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JOSHUA - Are the 12 disciples of the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi) Apostles as the Twelve in Jerusalem are called. That is, ordained and set apart as a quorum and leaders of the church, being beyond that of the general Apostolic calling described in the Bible Dictionary which confirms an Apostle to be a witness of Christ? The BOM seems to be careful to call them “Disciples”, and the Twelve in Jerusalem, “Apostles”. Is this for reader differentiation? - P.S. Congratulations on such a long standing, serving website.

JOEL - The Quorum of Twelve Apostles that Jesus chose on the eastern continent were the leaders of the Church for the entire earth. The 12 Disciples that Jesus called to lead His church in the Western hemisphere were not ordained Apostles, although they did function as special witnesses for Jesus Christ and were given similar authority to act in the name of Jesus for the people living there(3 Nephi 18:36-38, 3 Ne. 12: 1).
Here is what you might call an "official" statement from one of the Presidents of our Church today.

"While in every instance the Nephite twelve are spoken of as disciples, the fact remains that they had been endowed with divine authority to be special witnesses for Christ among their own people. Therefore, they were acting like apostles to the Nephite race although their jurisdiction was eventually to be subject to the authority and jurisdiction of Peter and the Twelve chosen in Palestine." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 3:158)

There has only been one Church of Christ and one Quorum of the Twelve on the earth at a given moment in time. However, Jesus knew that a core of leadership would be needed in the western continent in order to establish His Gospel and Church there. Otherwise, those people would never be able to have access to the leadership of the presiding Twelve Apostles on the eastern continent.

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