“8. Elders Quorum,” General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (2020).
“8. Elders Quorum,” General Handbook.
Purpose and Organization
The Melchizedek Priesthood helps God’s children prepare to return to His presence. It holds “the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church” (Doctrine and Covenants 107:18).
The offices in the Melchizedek Priesthood are elder, high priest, patriarch, Seventy, and Apostle. This chapter contains information about elders and elders quorums.
Worthy men 18 and older may receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and be ordained to the office of elder. A man ordained to that office enters into a sacred covenant to assist God in accomplishing His work (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–44).
Each elder is part of an organized group of priesthood holders called an elders quorum. Members of the elders quorum work together to help accomplish the work of salvation and exaltation. They serve others, fulfill priesthood duties, build unity, and learn and live doctrine.
Membership in the Elders Quorum
Each ward has an elders quorum. It includes the following brethren:
All elders in the ward.
All prospective elders in the ward (see 8.4).
All high priests in the ward, except those who are currently serving in a stake presidency, in a bishopric, on a high council, or as a patriarch. These leaders are members of the stake high priests quorum. For information about the stake high priests quorum, see 22.214.171.124 and 29.3.5.
A young man may begin attending elders quorum meetings when he turns 18, even if he has not yet been ordained an elder. He counsels with his parents and bishop to make this decision. By age 19 or when moving from home, such as to attend a university or serve a mission, he should be ordained an elder if he is worthy. See 10.6.
Married men under 18 are prospective elders and are also members of the elders quorum.
For information about unwed parents under age 18, see 38.1.5.
Adapting to Local Needs
Some wards have a very large number of active Melchizedek Priesthood holders. For these wards, the stake presidency may organize an additional elders quorum (see Doctrine and Covenants 107:89). Each quorum has its own presidency. If possible, each quorum should have members with a variety of ages and experience.
Participating in the Work of Salvation and Exaltation
God invites all to come unto Christ and participate in the work of salvation and exaltation by:
Living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Caring for those in need.
Inviting all to receive the gospel.
Uniting families for eternity.
Elders quorum leaders plan Sunday meetings, activities, ministering, service, and other interactions to help brethren participate in the work of salvation and exaltation. Members of the elders quorum and Relief Society work in unity to accomplish this work.
For more information about the work of salvation and exaltation, study chapter 1.
Living the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Elders quorum leaders support members in living the gospel of Jesus Christ. They emphasize exercising faith, repenting, increasing in self-reliance, and making covenants with God by receiving ordinances. Such ordinances include the temple endowment. See 1.2.1.
Gospel Learning at Home
When members learn and live the gospel at home, their conversion to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ deepens. Elders quorum leaders encourage brethren to study the scriptures and the words of living prophets, individually and with their families. Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families and other resources can supplement their study.
Home evenings are an important way to learn the gospel at home. They are usually held weekly on Sunday, on Monday evening, or at another time. They could include prayers, gospel study, testimonies, singing, and fun activities.
Gospel Learning in Quorum Meetings
Elders quorums meet on Sundays for the following purposes:
Strengthen families and homes.
Make plans to help accomplish the work of salvation and exaltation.
Meetings are held on the second and fourth Sundays of the month. They last 50 minutes. The elders quorum presidency plans these meetings. A member of the presidency conducts.
The meeting begins with a presidency member conducting any quorum business. For example, the quorum may counsel together about aspects of accomplishing the work of salvation and exaltation. Sufficient time should then be given to meaningful gospel instruction and discussion.
Quorum meetings focus on topics in one or more talks from the most recent general conference. The elders quorum presidency prayerfully selects messages to discuss based on members’ needs. Hymns may be sung to enhance a lesson. Meetings should end with a prayer.
For more information, see ComeFollowMe.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Elders quorum presidencies may plan activities. These activities strengthen quorum members and give them opportunities to serve together. Most activities are held at times other than on Sundays or Monday evenings.
