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;
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.
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;
Joseph Smith Sr. was the first Patriarch of the
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
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.
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
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.