Calls to the Apostolic Ministry

By Michael D. Taylor

Michael D. Taylor, “Calls to the Apostolic Ministry,” Religious Educator 4, no. 1 (2003): 75–77.

Calls to the Apostolic Ministry

Michael D. Taylor

Michael D. Taylor, M.D., was an anesthesiologist at Provo (Utah) Surgical Center when this was published.

Portraits of the Prophets. © by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Used by permission.

What a profound blessing it is to live at a time when we have a prophet of the Lord on the earth! Our lives are blessed every day by the influence of our prophet as we are taught and instructed, nourished and fed, encouraged and uplifted.

We are also richly blessed by the direction of other prophets, seers, and revelators who serve with the President of the Church. All these faithful brethren have been called of God by revelation and inspiration through the instrumentality of the Lord’s ordained prophet.

In a very real and direct way, we are benefiting today from the inspiration of previous prophets. For example, Presidents Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson were called to the apostleship by President David O. McKay. As the Lord’s seer, President McKay sought the Lord’s will in calling these worthy men to fill these high and holy positions. How significant are the results of President McKay’s inspiration those many years ago. Similarly, it is wonderful to contemplate that of our fifteen currently serving Apostles, almost half (seven) were called to the apostleship by President Spencer W. Kimball.

Following are three helpful tables dealing with the numbers of Apostles called during the years of service of each of our fifteen Church Presidents. The largest number of Apostles were called during the presidency of Joseph Smith, primarily because of the organization of the original Quorum of the Twelve and the frequency of apostasy among the early Church leaders. It is interesting to note that during the six years and nine months that John Taylor served as Church President, he called six new Apostles, while President Hinckley, who has now served almost eight years as Church President, has called just one new Apostle, Elder Henry B. Eyring.

The last chart points out that of our fifteen Church Presidents, only six have called Apostles who subsequently served as Presidents of the Church. The call of Joseph Smith is unique in that he was called directly by the Lord Himself.

Number of Apostles Called during the Tenure of Each Prophet Listed Chronologically

Prophet​

Years as P​resident

Apostles ​Called

Apostles Livi​ng

Names of Apostles Called​

Joseph Smith

1830–1844

22

0

Joseph Smith to Amasa M. Lyman

Brigham Young

1847–1877

13

0

Ezra T. Benson to Albert Carrington

John Taylor

1880–1887

6

0

Moses Thatcher to John W. Taylor

Wilford Woodruff

1889–1898

5

0

Marriner W. Merrill to Abraham O. Woodruff

Lorenzo Snow

1898–1901

2

0

Rudger Clawson to Reed Smoot

Joseph F. Smith

1901–1918

11

0

Hyrum M. Smith to Richard R. Lyman

Heber J. Grant

1819–1945

12

0

Melvin J. Ballard to Mark E. Petersen

George Albert Smith

1945–1951

3

0

Matthew Cowley to Delbert L. Stapley

David O. McKay

1951–1970

11

2

Marion G. Romney to Alvin R. Dyer

Joseph Fielding Smith

1970–1972

2

1

Boyd K. Packer to Marvin J. Ashton

Harold B. Lee

1972–1973

1

0

Bruce R. McConkie

Spencer W. Kimball

1973–1985

7

7

L. Tom Perry to M. Russell Ballard

Ezra Taft Benson

1985–1994

3

3

Joseph B. Wirthlin to Robert D. Hales

Howard H. Hunter

1994–1995

1

1

Jeffrey R. Holland

Gordon B. Hinckley

1995-present

1

1

Henry B. Eyring

 

Number of Apostles Called during the Tenure of Each Prophet Listed by Decreasing Number of Apostles Called

Prophet

Years as President

Apostles Called

Apostles Living

Names of Apostles Called

Joseph Smith

1830–1844

22

0

Joseph Smith to Amasa M. Lyman

Brigham Young

1847–1877

13

0

Ezra T. Benson to Albert Carrington

Heber J. Grant

1918–1945

12

0

Melvin J. Ballard to Mark E. Petersen

Joseph F. Smith

1901–1918

11

0

Hyrum M. Smith to Richard R. Lyman

David O. McKay

1951–1970

11

2

Marion G. Romney to Alvin R. Dyer

Spencer W. Kimball

1973–1985

7

7

L. Tom Perry to M. Russell Ballard

John Taylor

1880–1887

6

0

Moses Thatcher to John W. Taylor

Wilford Woodruff

1889–1898

5

0

Marriner W. Merrill to Abraham O. Woodruff

George Albert Smith

1945–1951

3

0

Matthew Cowley to Delbert L. Stapley

Ezra Taft Benson

1985–1994

3

3

Joseph B. Wirthlin to Robert D. Hales

Lorenzo Snow

1898–1901

2

0

Rudger Clawson to Reed Smoot

Joseph Fielding Smith

1970–1972

2

1

Boyd K. Packer to Marvin J. Ashton

Harold B. Lee

1972–1973

1

0

Bruce R. McConkie

Howard H. Hunter

1994–1995

1

1

Jeffrey R. Holland

Gordon B. Hinckley

1995–present

1

1

Henry B. Eyring

Future Church Presidents Called during the Tenure of Each Prophet

Prophet Called during the Tenure of Apostleship Year Called to the Apostleship

Brigham Young Joseph Smith 1835

John Taylor Joseph Smith 1838

Wilford Woodruff Joseph Smith 1839

Lorenzo Snow Brigham Young 1849

Joseph F. Smith Brigham Young 1866

Heber J. Grant John Taylor 1882

George Albert Smith Joseph F. Smith 1903

David O. McKay Joseph F. Smith 1906

Joseph Fielding Smith Joseph F. Smith 1910

Harold B. Lee Heber J. Grant 1941

Spencer W. Kimball Heber J. Grant 1943

Ezra Taft Benson Heber J. Grant 1943

Howard W. Hunter David O. McKay 1959

Gordon B. Hinckley David O. McKay 1961