From the top to the bottom, every member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is important. From the prophet of the Church to the youngest Primary member, each has a role. There is no paid ministry in all the church. Below is a brief explanation of each major section of the Mormon Church organization.
General Church Leadership
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is organized like the church Jesus established when He was on the earth. The general authorities of the Church are the First Presidency (which consists of the prophet and two counselors), the 12 Apostles, the Presidency of the Seventy, the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric.
The Church is divided into areas throughout the world. These are large geographical areas, such as “Europe” or “Central America.” Area Authorities govern the Church in these places under the direction of the First Presidency and the 12 Apostles.
Stakes govern a number of congregations within various areas throughout the world. Each stake is led by a presidency, which consists of the stake president and his two counselors. The stake presidency acts under the direction of the Area Authority leaders.
A ward is a single congregation of up to approximately 300 members. Smaller congregations are called branches. Each ward is led by a bishop and his two counselors. A ward is like a family, with each member assigned a specific assignment, or calling, to assist in the work of the Church.
A bishop has many responsibilities. He counsels with other ward leaders, he oversees the youth of the ward, and acts as the spiritual adviser to all members of the congregation.
“Worthy adult men in the Church receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, which is authority from God to perform sacred ordinances and to lead in the Church” (lds.org). Each ward has a high priest group and an elders quorum. Each is a body of priesthood men that performs various responsibilities for the church. One of their most important duties is home teaching. Priesthood men are divided into companionships and are assigned to teach and watch over every family and individual in the ward.
The Relief Society is one of the oldest women’s organizations in America and is now a worldwide organization. All women 18 years or older, as well as married women and mothers younger than 18, are part of the relief society in their wards. This organization is one of compassionate service. Each member of the Relief Society also has a role similar to the high priests and elders and that is visiting teaching. Visiting teaching involves each woman in the ward visiting and caring after other women in the ward.
Each ward has a youth organization. The young men and young women organizations frequently participate in activities together, but are also separate organizations. All worthy young men hold the Aaronic Priesthood (a level of priesthood authority preparatory to receiving the Melchizedek priesthood). Young men ages 12-13 are deacons; ages 14-15 are teachers; ages 16-17 are priests.
Girls ages 12-17 are part of the young women organization. This organization helps young women build faith in Jesus Christ and prepare them for their roles as women and mothers in the church, the ward, and the community.
All members of the church, ages 12 and up, are part of the Sunday School organization. The purpose of the Sunday School is to teach members about the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Sunday School is divided into age specific groups within the ward.
All children, ages 18 months to 11 years, are part of the Primary organization. The purpose of the primary is to teach children simple truths about the gospel of Jesus Christ and to teach them about God and Jesus.
More detail about each of these organizations can be learned at www.lds.org.