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Patriarchal Priesthood

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Back in August, 1843 the Prophet Joseph Smith gave a sermon where he stated that there are three grand orders of priesthood (those are the words he used), one of them being the 2nd (according to Smith) known as the Patriarchal authority. Smith counseled the brethren to finish the temple first and then they will receive more knowledge with regards to this order in the Priesthood.

 

James E. Talmage also spoke about it and said that it is a condition where women shares with men the blessings of this Priesthood and where husband and wife minister "seeing and understanding alike". It is also recorded that this Priesthood and its associated powers were introduced in Nauvoo in the same year of the sermon and was conferred to the First Presidency, the Apostles and their wives.

 

Now, upon my limited research on the Patriarchal Priesthood I noticed that a few writers seem to want to make it part of the Melchizedek Priesthood? Anyone has information?

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In that same August 1843 sermon Joseph taught that another of the orders was Levitical (aka Aaronic).

 

Sometime earlier--probably before he was teaching anything about the patriarchal order--Joseph taught that "all priesthood is Melchizedek"--in other words, that the Levitical priesthood is merely a subset of the Melchizedek.  I think most LDS writers generally assume that the patriarchal priesthood, like the Aaronic, is similarly in essence a subset of the Melchizedek Priesthood. 

 

One could also conclude it from the claims of various early apostles that Joseph Smith rolled all of the keys he held off onto them; in conjunction with the later reorganization of a first presidency under Brigham Young and what D&C 107 says about the First Presidency--they are high priests, and preside by virtue of their ordinations within the Melchizedek Priesthood.  It would seem nonsensical to suggest that the presiding high priests of the LDS Church do not also control the "patriarchal priesthood" (though the ideological forefathers of the FLDS claim exactly that; and I think their claims might be a big reason why we don't talk about the "patriarchal order" very much these days and why the office of Church Patriarch has been allowed to fade away).

 

Would Joseph have structured things this way, had he lived longer?  No idea.  Honestly, I don't know that he really focused on systematizing and tying together all of the revelations he received.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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Smith declared that there were two orders of the priesthood in 1835, one being Aaronic, and one being Melchizedek (D&C 107).

 

in May of 1843, he then declared that that to enter the highest order of the celestial kingdom, one must enter into into the order of priesthood associated with the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. (D&C 131).

 

Then, in August of 1843, he made the statement about the Patriarchal order.  He was dead ten months later and never really wrote down anything more about it.  To my knowledge, it was never really discussed afterward.  In all of the turmoil of getting to Utah and establishing society, it turned into an interesting bit of trivia, but no real (public) attempt has ever been made clarify what this order entails.  

 

The interpretations have been varied over the years, and even the current Apostles aren't really agreed on what it is.  President Packer has made statements that are quite clear that it is held by men, but not by women.  But in one of last year's General Conferences, one of the Twelve (I was thinking it was Elder Andersen, but I'm having trouble finding it--time to finish up my package for text searching General Conference Talks) indicated that husbands and wives hold it jointly.  

 

I think it's fair to say "we don't know what this is."  

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Then, in August of 1843, he made the statement about the Patriarchal order.  He was dead ten months later and never really wrote down anything more about it.  To my knowledge, it was never really discussed afterward.  In all of the turmoil of getting to Utah and establishing society, it turned into an interesting bit of trivia, but no real (public) attempt has ever been made clarify what this order entails.  

 

 

What I gathered is that Temple marriage bestows the Patriarchal Priesthood to the sealing couple (both man AND woman) and is the same Priesthood Adam and Eve were blessed with before and after the fall but such Priesthood authority can only be administered inside the walls of your own home, with your family members.

 

About that talk, I think you are talking about Oaks.

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What I gathered is that Temple marriage bestows the Patriarchal Priesthood to the sealing couple (both man AND woman) and is the same Priesthood Adam and Eve were blessed with before and after the fall but such Priesthood authority can only be administered inside the walls of your own home, with your family members.

 

Interestingly enough, I think I agree with you. ;)

 

Though what that "authority" authorizes them to do should not be misunderstood or misused. It does not, for example, give the authority to baptize.

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In my studies, some of which include some of the citations included in that askgramps linked above, priesthood is an "association" if you will. Priest-hood. Adam was the first patriarch whose association with heaven and the powers of heaven came because of his ordination to this priesthood. He became a "son" of God. This association was continued through his lineage with Seth all the way down through Noah, each of whom became high priests. To have this kind of priesthood is to enjoy this association with God and the powers of heaven (God, angels, translated beings). Melchizedek had this association. So did Abraham when he desired to claim the rights pertaining to it. 

 


 

JST Genesis 14:26 Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.

 27 And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,

 28 It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;

 29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.

