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DanG

Difference between 1st and 2nd Councilors

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By my best recollection of the handbooks, there is no difference.  Any references to counselors in the bishopric (or any presidency for that matter) always refer to "a counselor."  I have only very rarely encountered any need to distinguish between first and second counselor.

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4 hours ago, DanG said:

Just wanted to know what the difference in duties is between a 1st and 2nd Councilor in the Bishopric, if there are any. 

They have different assignments. The second counselor is usually charged with being in charge of the Scouting in a ward. Each counselor will also be assigned to a specific quorum in the YM and class within the YW. Besides that, one counselor will oversee the YM program and one will oversee the YW program. In Sunday school one counselor will be assigned and will oversee and meet regularly with the presisency there and report back to the bishop. In primary one counselor is assigned to oversee and meet regularly with the primary presidency. He is also in charge of the priesthood and temple preparation portion of learning there along with helping guide the annual sacrament meeting primary program. These are the basic individual duties of specific counselors. There are a myriad of other specific duties assigned to them by the bishop such as overseeing clerk's, finances, extending callings and setting aparts, interviews, etc.

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Point of order, "second counselor is usually charged with being in charge of the Scouting in a ward" is not a formal requirement.  It may be either counselor.  

Regarding clerks, while clerks work "under the direction of the bishopric," they do not report to counselors.  They report directly to the bishop.  It's a minor quibble, but important, especially when it comes to financial matters--bishopric counselors aren't authorized to make financial decisions.

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I've been Executive secretary or some sort of clerk for five or six bishops.  The best answer I have, is counselors are there to share the bishop's workload in whatever ways make sense to them all.    Usually, the bishop is the most experienced or mature in the gospel, then the 1st counselor, then the 2nd counselor. But not always.  One of them will be better with the youth, one will be better with scheduling, one at keeping people on track at meetings, one at understanding and connecting with people.  All of them love the ward members - I've yet to see an exception to that one. 

It's cool to watch the personalities.  My current bishopric is made up of a chemistry teacher, an ER room trauma surgeon, and a used car dealer.  They have such different approaches to the gospel, but they work so well together and support each other it's just fun to watch them. 

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8 hours ago, DanG said:

Just wanted to know what the difference in duties is between a 1st and 2nd Councilor in the Bishopric, if there are any. 

Just to provide an additional witness to what others have shared. There are no specific assignments/duties that differentiate the 1st and 2nd counselors in a bishopric. Their duties are given to them by the bishop who has the keys to preside. These duties will then differ from ward to ward.

The default that @Rob Osborn shared is common because the 2nd Counselor is over Deacon's quorum, which usually the bishop will give him charge over Scouting.

However, there might be one duty/assignment that is set in stone, but others can clarify, if this is just how it has been done -- not specifically assignment. In every ward I have been in the 1st counselor is over teachers and the second counselor is over deacons. As to my knowledge that is the only differentiation that appears to be solid.

Yet, I assume the bishop could even change this around.

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8 hours ago, DanG said:

Just wanted to know what the difference in duties is between a 1st and 2nd Councilor in the Bishopric, if there are any. 

One exercises more power and should be recognized as having more power - thus they sit on the stand where they can control that power to move the microphone up and down or increase or decrease the speaker volumes for whoever is speaking to the congregation.  😉

 

The Traveler

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5 minutes ago, Traveler said:

One exercises more power and should be recognized as having more power - thus they sit on the stand where they can control that power to move the microphone up and down or increase or decrease the speaker volumes for whoever is speaking to the congregation.  😉

 

The Traveler

This is the proving ground for potential bishops

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16 minutes ago, Anddenex said:

Just to provide an additional witness to what others have shared. There are no specific assignments/duties that differentiate the 1st and 2nd counselors in a bishopric. Their duties are given to them by the bishop who has the keys to preside. These duties will then differ from ward to ward.

The default that @Rob Osborn shared is common because the 2nd Counselor is over Deacon's quorum, which usually the bishop will give him charge over Scouting.

However, there might be one duty/assignment that is set in stone, but others can clarify, if this is just how it has been done -- not specifically assignment. In every ward I have been in the 1st counselor is over teachers and the second counselor is over deacons. As to my knowledge that is the only differentiation that appears to be solid.

Yet, I assume the bishop could even change this around.

Hmm... this is what the YM presidency counselors do.  Didn't know the bishopric does it as well.   Makes sense though as the bishop is the head honcho of the ward's Aaronic Priesthood.