The elders quorum president oversees these activities. He may ask a counselor or another quorum member to take the lead in planning and carrying them out (see 8.3.5). Presidencies discuss activities with the bishop as part of their planning.
Caring for Those in Need
As followers of Jesus Christ, elders quorum members have a responsibility to reach out in love to those in need. Individually and as a quorum, they seek ways to serve others in the ward and community. Where it is available, JustServe.org suggests community service opportunities.
For more information about how members of the elders quorum and Relief Society care for those in need, see 22.6.2.
Ministering is caring for others as the Savior would. Members of the elders quorum receive ministering assignments from the quorum presidency. For more information, see chapter 21.
Ministering brothers seek to understand and respond to the needs of those they serve. Members may need short-term assistance at times of illness, births, deaths, job loss, and other circumstances.
When needed, ministering brothers ask the elders quorum presidency for help. With the bishop’s approval, the presidency may call a service coordinator to organize these efforts (see 8.3.5).
The elders quorum and Relief Society coordinate efforts to address short-term needs (see 22.3.2). The bishop may provide fast-offering assistance if needed.
In some locations, bishops have the option to provide members in need with a bishop’s order for food and other basic goods. The bishop generally assigns the Relief Society president to meet with the members and fill out the order form. However, he may also assign the elders quorum president. A counselor in the Relief Society or elders quorum presidency may be assigned if the president is unavailable. The assigned leader submits the completed form to the bishop for his approval.
For more information, see 22.6.2 and “Welfare Resources” in Leader and Clerk Resources.
Long-Term Needs and Self-Reliance
As coordinated by the bishop, the elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies help members with long-term needs and self-reliance. They teach principles of temporal and spiritual self-reliance. See chapter 22 and “Self-Reliance” in the Gospel Library app.
If a person or family needs assistance, the elders quorum and Relief Society presidents counsel together, as coordinated by the bishop, about how to help (see 22.4).
The elders quorum president, Relief Society president, or another leader helps the person or family develop a Self-Reliance Plan. Ministering brothers or sisters can also help with the plan. Often, other members of the elders quorum or Relief Society have skills or experience that can help. All who assist treat information with confidentiality. For more information, see 22.3.3 and 22.8.
When a Ward Member Dies
When a ward member dies, elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies offer comfort and assistance. Under the bishop’s guidance, they can help with the funeral.
If possible, deceased members who were endowed are buried or cremated in temple clothing. The body of a man may be dressed by his wife or by an endowed male family member. If a family member is not available or would prefer not to do the dressing, the bishop may ask the elders quorum president to invite an endowed man to dress the body or oversee the dressing. For more information, see 38.5.8.
Elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies, ministering brothers and sisters, and others continue to offer comfort and assistance after the funeral.
Inviting All to Receive the Gospel
Melchizedek Priesthood holders have a duty to invite all to receive the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ (see Doctrine and Covenants 53:3). They do this by sharing the gospel, strengthening new members, and reaching out to those who are less active.
In presidency and quorum meetings, the elders quorum presidency discusses ways the brethren can invite all to receive the blessings of the gospel.
The elders quorum president assigns a member of the presidency to help lead member missionary work in the ward. He works with the assigned member of the Relief Society presidency to coordinate these efforts.
This member of the elders quorum presidency may fulfill the role of the ward mission leader. If the bishopric has called a ward mission leader, this presidency member oversees his work. See 23.5.1 and 23.5.3.
The ward mission leader, who may be a member of the elders quorum presidency, leads weekly coordination meetings. The purpose of these meetings is to coordinate inviting all to receive the blessings of the gospel. These meetings include assigned members of the Relief Society and elders quorum presidencies, ward missionaries, an assistant in the priests quorum, a presidency member of the oldest Young Women class, and full-time missionaries.
Uniting Families for Eternity
Melchizedek Priesthood holders support members in uniting families for eternity. This includes:
Making covenants with God by receiving ordinances, including the temple endowment.
