The Presiding Patriarch
Stewardship and Authority
A Brief History of the Patriarch
Patriarchs in the Old Testament
Joseph Smith received revelations that records the blessings from father to son of the patriarchs from the time of Adam to Noah. We also follow the descendants of Noah to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who received the promise that through them and through their seed the nations of the earth should be blessed.
Patriarchs in the New Testament
Patriarchs in the New Testament are referred to as evangelists. Their functions were not clearly expressed. A man named Philip, who was filled with the Holy Ghost, was chosen as one of the seven deacons to serve tables, but it is not known if this was the same man who baptized the eunuch from the court of Candice. If it was he would have had to be a priest or elder. Scripture also speaks of a Philip who is an evangelist but it is is not clear if this is the same man.
“And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea; and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.” Acts 21:8
“And he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; Till we, in the unity of the faith, all come to the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;” Eph. 4:11-13
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 2 Tim 4:5
Patriarchs in the Restoration
The first patriarch in the Restoration, Joseph Smith, Sr., was ordained under the hands of the First Presidency consisting of Joseph Smith, Jr., Frederick Williams and Hyrum Smith in the Kirtland Temple on January 21, 1836. …..
…….Upon the death of Joseph Smith, Sr., his son Hyrum was ordained as patriarch of the church. After the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum, their brother William was ordained as patriarch. The patriarchal line according to lineage was observed until recent years by the Reorganized Church.
The choosing of the patriarch for the church is through lineage of the chosen seed. This had to be established through revelation in the Restoration. Also evangelical ministers who are also patriarchs, are chosen through revelations given to the Twelve.
“It is the duty of the Twelve, in all large branches of the church, to ordain evangelical ministers, as they shall be designated unto them by revelation. The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made.” D&C 104:17, 18
“The patriarch is an evangelical minister. The duties of this office are to be an evangelical minister; to preach, teach, expound, exhort, to be a revivalist, and to visit branches and districts as wisdom may direct, invitation, request, or the Spirit of God determine and require; to comfort the Saints; to be a father to the church; to give counsel and advice to individuals who may seek for such; to lay on hands for the conferment of spiritual blessing, and if so led, to point out the lineage of the one who is blessed.” D&C 125:3 a, b
“First, I give unto you Hyrum Smith to be a patriarch unto you, to hold the sealing blessings of my church, even the Holy Spirit of promise, whereby ye are sealed up unto the day of redemption, that ye may not fall, notwithstanding the hour of temptation that may come upon you.” D&C 107: 38
The Patriarch has no legislative functions except as he may be called upon for advise and council, by the Joint Council consisting of the Presidency, the Twelve and the Seventy.
The patriarch of the church is to keep records of all patriarchal blessings and to be an administrator in charge of the administrative affairs of the patriarchs. He is a councilor to the president of the church.
“Separate and set apart my servant Alexander Hale Smith to be a counselor to my servant, the President of the church, his brother; and to be patriarch to the church, and an evangelical minister to the whole church.” D&C 124:2
The Patriarch has no judicial function.