In a commentary on Patheos.com, James Faulconer, a professor of religious understanding at Brigham Young University, explains the role of an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their primary duty, which is outlined in the New Testament and other Latter-day Saint scripture.
“The most important part of what they do as apostles is the testimony that they bear of the reality that Jesus is Christ, the Messiah,” Faulconer says. “His resurrection was the first testimony to the world of his messiahship. The apostles' testimonies spread that first and fundamental testimony. Beyond whatever else the Church might need contemporary apostles to do, that witness to the Church and to the world is their first responsibility.”
Faulconer also notes that, like the apostles at the time of Christ, Mormon apostles are rarely called from among those with religious or theological training. One was a pilot, another a heart surgeon, and others were educators, businessmen and lawyers.
“Theological training isn't needed for their primary responsibility: witnessing,” Faulconer says. “Training for that comes from their life experiences: they have seen and felt the results of Christian life, both in their own lives and in the lives of those they've worked with in their callings as lay ministers in the Church.”
These apostles will share their witness of Jesus Christ with the world, as well as speak on a variety of other spiritual topics, during next week’s general conference (held every April and October).