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Really, the only difference is that when the bishop is gone the 1st counselor presides and runs things under the direction of the bishop.  Other than that - it's pretty much up to the bishop on how he wants to delegate to his counselors.  It's common for 1st - to be over the youth, 2nd to be over primary/Sunday school/scouting  - there are a bunch of other things they are over but these are some of the main things.

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1 hour ago, e-eye said:

Really, the only difference is that when the bishop is gone the 1st counselor presides and runs things under the direction of the bishop.  

Even in this case, it is not explicitly stated that the 1st counselor will preside.  Either of the counselors may preside at the assignment of the bishop. 

From a strict reading of the handbooks, there is not organizational hierarchy in the 1st and 2nd counselor designations.  The counselors are equals in all things.  

Edited by MarginOfError

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My understanding is that bishoprics are likely (at least, in theory) modeled after the judicial system that was in place in antebellum Ohio during the Church’s Kirtland phase; with the bishop serving as the “common judge”, and the “first counselor” and “second counselor” being the attorneys who would present various sides of an issue.

Really, really wish I could remember where I read that . . .

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1 hour ago, Just_A_Guy said:

My understanding is that bishoprics are likely (at least, in theory) modeled after the judicial system that was in place in antebellum Ohio during the Church’s Kirtland phase; with the bishop serving as the “common judge”, and the “first counselor” and “second counselor” being the attorneys who would present various sides of an issue.

Really, really wish I could remember where I read that . . .

I wish you could remember that too.

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On 9/10/2018 at 12:39 PM, MarginOfError said:

Even in this case, it is not explicitly stated that the 1st counselor will preside.  Either of the counselors may preside at the assignment of the bishop. 

From a strict reading of the handbooks, there is not organizational hierarchy in the 1st and 2nd counselor designations.  The counselors are equals in all things.  

I would agree that handbook 2 doesn't spell it out (I don't think 1 does either), but that is actually how it works.  The default is 1st then 2nd unless the bishop were to assign differently - I don't know why he would he chose who would delegate when he picked them 1 and 2.  I don't think I have ever seen it in any capacity of the church from first presidency to any deacons quorum where roles were reversed - my only guess would be if there was a worthiness issue, or some other unnatural cause which would incapacitate a person.  

I think the main reason for the handbook to say counselors is because the bishop does choose counselors to preside over different auxiliaries and programs to his discretion and I have seen these mixed up often.  

I do agree that they are equal in responsibility and authority as neither one has more opportunity or capacity than the other but the 1st will preside over the 2nd when the bishop is out of town.  

 

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22 hours ago, e-eye said:

I do agree that they are equal in responsibility and authority as neither one has more opportunity or capacity than the other but the 1st will preside over the 2nd when the bishop is out of town.  

Sure...usually...until you come across a bishop that doesn't envision a difference between 1st and 2nd counselor. And then his 1st counselor moves away. And then the bishop calls a younger, less experienced brother to be 1st counselor, rather than releasing and re-calling the other counselor just to get them ranked in experience. And then the bishop leaves town for a bit and designates the more experienced 2nd counselor to preside.*

Or maybe the bishop has his counselors selected such that the second counselor is the younger and less experienced counselor. And the bishop assigns him to preside so that he will gain some experience in running the affairs of the ward.

Or.....I could do this all day. My point is, there is often is a difference between the way things are designated to work and the way they conventionally work, which is not the same thing as how people perceive they are supposed to work. 

Which is why I am firm on my point that the correct answer to "what is the difference between the 1st and 2nd counselor?" is "nothing at all." Any other contribution to that answer should carry a prominent disclaimer about common, cultural convention.

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On 9/10/2018 at 5:18 PM, MarginOfError said:

I wish you could remember that too.

MoE, this has been stuck in my brain for a year and a half—and this morning, I found it!

http://boap.org/LDS/Historical-Analysis-the-Doctrine-and-Covenants/An-Historical-Analysis-of-D&C-107.html

The main body has some discussion of the term “common judge” in antebellum Ohio, and if you scroll to the end you might be interested in footnote 7.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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On 9/10/2018 at 4:17 AM, DanG said:

Just wanted to know what the difference in duties is between a 1st and 2nd Councilor in the Bishopric, if there are any. 

None, except the assumed order for presiding and absence in the bishop's temporary absence.

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