The Seventy hold a unique place in Church
history. As far back as the days of the Exodus, Seventy of the Elders of
Israel were called by the Lord to come forth with Moses and be set apart
from the people. (Exodus 24:1) These Seventy were to be especial witnesses of Jehovah
in His dealings with Israel.
In the meridian of time Jesus Christ himself
"appointed other Seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every
city and place, whither he himself would come." (Luke 10:1) Like the Seventy of
Moses' time these Seventy were especial witnesses. These Seventy were ordained
unto great power insomuch that they cast out devils in the Lord's name. As
especial witnesses, they were used as missionaries in the Lord's True Church.
They were called again in the Latter-days and
have held a diversity of responsibilities since. Called as a traveling council,
and as a presiding Quorum, it is possible that we may yet see other responsibilities
added to the resumé of these men who have been called the "Minutemen of the Church,"
but at the heart of their calling, they remain especial witnesses of the Lord Jesus
On February 8, 1835, in a meeting with Elders
Brigham and Joseph Young, the
Prophet Joseph Smith related a vision he had received
concerning the martyrs of Zion's Camp. He then directed Brigham to call a conference
of all the veterans of the camp who lived within a convenient distance of Kirtland.
Continuing, he told the two brothers that the Lord had revealed to him that the Quorum
of the Twelve Apostles would be organized and that Brigham would be President
thereof. Continuing further he spoke of the Seventy and said to the younger
brother, "Brother Joseph, the Lord has made you President of the Seventies"
as though the calling had already occurred. Interestingly, when the Twelve
and the Seventy were organized on February 14, neither Brigham nor Joseph
were called as the presiding official of their respective quorum. But the
Lord had spoken through his prophet and both shortly held the senior position.
The Seventy were restored as a priesthood quorum
February 14, 1835 as documented in the Doctrine and Covenants. The Latter-day
history of the Seventy comprises five separate units of General Authorities and
six quorums of Area Authorities (Third through Eighth Quorums).