The Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon are not
usually (with the exception of Oliver Cowdery) included in listings of
the General Authorities. Grampa Bill has included them on this site for
two related reasons. First, they were called of God and blessed by
Joseph Smith to call and ordain the original
Twelve Apostles of the last dispensation.
An argument can be made that it is against the order of God for anyone
to confer authority greater than one holds. By this line of reasoning,
the Three Witnesses would seem to hold (or to have held at that moment)
authority equal to or greater than the Apostles.
The second reason for their inclusion in this listing
is like unto the first and is perhaps best articulated in the History
of the Church: "A word, by the way, in relation to the appropriateness
of the Three Witnesses choosing the Twelve. In the revelation defining
the special calling of the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of
the name of Christ to all the world; thus differing from other officers
in the Church in the duties of their calling. (Doctrine and Covenants, sec
cvii:23) From this it appears that the special calling of
the Twelve is to be Witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ to all the
world; hence it was preeminently proper that these Twelve Witnesses
should be chosen by the Three very special Witnesses... witnesses
of the Book of Mormon in particular, and of God's marvelous work in General."
(Bold emphasis added)
Now, having justified (to my mind, at least) the
inclusion of the Three Witnesses in this listing, it must be said that
they never functioned as a governing or presiding body of the Church, nor
were they ever sustained as a body as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators.
If the reader disagrees with their inclusion here, he is invited to click
on the "BACK" button and forget this page even exists.