Succession in the Church

By Reed C. Durham, Jr. & Steven H. Heath

Synopsis: This book analyzes the principles of apostolic succession to the office of the President of the Church. It examines the evolution of the succession protocol from the very earliest days of the Church up to the beginning of the presidency of Joseph Fielding Smith in 1970, when such principles were firmly established and streamlined. 

Strong Points: This book was fascinating! I learned so much from it, and it held my interest throughout. If you like learning about the facts, details, and statistics relating to apostolic succession, then this book will be a delight. It is an in-depth study, and in that regard was even more impressive than I expected. The book covers the succession principles in place even before there was a Quorum of the Twelve, discusses the ordinations of the original Twelve in 1835, and provides a great discussion of the succession crisis after the death of Joseph Smith. The book also documents each change in the Quorum of the Twelve or the First Presidency, detailing who died (or apostatized, or whatever the case may be), and who they were replaced with. Then it gives the composition of the First Presidency & Quorum of the Twelve after each change, as well as listing the Brethren in order of succession/seniority. It is a good companion to the Church Almanac for studying apostolic succession.

Weak Points: The book featured a few very, very long block quotes that went on for pages, were quite monotonous, and could have easily been summarized. Also, while the book did contain many gems of info about certain apostles, I would have loved a short statement or paragraph describing what is known of each apostle called. I loved those things when they occurred.

Interesting: 5/5

Must Read: 3.9/5

Overall: 4.8/5

Selected Quote: "Though history and men and policy are a part of the process, the whole is made after the mind and will of God, the 'touchings' of the Spirit, working in history and with men, temper and mature a certain pattern of government. There is no tradition alone; there is no speculation. The law of succession is certain, and it is revelatory!" (p. 165).


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