The Mormon Church has structured their church in what they believe to be the Biblical set up for the church. Two important parts to this structure include what are called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. and the First Presidency. When we examine the scriptures though we find little to no precedent for the such a structure of the church.
Twelve apostles of course seems to make in that Jesus had 12 apostles and so it would make sense that he desired there to be 12 apostles that would lead the church in the future, but even this runs into a few issues.
First we need to ask, who were the original 12 apostles? According to the synoptic gospels we have the following list:
- Simon Peter
- James (John’s brother)
- Judas Iscariot
Of course in that list all of us see one name that comes out as a red flag, Judas, who betrayed Jesus. If the Quorum of the 12 is based off this original 12 it seems a bit problematic knowing that one of those 12 apostles betrayed Jesus. Of course Judas is not listed among the 12 after Jesus ascension and is actually replaced by Matthias. So the LDS church could claim it is this list they are following.
The problem here is that we are still excluding Paul from being an apostle something Paul clearly believed he was in 1 Corinthians 9:1 when he says “Am I not an Apostle?’ Paul goes on to write the greater portion of the New Testament, leaving him out of the official church structure seems odd especially when he later corrects Peter.
Furthermore the LDS first presidency also seems to lack Biblical understanding. From the link above the LDS church says “the Church is led by 15 apostles”. 15? Where did this number come from?
The first presidency is believed to be those who have seen Jesus like Peter, James and John did at the transfiguration. So the first presidency is three men who have the same authority as Peter, James and John. Add the twelve apostles and the three from the presidency and that gets you the fifteen apostles. The problem here is Peter, James and John are also part of the twelve disciples. In essence there were not twelve disciples and the three that saw the transfiguration. So fifteen apostles really has no Biblical grounding.
Furthermore, as mentioned above we still have to account for Paul somehow. Paul very clearly had a role within the structure of the early church and a high one at that. Paul actually corrects Peter in Galatians 2:11. Is there anyone who has this sort of authority within the LDS church structure? That’s a clear no.
So does the LDS follow a Biblical precedent for their church structure? Obviously not. They don’t have a role that fits for Paul, and they don’t understand that the three disciples that saw Jesus transfigured were counted among the twelve disciples and not an addition to them