Doing temple and family history work (see 1.2.4).
In presidency and quorum meetings, the elders quorum presidency discusses ways the brethren can participate in these efforts.
The presidency encourages quorum members to learn about their family history and about temple covenants and ordinances. They also encourage brethren to attend the temple regularly where possible.
The elders quorum president assigns a member of the presidency to help lead temple and family history work in the ward. He works with the assigned member of the Relief Society presidency to coordinate these efforts.
This member of the elders quorum presidency may fulfill the role of the ward temple and family history leader. If the bishopric has called a temple and family history leader, this presidency member oversees his work. See 25.2.2.
The ward temple and family history leader, who may be a member of the elders quorum presidency, leads temple and family history coordination meetings (see 25.2.7). These meetings are held regularly. They also include the assigned member of the Relief Society presidency, an assistant in the priests quorum, a presidency member of the oldest Young Women class, and temple and family history consultants.
Elders Quorum Leaders
Stake Presidency and Bishop
The elders quorum president is directly responsible to the stake presidency. He meets regularly with a member of the presidency to receive direction and report on his responsibilities.
The elders quorum president also receives guidance from the bishop, who is the presiding officer in the ward. They meet regularly. They discuss the work of salvation and exaltation, including the service of ministering brothers. They also discuss (1) the progress and needs of ward members and (2) elders quorum meetings, instruction, and activities.
The stake presidency assigns a high councilor to represent them in each elders quorum. His responsibilities are outlined in 6.5.
Elders Quorum Presidency
Calling an Elders Quorum Presidency
After consulting with the bishop, the stake president calls an elder or high priest to serve as the elders quorum president.
If the unit is large enough, the elders quorum president recommends to the stake president one or two elders or high priests to serve as his counselors. He does this in consultation with the bishop. The stake presidency considers the recommendations. A member of the stake presidency or high council extends the calls.
All recommendations for calling members of elders quorum presidencies require the approval of the stake presidency and high council.
A member of the stake presidency presents members of the elders quorum presidency in a sacrament meeting for sustaining. The stake presidency may also assign a high councilor to do this.
A member of the elders quorum presidency presents brethren who are called to other quorum callings for sustaining in a quorum meeting (see 8.3.4 and 8.3.5).
The stake president sets apart the elders quorum president and confers on him the keys of his calling. For more information about priesthood keys, see 3.4.1. A member of the stake presidency or high council sets apart the counselors.
The elders quorum president has the following responsibilities. His counselors assist him.
Serve on the ward council. He serves as (1) a member of the council who helps address needs in the ward and find solutions and (2) a representative of the elders quorum (see 29.2.5).
Lead the quorum’s efforts to participate in the work of salvation and exaltation (see chapter 1).
Organize and oversee the service of ministering brothers. Coordinate ministering assignments with the Relief Society presidency, meeting at least quarterly. Seek the bishop’s approval for ministering assignments. Hold ministering interviews at least quarterly. See chapter 21.
Under the bishop’s guidance, counsel with adult members of the ward. Only the bishop counsels ward members about matters of worthiness, abuse, and approval to use fast-offering funds. See Counseling Resources.
With the Relief Society presidency, help lead efforts in the ward to invite all to receive the blessings of the gospel (see 8.2.3 and 9.2.3). Oversee the ward mission leader if one is called.
With the Relief Society presidency, help lead temple and family history work in the ward (see 8.2.4 and 9.2.4). Oversee the ward temple and family history leader if one is called.
Coordinate the elders quorum’s efforts to strengthen young adult brethren, both single and married. One counselor may be assigned to serve with young single adults (see 126.96.36.199).
Meet with each quorum member individually at least once a year. Discuss priesthood duties and the well-being of the member and his family.
Teach quorum members their priesthood duties (see Doctrine and Covenants 107:89). This includes teaching them how to exercise their priesthood in performing ordinances and blessings.
