work together, unitedly, we can accomplish the Lord’s work in spectacular fashion.

I have preached all over the world of women or the Lord secret weapon. And the brother need to wake up to that. You can’t run a war without the input of the sisters. You won’t have a good war unless the release it the young women. Mary President, right. Part of the Ward Council. The voice of women in every level, including home, is critical.

The general officers of the Church. The women are all invited to a meeting with the Quorum of the Twelve every single week. It’s called Area Committee, and we get to participate in that. And it is delightful. And on a couple of occasions seen Elder Beller turn and say, Well, what do the women have to say about it? What do you want to contribute? They are very interested in knowing what we’re thinking. And the fact that we’re there participating. Our voices are requested and then heard is wonderful on all the councils.

It isn’t just priest and family. There are two sisters that are general officers on each of the councils. They’re able to bring things to bear, and they do so in a very respectful way as to the brethren, and they will see things different. And sometimes they’ll say something you’ll think? I’m not sure I would have thought of that. I’m not sure I understood that. That’s really important. That really ought to be something that should take precedence over some of the other things we thought.

Aren’t we grateful that we’re all needed in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, men, women, especially women? We have such a unique perspective. One of the counsels that I sit on that’s very interesting is the missionary executive counsel. I had an opportunity to serve a mission, and I was a mission leader. So it’s interesting how the Lord says, bring everything. That all your experience, where you’ve been, what it looks like and add to the Council and be a voice. And so that has been a really fun Council for me to sit on.

I think the Council, though, that I love the most, is sitting with my presidency and with our general advisory Council. We have ten sisters from all walks of life, lots of different experience. And we Council together, often in the workplace.

Women have to push really hard to have their voices heard a lot harder than you have to push here. I don’t have to push it. All people are asking, what do you think? I sat down in my first meeting, an executive directors meeting, and I thought, Well, I’m just going to sit here and I’m going to observe and I go, Well, Sister Johnson, what do you think? Very first meeting, very first day, very first day. And it was sincere interest in what I thought about a particular point, whereas in my previous life, I had to work harder to have my voice heard.

Sometimes, as women realize I am part of this Church. In fact, it is my Church. I am a member of Christ Church. I testify that we have responsibility and we’ve been prepared uniquely to be leaders in the Church. Now you realize that there is strength and you also realize that I have a place at the table and that I can use my voice in very happy, positive and constructive ways to move this work forward.

Whether you’re right now in young women or primary or sun do school, you are always a member of Relief Society. The Relief Society is a sisterhood that spans the world. When we work together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish. Those who lead councils understand that they need the perspective of women as well as men. And we work together when we’re United. That’s how we really make progress.


Recall that in the Kurtland Temple, Moses, Elias and Elijah returned to confer priesthood keys upon Joseph and his associates. The keys conferred by Moses are the gathering of Israel. We have in the Church, the Missionary Executive Council, that’s those keys and Operation Elias returned and restored the keys of the Gospel of Abraham. Those keys operate within the purview of the Priesthood and Family Council and the keys that were returned by Elijah, the ceiling authority that’s represented in the Temple and Family History Council. So those keys all is done under the direction of the First Presidency.

Not every Council is a decision making Council. The first presidency is the decision making counsel, but some councils are discussion councils.

Years ago it was proclaimed the Gospel perfect the Saints and redeem the dead. So it’s kind of changed from time to time as to how we but those were the three executive Council at that time as well. And President Nelson likes to bind them together as they should be in the work of Salvation.

It’s a thrill to be able to sit on the Temple and Family History Executive Council and this group, of course, addresses everything related to temples around the world and family history. I’ve had the opportunity to be with Elder Bednar and Elder Stevenson and Elder Relan, and they’re delightful. I feel like they have been very solicitous of my concerns and my opinions, not just on behalf of the primary children, but on behalf of women and Saints around the world.

Just till recently, we had only 50% of our missions had smartphones. Then we realized the Missioner need smartphones to be able to communicate with the people around them. So now 95% of them have smartphones or phone calls home by missionaries. It’s a long standing tradition that missions could only call once or twice a year at home, and we learned this caused a lot of challenges, and we counsel about it because longstanding traditions sometimes are hard to change.

Some of the policy changes. One of the ones that has been a big splash is adjustment to missionary attire. Sisters being able to wear pants and protect their legs in many places that’s been helpful or just to stay warm. Sometimes we need elders wearing a blue shirt on a College campus to be more approachable. So there’s lots of things that are disgusting councils that helps as we recommend things up to the Twelve and the First Presidency.

