When Joseph Smith died, the crisis in succession produced arguments from various contenders who claimed it their right to lead the Church. Although no one argued that Section 107: 22-24 controlled the decision, ultimately the decision was that the Twelve Apostles held keys to lead the Church. A few years later the verses in Section 107 just cited became the rationale for why the Twelve would lead.
This decision was further clarified by adoption of the rule that the senior (one who held office longest) Apostle would be the presiding authority and by virtue of that seniority would be the President. Initially he was President of the Twelve. Then when Brigham Young reformed the First Presidency after a few years, he became President of the Church. Then in 1955 he became the living “prophet” as well.
Since the system has now reached a stable, orderly manner of choosing and recognizing whose right it is to preside over the church, what happens if another, more senior Apostle happens along? Whose right is it to preside if you are required to choose between direction that comes from the presiding authority of the church or direction that comes from John (who tarries in the flesh), (D&C 7: 1-4.) or Peter, James and John? (D&C 27: 12) Everyone presumes the messages from those who preside over the church on the earth and those who “tarry in the flesh” will be congruent, and that there is no conflict between the messages. But query what choice should be made if there is at least some inconsistency? Upon whom does the seniority rest?
A simpler question is what choice should be made between the Lord and those who preside in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I think all would agree that all church authorities are inferior to the Lord. However, we also presume that there will be no conflict between the two. What if there is at least some inconsistency?
It is an interesting question to ponder. Not that I have anything to add to your reflection on the matter. Sometimes it is just interesting to consider a question. Like I’ve said elsewhere, answers are less important than a good question to ponder from time to time. In the pondering, new and important ideas can occur to you.