Chapter 19: Priesthood Leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ

Gordon B. Hinckley Chapter 19: Priesthood Leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ seems quite timely as President Thomas S. Monson turns 90 this year and his health wanes with age. It is important to understand the policies and procedures that are in place when our President can not do all his normal day to day activities. Doubt comes easy when we don't understand. This is a great lesson to strengthen our testimonies of God's plans for His church.


I also appreciate how this chapter talks about the stake president and bishops. In section 6, it says, "Because we have such confidence in [stake presidents], we urge local members that they not seek out General Authorities to counsel with and bless them. Their stake presidents have been called under the same inspiration under which the General Authorities were called." It's not the calling that makes one superior to another. Our stake president and bishop are there so we have someone nearby to counsel with and get aid as necessary. They have every right to inspiration for us.

Questions to Ponder

Some of these questions are from the manual, others are ones that I thought of- use them in your preparation, lesson, or to help you think of your own.

  • Why do you think we need living prophets?
  • What impresses you about the Lord's "refining process" for preparing and calling a President of the Church? (see section 1)
  • What are your impressions as you review President Hinckley's description of the way a new President of the Church is chosen? (see section 2)
  • Why is it important to know that the President is chosen according to "a divine plan which provides inspired and tested leadership"?
  • What principles and procedures has the Lord established for governing the Church if the President is not able to function fully in all his duties? (see section 3)
  • How does knowing these principles and procedures help your testimony?
  • How do latter-day Apostles show concern for all of God's children, "both those within the Church and those out of the Church"? (see section 4)
  • How do recent conference addresses reflect this concern?
  • How have you benefited from the teachings of living prophets and apostles?
  • What can you learn from the way the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve reach decisions (see section 5)? 
  • How can you apply these principles in your family and in the Church?
  • What do you learn about the callings of stake president and bishop from sections 6 and 7?
  • How can you better sustain your Church leaders?
  • How have you seen our current prophet become refined and polished?
  • What are some of the benefits of having the President of the Church be an older gentlemen?
  • How is the Bishop like a shepherd?

Teacher Study

Here are some articles to study as you continue to prepare for your lesson. They should NOT replace the manual but rather help answer questions and strengthen your own testimony so that it is easy to teach with confidence and answer questions that arise during your lesson. 

"Follow the Leadership of the Church" by President Harold B. Lee

"These I Will Make My Leaders" by President James E. Faust

"Our Prophet Thomas S. Monson" by Elder William R. Walker

"This Gentle Prophet" by President Boyd K. Packer

"The Twelve" by President Boyd K. Packer

"The Stake President" by President Gordon B. Hinckley

"The Bishop and His Counselors" by President Boyd K. Packer

"Sustaining the Prophets" by President Russell M. Nelson

"The Keys That Never Rust" by President James E. Faust


Remember, as a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS member, you can access these eBooks or audio books anytime. Find out more about Deseret Bookshelf PLUS.

"Prophets, Priesthood Keys, & Succession" by Hoyt W. Brewster, Jr.

"In the Company of Prophets" by Heidi S. Swinton

"To the Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson" by Heidi S. Swinton

Suggested Videos

God is at the Helm (about 25 minutes)- Full General Conference talk from President Hinckley

Succession in the Presidency (about 1 minute)- Words from Elder David B. Haight

Preparation of Thomas S. Monson: Faith in the Priesthood (about 2 minutes)- Story about President Monson as a young soldier

Preparation of Thomas S. Monson: Always Follow the Promptings of the Spirit (about 3 minutes)- Story about President Monson as a young Bishop.

A New Apostle (about 1 minute)- President Hinckley explains the process of choosing a new apostle.

Apostle Testimony Montage (about 2 minutes)- Testimonies from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. 

Elder Bednar Speaks on Apostles Role (about 11 minutes)

Scripture Study

These are the same scriptures mentioned at the end of the manual. I include them here because of the importance in reading our scriptures as we prepare.

Ephesians 2:19-20

Ephesians 4:11-14

D&C 1:38

D&C 21:1-6

Abraham 3:22-23

Articles of Faith 1:5-6

Teaching Thoughts

These are my ideas. My hope is that reading my thoughts will be a springboard to finding the right plans for your class. 

  • Show one of the Preparation of Thomas S. Monson videos mentioned above then talk about other ways you and your class can see how he was prepared to become the prophet for our day. You may want to see his biography for more information. You can do the same for President Gordon B. Hinckley (see bottom of page 1 and top of page 2).
  • See if your class can name all the apostles in order. You can get pictures from the library or order some. The trickiest part is where President Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf fit back in. Then talk about if President Monson were to die today, who would be the next prophet as you go into section 2. 
  • When reviewing section 4, read The Living Christ together as a class or watch the Apostle Testimony Montage. In April 2017 General Conference, we were encouraged several times to study The Living Christ. Prickly Pear Design has a free 12 page study journal (and prints) that you could use or share the link with your class in a follow up email. The journal would make splitting into groups easy. My 3 Monsters also has great free The Living Christ prints.
  • Use my free handout as a pre-opener activity. Hang the poster on the board then give out white board markers to a couple people in the room with the instructions to write one way a living prophet has blessed their lives then to pass the marker off to someone else. As you begin your lesson you can review some of the answers then head into section 1.
  • Grab your post-its and hang up 15 pictures of the prophets and apostles on the board. If you can, put a picture of your stake president and bishop up as well. Give everyone a post-it to write one thing they have learned from someone on the board then stick it next to the appropriate picture. You can give your class 5 minutes during your lesson or do this activity as a pre-opener as well.
  • As you go over section 5, talk about how we can apply these same principles in our own family councils (and ward). If we are to reach total harmony in our decisions, what must we be willing to do or change? What tips do people have in your ward for holding positive family councils? 
  • Bring a box of cards to pass around in your class. Have everyone write a note of appreciation to either your stake president or bishop. You can put two baskets up front to people for put their cards in after class.
  • One of the best ways to appreciate the priesthood leadership of the Church is to better understand their duties. Make a chart on the board of the duties for the President of the Church, First Presidency, Apostles, Stake President, and Bishop. You can split into groups to fill it out or do it as a class. You may even want to invite your Bishop or Stake President to come in and answer some questions.
  •  Discuss how we can sustain our church leaders. What does it mean to sustain? What can you say when someone begins to criticize the leaders instead? The story of Aaron and Hur sustaining Moses is a good scriptural example of sustaining. D&C 124:45-46 lists blessings and warnings about sustaining our leaders. "How to Sustain Your Bishop" also has good talking points.
  • In section 1 President Hinckley says, "We shall never be without a prophet if we live worthy of a prophet." What is that we have to do in order to stay worthy of a living prophet? 
  • Have a little fun playing "Who Said It: Prophet or Princess?" 
  • Have 15 people read one quote from each of the prophets and apostles this last General Conference. You can call people beforehand and let them pick a quote or hand out cards while people come in.
  • One thing I would focus on is reading the scriptures in the Doctrine & Covenants as you go over the policies that exist to show that they have been around since the beginning. Someone didn't get sick and these policies and procedures were added; it's how it has always been.
  • No video- I'm still in the hospital.


See the hymns under the topic of "Prophets."