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Head of the Church

by Burns R. Sabey

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ is personally the Head of the Church, leading and guiding it by revelation (D&C 10:69; 3 Ne. 21:22).

According to the New Testament, God gave Jesus authority to be "the head over all things to the church" (Eph. 1:22; cf. 2:20; Col. 1:18). For Latter-day Saints, the restoration of the Church was similarly initiated in 1820 when God the Father, following an ancient pattern, appeared in vision with his Son Jesus Christ, who instructed Joseph Smith (JS—H 1:17; see Matt. 3:17; 2 Pet. 1:17-18; 3 Ne. 11:7; Restoration of the Gospel home page; First Vision). The Savior gave information and counsel to Joseph on that and later occasions.

Latter-day Saints affirm that subsequent revelations to his prophets have verified that Christ was and is both the Head of the Church and the author of its restoration and development (JS—H 1:30-42; D&C 1:1; 20:1, 37). No mortal, including the president of the church, considers himself to be the head. In fact, the President and all Church leaders consider themselves servants called by Christ or his authorized agents to represent him by teaching, training, and edifying members of the Church and by taking the gospel message to those not in the Church.

(See Basic Beliefs home page; Teachings About Jesus Christ home page; Church Organization and Priesthood Authority home page)


Faust, James E. "Continuous Revelation." Ensign 19 (Nov. 1989):8-10.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, Head of the Church

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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