Local Church Organization
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints organizes the church according to geological regions. The smallest unit is the ‘ward’− or ‘branch’ if the LDS population of a given area is not big enough for a ward. A ward is simply a congregation. Mormons are typically members of the ward or branch that they live in. Several wards in an area make up a stake. The stake has a leadership similar to the ward, except the stake works with members of ward leadership, instead of directly with the members.
A lay ministry governs the LDS Church, meaning all of the positions in the church are non-professional and volunteer. Between the actual leadership of the ward and leadership in all of the auxiliary organizations, most members of the congregation hold at least one position, or ‘calling’. The members of the bishopric, which consists of the bishop, his counselors, and a few other positions to help the ward function, lead the ward. All wards in the church are structured the same. The bishop is called to serve by the stake presidency. Additional organizations within the ward, their makeup and their responsibilities, are as follows (all of the leaders of the following groups report to the bishop):
Elders Quorum: Elder is an office the Melchizedek Priesthood. According to LDS scripture, an Elder should, “teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the church.” The Elders Quorum often times provides assistance to other ward members, such as helping someone move. They also provide assistance to the sick and elderly in the ward. The ward Elders Quorum is governed by a presidency.
Young Men/Women: These two groups provide activities and learning opportunities, both religious and secular, for youth between 12-18 years of age. They are comprised of a presidency and gender specific instructors.
Relief Society: This women’s charity organization dates back to the early years of the church. It is made up entirely of women. Its purpose is to provide help and welfare to those in need. The Relief Society is led by a president and has instructors.
Sunday School: This group is led by a Sunday School Presidency, and consists of presidency and numerous teachers. Its purpose is to provide age-appropriate Sunday religious instruction to members of the church who are 12 years old or older. A nursery is available for children too young for Primary.
Primary: The church Primary is similar to Sunday school, except for children under 12. In addition to Sunday religious instruction, it also provides activities during the week, similar to Young Men/Young Women, only for a younger audience. It consists of a presidency and teachers.
‘Magic’ Underwear (Garments)
Ordinance Work for the Dead
Heaven and the Afterlife
Nature of God and the Godhead
Modern Day Prophets
Local Church Leadership