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Since the organization of the Church in the latter-days, there has always been a designated presiding authority over the Church. This presiding authority is known as the First Presidency. It is made up of the Prophet/President of the Church, and his two counselors. The First Presidency is responsible for such things as clarifying doctrine and Church policies, introducing new programs and organization according to the Lord’s will, warning and teaching not only members of the Church but the people of the world, as well as other administrative tasks. They have the authority to delegate tasks to others.
The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is made up of twelve men who are called to act as special witnesses of Christ (see Doctrine and Covenants 107:23). The Twelve assist the First Presidency with decisions regarding the Church, and a unanimous vote of the Twelve and the First Presidency is usually needed to make any significant changes.
The Quorums of the Seventies are other worthy men called to help in the responsibilities of leading the Church. They often work under the direction of the Twelve Apostles and carry out various duties, such as visiting Church congregations in other parts of the world, overseeing different organizations within the Church, and helping in missionary work.
A Presiding Bishopric, comprised of the Presiding Bishop and his two counselors, also helps lead the Church. Their role is in leading the Aaronic or lesser priesthood and is focused more on temporal matters, such as building churches, the welfare of the poor, and collecting tithing.
The holders of all of the previously mentioned positions are grouped together by members and referred to as General Authorities, or "the Brethren." They make up most of the leadership of the Church. As the Church grows, the Quorum of the Seventy can be multiplied to help maintain administrative affairs of the Church. Thus, there can be a Second Quorum of the Seventy, and so forth.
There are also five Auxiliary Presidencies that work under the direction of these four main presiding groups to direct other organizations within the Church.
- General Relief Society Presidency: which leads the worldwide women’s organization of the Church.
- General Young Women’s Presidency: which leads the programs for the young women between the ages of 12 and 17.
- General Primary Presidency: which oversees all the organizations for children ages 3-12.
- General Sunday School Presidency: which oversees those who teach within the Church
- General Young Men's Presidency: which oversees the programs for the young men between the ages of 12 and 17.