 30 For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;

 31 To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.

 32 And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven.

 

Furthermore,

 


 

D&C 84:17 Which priesthood continueth in the church of God in all generations, and is without beginning of days or end of years...

 

 19 And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.

 20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.

 21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;

 22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.

 23 Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;

 24 But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.

 25 Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;

 

This Priest-hood, this association, was not continued. This is also what Joseph Smith tried to do in his time, but as Moses was taken away from the Israelites, so Joseph was also taken out of the midst of the saints and they wandered in the wilderness where we wander still. Alma gave a fantastic discourse on this as well in the land of Ammonihah, ironically to a hard hearted and stiff necked people. Alma 13 is a chapter that deserves a LOT of study. 

 

Alma 13:1 And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.
 
 2 And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.
 
 3 And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works

 

The “manner” in which we must be called, if Alma is correct is in a way which will let people know or understand how to “look forward to His Son for redemption.”
 
How was Christ ordained? There is no record on earth to tell us. The Pharisees demanded to know where He obtained His authority. Remember the scripture? What did He tell them? What did He show them all during His ministry?

 

 

 

 

3 And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good worksin the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.

 

 
 4 And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren.

 

 

 

 
Called and prepared first? From the foundation of the world? Can you get it anywhere other than from on high? Is this why the power of the priesthood is inseparably connected with the powers of heaven? What have we Saints been doing? Practicing? 
 
How was it obtained first--before the foundation of the world? It was because of the foreknowledge of God. And what was God’s foreknowledge based upon? Their “exceeding faith and good works!”
 
Left to choose between good and evil? Even before Adam and Eve had partaken of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? How did they have knowledge of good and evil? How did they exercise faith? So are they (we?) being ordained to "the priesthood" for the first time while we're here in mortality?
 
Others reject the Spirit of God and, therefore, do not have this power. These others may claim to have authority, but they do not really receive power from the Spirit of God. What, then, causes someone who has a little authority “as they suppose” (they don’t really have it, you see), to attempt to use that pretense to control and dominate others?

 

 

 

 

33 How long can rolling waters remain impure? What power shall stay the heavens? As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.

 

 
 34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
 
 35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—
 
 36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
 
 37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
 
 38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.
 
 39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
 
 40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.
 
 41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
 
 42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
 
 43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
 
 44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

 

 

What did Alma know that we don't know? What was Joseph Smith continually trying to teach the saints?
 
 
Edited by skalenfehl

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Going back to Alma 13:3. There is so much there. 
 

...according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith...

 
The foreknowledge of God. A surgeon will go into the operating room with nothing less than his trusted precision instruments. A lumberjack uses tools, which are time tested and proven to clear a forest efficiently and effectively.  Christ was foreordained to be our Savior. There is no other name under heaven whereby man could be saved. Jehova possessed the power and attributes to endure what He was foreordained to do. Charity. Meekness. Humility. etc. Lead can never measure up to what only steel can endure.
 
Exceeding faith. Not just faith. Exceeding faith. How do we exercise faith? How do we exercise exceeding faith? On account of our good works? Is faith without works dead? Does exceeding faith require exceeding good works? I'm reminded of Enoch and Melchizedek. Abraham and Moses. Isaiah and Nephi. 
 

Moses 7:13 And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him.

 

Mosiah 24:16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.

 

3 Nephi 19:35 And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying he came again to the disciples, and said unto them: So great faith have I never seen among all the Jews; wherefore I could not show unto them so great miracles, because of their unbelief.

36 Verily I say unto you, there are none of them that have seen so great things as ye have seen; neither have they heard so great things as ye have heard.

 

 

3 Nephi 7:15 And it came to pass that Nephi—having been visited by angels and also the voice of the Lord, therefore having seen angels, and being eye-witness, and having had power given unto him that he might know concerning the ministry of Christ, and also being eye-witness to their quick return from righteousness unto their wickedness and abominations...

17 And he did minister many things unto them; and all of them cannot be written, and a part of them would not suffice, therefore they are not written in this book. And Nephi did minister with power and with great authority.
18 And it came to pass that they were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily.
19 And in the name of Jesus did he cast out devils and unclean spirits; and even his brother did he raise from the dead, after he had been stoned and suffered death by the people.

 

 
How does one exercise such great faith? What does it require to possess it? What kinds of works result from exceeding faith? 
 
I can only think of referring to one source in its entirety:
 

 

The Law of Sacrifice

Lecture Sixth 
 
1 Having treated, in the preceding lectures, of the ideas of the character, perfections and attributes of God, we next proceed to treat of the knowledge which persons must have, that the course of life which they pursue is according to the will of God, in order that they may be enabled to exercise faith in him unto life and salvation.
 
