Later Joseph Smith explained the duties of the Twelve: "They are Twelve Apostles who are called to the office of traveling high council, who are to preside over all the churches of the Saints among the Gentiles, where there is no presidency [of a standing high council] established, and they are to travel and preach among the Gentiles, until the Lord shall command them to go to the Jews. They hold the keys of this ministry to unlock the door of the kingdom of heaven unto all the nations, and to preach the gospel to every creature. This is the power, authority and virtue of their calling".
On another occasion Joseph Smith explained the differences between the two standing high councils and the traveling high council: "The Twelve Apostles have no right to go into Zion or any of its stakes where there is a regular high council established to regulate any matter pertaining thereto: but it is their duty to go abroad and regulate and set in order all matters relative to the different branches of the Church of the Latter day Saints. No standing high council has authority to go into Zion the Church abroad and regulate the matters thereof, for this belongs to the Twelve"
[Collier, Kirtland Council Minute Book, pp. 84-87, Collier, Kirtland Council Minute Book, pp. 84-87 as quoted in Lisle G Brown, compiler, "Organizational Chronology of The Church of Christ, and The Church of the Latter Day Saints, 1829 - 1836"]