The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was restored on a beautiful spring day — April 6, 1830. Over the course of time, a prophet was called, Joseph Smith, Jr, as were twelve apostles, who later became known as the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Since that time and to this very day, there is still a prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley and his two counselors, drawn from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Thomas S. Monson and Henry B. Eyring, who comprise the First Presidency. This office oversees all affairs and manners of the church, both religious and secular. Jesus Christ remains, as always, “the chief cornerstone.”
This type of organization of church leadership was not new. As described in Ephesians 1:19-20 “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.”
So now we see that Jesus Christ established apostles and prophets in the meridian of time.
Exactly what is an apostle you ask? The specific definition of an apostle is “one sent forth to serve as a special witness of Jesus Christ. There are 15 Apostles living on the earth today. They make up the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of [T]he Church [of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.]“
Furthermore, in the definition of prophet we find, “We sustain the President of the Church (Gordon B. Hinckley) as prophet, seer, and revelator — the only person on the earth who receives revelation to guide the entire Church. We also sustain the counselors in the First Presidency and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators.”
While apostles are also prophets, seers and revelators, only Gordon B. Hinckley, the current prophet, receives revelation for the entire church. The job of an apostle is to expound upon or explain that doctrine.
The modern-day apostles, whose roles and admonitions have not changed since the beginning of time, are: Thomas S. Monson, Henry B. Eyring, Boyd K. Packer, L. Tom Perry, Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oakes, M. Russell Ballard, Joseph B. Wirthlin, Richard G. Scott, Robert D. Hales, Jeffrey R. Holland, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, David A. Bednar and Quentin L. Cook. Gordon B. Hinckley while holding the office of prophet, is also considered an apostle – and this rounds out the fifteen.
As time goes on, we will learn more about each of these men in addition to all who held that office since the dawn of earth’s first day.