Oversee and help improve teaching in the quorum (see chapter 17).
Plan and conduct quorum meetings.
Oversee elders quorum activities (see 188.8.131.52).
Help young men and prospective elders prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood (see 8.4).
Oversee quorum records, reports, and finances (see LCR.ChurchofJesusChrist.org). A secretary may help (see 8.3.4).
The stake presidency and assigned members of the high council teach the elders quorum presidency about these responsibilities. They may do this during stake priesthood leadership meetings and quorum presidency meetings (see 29.3.3).
Through his service, the elders quorum president supports the bishop in focusing on the youth and on the bishop’s unique responsibilities.
The elders quorum presidency and secretary meet regularly. The president conducts these meetings. The high councilor assigned to the quorum periodically attends.
The agenda could include the following items:
Plan how to strengthen quorum members (including prospective elders) and their families.
Plan how to help accomplish the work of salvation and exaltation.
Coordinate missionary work and temple and family history work.
Respond to counsel and assignments from the bishop.
Respond to assignments from ward council meetings.
Prayerfully consider ministering assignments.
Review information from ministering interviews. Plan ways to identify strengths and help meet needs. (See chapter 21.)
Consider brethren to serve in callings and assignments.
Plan quorum meetings and activities.
With the bishop’s approval, a member of the elders quorum presidency may call a quorum member to be the quorum secretary. He presents him for sustaining in a quorum meeting and sets him apart.
The secretary’s responsibilities could include the following:
Prepare agendas for presidency meetings and quorum meetings.
Take notes in meetings and keep track of assignments.
Schedule ministering interviews (see 21.3).
Prepare and submit quarterly reports of attendance and the number of ministering interviews held.
Help prepare an annual budget and keep track of expenses.
The following additional callings may be helpful. The bishop and elders quorum president discuss whether they are needed.
Elders quorum teachers to teach in Sunday quorum meetings
A service coordinator to help plan and carry out service to people in need (see 184.108.40.206). Assistants and committee members may also be called.
An activity coordinator to help plan and carry out elders quorum activities (see 220.127.116.11). Assistants and committee members may also be called.
Assistant secretaries to help the elders quorum secretary
Ministering secretaries to organize ministering interviews and help prepare quarterly reports
If these or other callings are needed, the elders quorum presidency recommends brethren to serve. They make these recommendations to the bishopric. If the bishopric approves, a member of the quorum presidency calls them. He presents them for sustaining in a quorum meeting and sets them apart.
As needed, the elders quorum presidency may assign brethren to help with elders quorum efforts in other ways. Brethren with short-term assignments do not need to be called and set apart.
Helping Prospective Elders Prepare to Receive the Melchizedek Priesthood
A prospective elder is a male Church member who has not received the Melchizedek Priesthood and (1) is 19 or older or (2) is younger than 19 and married.
Helping prospective elders prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood is one of the quorum presidency’s highest priorities. The presidency gives prospective elders opportunities to serve and share their strengths. Dedicated ministering brothers should be assigned to prospective elders.
The quorum presidency and ministering brothers teach prospective elders about:
The oath and covenant of the priesthood (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–44).
The duties of an elder, including the duty to minister (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:38–45; 42:44; 107:11–12). Prospective elders who are teachers or priests can serve as ministering brothers.
The purposes of priesthood ordinances and blessings and how to perform them (see chapter 18).
How men and women work together to accomplish God’s work.
For information about these topics, see “Melchizedek Priesthood,” “Priesthood,” and “Women in the Church” (Gospel Topics, topics.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
This instruction may occur individually or in a class held outside of regular Sunday meetings.
As soon as the bishop and stake president determine that a prospective elder is prepared and worthy, he may be ordained an elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood.
Members with Disabilities
The elders quorum presidency gives particular care to members with disabilities. For information about helping these members, see disability.ChurchofJesusChrist.org; see also 38.8.27 in this handbook.