The Presiding Bishopric. Your April Conference Prep. Part 6: Recapitulation and the Present Day.

Back to part 5, and back to the beginning if you want to start over. Or, here’s a page with all parts.

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 Eventually that role was withdrawn and they now function in supervising Church business matters including real estate, commercial corporate interests, humanitarian operations, etc.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…]

The Presiding Bishopric. Your April Conference Prep. Part 5: Crossing the Plains and Utah Developments.

Back to part 4, forward to part 6–the end. Here’s a page with all parts.

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 the those who required food 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 found a need for not only a Presiding Bishop (Whitney was appointed in 1847 and served without counselors until his death in 1850) but for “traveling bishops,” stake bishops, general bishops, regional bishops and lieutenant bishops (not really) who moved among the Mormon communities, regulating the work of other bishops in those communities and collecting donations-in-kind for redistribution.

Edward Hunter succeeded Whitney:[2]
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The Presiding Bishopric. Your April Conference Prep. Part 4. Early Mormon Bishops and the Evolution of Tithing.

Back to part 3, forward to part 5. Here’s a page with all parts.

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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The Presiding Bishopric. Your April Conference Prep. Part 3: D&C 68 Analysis.

Back to part 2, forward to part 4. Here’s a page with all parts.

Doctrine and Covenants section 68 contains important material regarding bishops. It is also interesting for the textual evolution it underwent. I’ll begin by considering the 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 1981 text (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 from 1981, 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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The Presiding Bishopric. Your April Conference Prep. Part 2: More on Early Mormon Bishops.

Here is part 1. Skip ahead to part 3 if you wish. Here’s a page with all parts.

Bishops evolved several classes of 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, 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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The Presiding Bishopric – Your April Conference Prep. Part 1: Bishoprics in Early Mormonism.

Last conference I gave you the Seventy. Who knows what will come next. You’ll forgive this sort of annotated stream of consciousness. These six posts were dashed off in a hurry several months ago and then pecked at for the last few weeks. (Here is part 2. Here’s a page with all parts.)

The priesthood office of “bishop” in Mormonism derives from two early revelations. The first was dictated in New York, January 2, 1831 (note the wonderful colloquial language):

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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