Presiding High Priest
From The Encyclopedia of Mormonism
Author: Doxey, Roy W.
"Presiding high priest" is a phrase sometimes used in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to refer to the priesthood officer in charge of a particular unit of Church organization (e.g., D&C 106:1). When used without qualification, it ordinarily refers to the president of the church.
Local congregations or wards are presided over by a bishop, who may also be spoken of as the presiding high priest in his ward. Similarly, a stake president presides over a stake, and an area president presides over the stakes of a major geographical area. All of these preside as ordained high priests, even though the bishop and area president function on the basis of an additional ordination as a bishop or seventy, respectively.
Only the President of the Church, by right of his ordination to this office, is designated the presiding high priest of the whole Church (D&C 107:91). His calling includes being "President of the High Priesthood of the Church; or, in other words, the Presiding High Priest over the High Priesthood of the Church" (D&C 107:65-66). In 1832 the Prophet Joseph Smith was sustained as President of the High Priesthood and ordained to that office by Sidney Rigdon. An 1835 revelation further directed that a First Presidency of three men be chosen, "appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church" (D&C 107:22). The President's counselors may preside in his absence, and are also called presiding high priests (D&C 107:22), but do not function independently in this role. ROY W. DOXEY