Sunday, March 28, 2010

Patriarchal Priesthood

Section 124 of the Doctrine and Covenants is the longest section in the book and filled with tons of great information, just there for the taking. One of the “nuggets” I discovered has to do with Hyrum Smith and his calling to the office of Patriarch.

Section 124:91 And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant William be appointed, ordained, and anointed, as counselor unto my servant Joseph, in the room of my servant Hyrum, that my servant Hyrum may take the office of Priesthood and Patriarch, which was appointed unto him by his father, by blessing and also by right;

92 That from henceforth he shall hold the keys of the patriarchal blessings upon the heads of all my people,

93 That whoever he blesses shall be blessed, and whoever he curses shall be cursed; that whatsoever he shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever he shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

94 And from this time forth I appoint unto him that he may be a prophet, and a seer, and a revelator unto my church, as well as my servant Joseph;

95 That he may act in concert also with my servant Joseph; and that he shall receive counsel from my servant Joseph, who shall show unto him the keys whereby he may ask and receive, and be crowned with the same blessing, and glory, and honor, and priesthood, and gifts of the priesthood, that once were put upon him that was my servant Oliver Cowdery;

96 That my servant Hyrum may bear record of the things which I shall show unto him, that his name may be had in honorable remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever.

Joseph Smith Sr. was the first Patriarch of the Latter Day Church and was ordained to that office on December 18, 1833 in Kirtland, Ohio. In Nauvoo in 1841, Hyrum Smith was called by the Lord to fill the office of Patriarch which was left vacant by the death of his father. I believe that there is great symbolism to be discovered when one considers the role of the Patriarch.

First let us consider the term Patriarch as synonymous with the word Father. Think of the symbolism that occurs in just that alone; Father Smith being the type and shadow for the Father, and Joseph Smith being a type and shadow for the Son. Recognizing this symbolism helps us gain added insights into the separate nature of the Godhead.

Next, it is interesting to see the description that is given to the powers that coincide with the Patriarchal office as those which “bind in Heaven that which is bound on earth”. These powers are associated with the sealing keys. Hyrum Smith was given this authority, as was his father before him, long before the sealing power was officially being used in the Latter Day Temples. I believe it takes the blessing of the Father to “seal” that which is entered into on this earth.

Finally, Joseph Smith termed the priesthood as “three grand orders”, Aaronic, Patriarchal, and Melchizedek. As we consider the ascension pattern taught through our Temple ordinances, I believe we see that the progression goes from Aaronic to Melchizedek, and then finally to the crowning authority of Patriarchal Priesthood, which is given as a couple is “sealed” in the Temple. This Patriarchal Priesthood is given to both man and wife, authorizing them to “create” families, or worlds, of their own. This is the essence of Eternal Life or “the perpetuation of powers of creation and procreation” known as eternal increase. The father of this union is the holder of the Patriarchal key for his family and becomes a type and a shadow for our Heavenly Father. United in obedient love, with the Lord, this new unit is given power, by covenant, to become a king and queen, rulers united in their own kingdom.

The Patriarchal Priesthood was outlined by the Lord as the ultimate goal that could be reached; it was the “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow. The teaching of it is contained in all four of our standard works, but more concisely is given in Section 2 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Section 2:1 Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

2 And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.

3 If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.

The “fathers” that are referred to above are the grand Patriarchal line of Fathers that our priesthood blessings are received through such as Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham etc. When we enter into the Temple and become sealed to our spouse, we enter that grand order, or Patriarchal line, and receive the same blessings and promises they did.

I believe that just as we refer to the “Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God, as Melchizedek Priesthood out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being”, the Patriarchal priesthood is one referencing the sacred nature of the priesthood which is after the Order of the Father. It only seems natural to me. In fact, as a couple is sealed in the Temple it is done by the “power of the Holy Priesthood”(the title Melchizedek is missing from this pronouncement) and is one of two covenants entered into in the name of all three members of the Godhead separately, the other being baptism.

It is amazing to me that with this understanding our Patriarchal Blessing become a literal “Father’s Blessing”, sealed upon our heads by His authority. This teaching provides one with a greater reverence for the office of Patriarch, whether he is ordained to that position as an official calling, or given that position by rightful lineage as head of the family unit, it still represents the Priesthood of the Father and is highly sacred.

We can come to better understand the qualities and powers of our Heavenly Father as we learn more fully about Him through the teachings and symbols He has provided for us to do just that. I am grateful for this Patriarchal order and the insights we can receive from it.


Mona said...

Wow. Beautifully researched and constructed treatment of "deep" doctrine; some of the "hidden" things of the kingdom that are actually in plain view to those who want to know them and seek the guidance of the Spirit (as Nephi spent his life trying to teach). Thank you for all the effort and thought and spiritual insight. I always eat it up. I love especially the paragraph on the ultimate relationship between men and women. It's a beautiful vantage point for me right now in particular since I'm am constructing my new blog ( to focus on inspiring marriages and doing a lot of thought, prayer and research myself on the subject.

Anonymous said...

Spiffy. I like how you took patriarch and brought it to the word father. Is my blog rubbing off on you a little? :)