So it takes counseling together. It takes the influence of the spirit to say, let’s move forward. Are we all United in this? Yes, we are. And then we move forward. The revelations do not come as a strike of lightning. They come by counseling together. It is by learning information brings inspiration. You have to collect information, and then you are in the position to receive revelation. When you connect to the Spirit.

One of the general counsel that I serve on is a precedent family Executive Council. When the Pandemic came, then you see that 2018 ministering was instituted and then in 2019, be come, follow me. Curriculum for individuals and families. Wife instituted then 2020 started the Children, a youth program. So as you can see, looking back that the Lord prepared all of us for the time of the Pandemic. When we couldn’t get together in our churches, we we had to support one another in families and at home.

What we know most about the same here is the fact that he taught, for example, in the Book of Mormon, is quite clear in Third Nephi that there are certain things. He talked to those who called it in the Twelve. And then he turned to the multitude and taught them that is indicative somewhat of principles of counseling. He didn’t tell everyone what he chose to tell those who had been called to a certain position.

President Valard may be the best person to lead counsels of anybody that I have ever seen. Different people have different gifts, but he’s so warm and he’s gracious and he lets everybody speak. I remember when we were working together in the Missionary Executive Council. If somebody was walking by the door almost. And we were in a big discussion. Come on in. We’re having this discussion. We need more points of view on this. Will you come on in and and there’s a power in that. And he’s really, really good.

And everybody feels like that. Their Nuggets that they come up with are at least appreciated and understood. It may not be the direction that goes, but they’re appreciated, and that builds unity in a Council.

I was a junior member of the Twelve, probably longer than anyone in this dispensation. And when they come to decision, they start with a junior person, say, what is your position. And so for years I would sit there. Oh, I hope I come up with what my brethren, because I couldn’t tell from the conversation yet where they were. And I thought, oh, bless me that I might not be the one that didn’t get it. But so it’s not easy. It’s hard. It’s hard work to get the Lord’s will and councils if we go at it is the best way we know to get it done.

This Council system works in the industry. It works in homes. It works everywhere. It’s not just the Church. People are trying to work out a problem. They’re in a Council meeting.

After all, the good is done in this world, person to person. It’s not present to pull it’s one on one. I want to get your name for you so I can pray for you.

So we’re in a sense, right now, you’re interviewing me and a Council meeting. That’s what we’re having, isn’t it? So when a father sits down with a 16 year old who’s a little worried about. He ought to approach that not as just a father son meeting. No, these are the console with the most precious member that he could possibly be counseling with a Nancy 16 year old son.

This is not a secular pattern. Counseling and counsel is about inviting, receiving and recognizing revelation. So whether it’s in a family setting, a family Council is a revelatory setting in award Council, it’s not about planning activities, although that’s done, it’s a revelatory experience. And in the presiding councils of the Church, the councils are settings for receiving revelation that will affect the members of the Church all over the Earth.

These are not board meetings where directions are given to executives to fulfill certain responsibilities or directives. Not at all. It’s a revelatory experience to identify what the Savior has in mind for his Church. And I hope that we’re replicating that principle in our homes. And in our words, by inviting the Savior into that this is more than just administration. This is ministering to the one.

Often the decisions are brought about by experiences we have in the field in the Church, in branches, wards, stakes, and they’re being brought up as needs where they are. And then by this, we learn what the challenges are or what the needs are. And then a counsel together in our in the mission Executive Council. And again, I see one work with the other councils together and then find ways how to bless the work, how to bless the people, and how to move the work forward.

So when I got in the presiding Bishop with Brother Hails, I was his counselor. He said, where had you learned? Talk about things with such intensity. And I said it was around the dinner table at home.

The commandment to honor my father and my mother is an important commandment for family councils. And let’s remember that quite a few family councils have to be, yeah, handled by a widow or widower or a divorced person. And all of those call for modifications and and honoring parents is a very important part of it.

We all make mistakes, and we’ve never claimed that the leaders of the Church are infallible the Council system. Is the spiritual safety rail. There’s no trading. Well, I’ll give you this issue if you give me that issue. This is not political. There must be unanimity among all 15 and the first presidency in the twelve or something to have full force and efficacy. And you can only get there with modesty and neatness. And by the power of the Holy Ghost, it safeguards the Church and all of the members from any one person ever trying to impose an agenda or an issue or a particular point of view.

The Council system is the divinely designed pattern for the safety of the Church.

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