Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have a mandate to be special witnesses of the Lord, Jesus Christ. The duties of the Apostles have remained since they were first called in the early days of the Church.
Jesus Christ commanded the Apostles of His day to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). They traveled throughout their world teaching, preaching, and strengthening. The living Apostles today have the same charge. They travel throughout the world to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to strengthen members of the Church. The Apostles living on the earth today have about the same duties as the Apostles who directed the Church after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
All twelve Apostles were recently interviewed for an article in the July 2019 Ensign, “We Are Witnesses: The Twelve Apostles Today.” The article includes quotes from all of them, but just a few of them will be included in this post. This quote from President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, sets the stage for the following ones. “This is the Lord’s Church, and our major challenge is to be sure we are in tune with how He would want us to carry out His kingdom here on earth.”
Elder David A. Bednar explains that the commission of the Apostles has not changed. “First and foremost, all the time, we are witnesses of the living reality of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not administrators; we are ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland explains that the Apostles have a commission to be traveling witnesses and to go all over the world professing the name of Jesus Christ. “We want even the most distant unit of this Church, geographically speaking, to feel that there is a very close link between them and the prophet of the Lord. It is often said, ‘The Church makes a very small world of it.’ In the case of Apostolic contact, we hope that this is always so.”
Elder Quentin L. Cook explains that one of the Apostles meets with every stake and ward, district and branch, at least once every four years. “Leadership conferences have allowed us to fulfill our doctrinal mandate to ‘[build] up the church and [regulate] all the affairs of the same in all nations’ [Doctrine and Covenants 107:34] under the direction of the First Presidency.”
Elder David A. Bednar points out that the Apostles come from a variety of backgrounds -- some are doctors, some are lawyers, and some are businessmen – and they bring a rich variety of experiences with them when they are ordained as Special Witnesses. Collectively, they have much knowledge and wisdom to use when counseling members of the Church. Elder Gerrit W. Gong says, “As we go different places, we feel the goodness of the members. We hear the experiences and we learn things that help us to understand as we counsel together as a quorum about what is happening in the different parts of the world and in different groups within the Church.”
There are many other statements by members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, but I think that my readers can come to understand the kind of men who are called as Special Witnesses. I hope that you will go to the Ensign article and read the rest of the statements. I know that you will feel of their spirit as well as the Spirit of the Lord.