2 This knowledge supplies an important place in revealed religion; for it was by reason of it that the ancients were enabled to endure as seeing him who is invisible. An actual knowledge to any person that the course of life which he pursues is according to the will of God, is essentially necessary to enable him to have that confidence in God, without which no person can obtain eternal life. It was this that enabled the ancient saints to endure all their afflictions and persecutions, and to take joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing, (not believing merely,) that they had a more enduring substance (Hebrews 10:34).
 
3 Having the assurance that they were pursuing a course which was agreeable to the will of God, they were enabled to take, not only the spoiling of their goods, and the wasting of their substance, joyfully, but also to suffer death in its most horrid forms; knowing, (not merely believing,) that when this earthly house of their tabernacle was dissolved, they had a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1).
 
4 Such was and always will be the situation of the saints of God, that unless they have an actual knowledge that the course that they are pursuing is according to the will of God, they will grow weary in their minds and faint; for such has been and always will be the opposition in the hearts of unbelievers and those that know not God, against the pure and unadulterated religion of heaven, (the only thing which ensures eternal life,) that they will persecute, to the uttermost, all that worship God according to his revelations, receive the truth in the love of it, and submit themselves to be guided and directed by his will, and drive them to such extremities that nothing short of an actual knowledge of their being the favorites of heaven, and of their having embraced that order of things which God has established for the redemption of man, will enable them to exercise that confidence in him necessary for them to overcome the world, and obtain that crown of glory which is laid up for them that fear God.
 
5 For a man to lay down his all, his character and reputation, his honor and applause, his good name among men, his houses, his lands, his brothers and sisters, his wife and children, and even his own life also, counting all things but filth and dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, requires more than mere belief, or supposition that he is doing the will of God, but actual knowledge: realizing, that when these sufferings are ended he will enter into eternal rest; and be a partaker of the glory of God.
 
6 For unless a person does know that he is walking according to the will of God, it would be offering an insult to the dignity of the Creator, were he to say that he would be a partaker of his glory when he should be done with the things of this life. But when he has this knowledge, and most assuredly knows that he is doing the will of God, his confidence can be equally strong that he will be a partaker of the glory of God.
 
7 Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things: it was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things, that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has, for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice, because he seeks to do his will, he does know most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.
 
8 It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.
 
9 It was in offering sacrifices that Abel, the first martyr, obtained knowledge that he was accepted of God. And from the days of righteous Abel to the present time, the knowledge that men have that they are accepted in the sight of God, is obtained by offering sacrifice: and in the last days, before the Lord comes, he is to gather together his saints who have made a covenant with him by sacrifice. Psalms 50:3-5: Our God shall clime, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant unto me by sacrifice.
 
10 Those, then, who make the sacrifice will have the testimony that their course is pleasing in the sight of God, and those who have this testimony will have faith to lay hold on eternal life, and will be enabled, through faith, to endure unto the end, and receive the crown that is laid up for them that love the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who do not make the sacrifice cannot enjoy this faith, because men are dependent upon this sacrifice in order to obtain this faith; therefore, they cannot lay hold upon eternal life, because the revelations of God do not guarantee unto them the authority so to do; and without this guarantee faith could not exist.
 
11 All the saints of whom we have account in all the revelations of God which are extant, obtained the knowledge which they had of their acceptance in his sight, through the sacrifice which they offered unto him: and through the knowledge thus obtained, their faith became sufficiently strong to lay hold upon the promise of eternal life, and to endure us seeing him who is invisible; and were enabled, through faith, to combat the powers of darkness, contend against the wiles of the adversary, overcome the world, and obtain the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls.
 
12 But those who have not made this sacrifice to God, do not know that the course which they pursue is well pleasing in his sight; for whatever may be their belief or their opinion, it is a matter of doubt and uncertainty in their mind; and where doubt and uncertainty is, there faith is not, nor can it be. For doubt and faith do not exist in the same person at the same time. So that persons whose minds are under doubts and fears cannot have unshaken confidence, and where unshaken confidence is not, there faith is weak, and where faith is weak, the persons will not be able to contend against all the opposition, tribulations and afflictions which they will have to encounter in order to be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ Jesus; and they will grow weary in their minds, and the adversary will have power over them and destroy them.
 
Note. This lecture is so plain, and the facts set forth so self-evident, that it is deemed unnecessary to form a catechism upon it: the student is therefore instructed to commit the whole to memory.

 

 
Must we be willing to sacrifice everything? Even our own life to exercise exceeding faith? If I am willing to lay down my life in the most horrible manner, will the adversary have any kind of power over me to destroy me? And if no adversary can have any such power, is there anything that I cannot do (that isn't expedient in the Lord)? 

 

Back to JST Genesis 14-

 

26 Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.

 

 
27 And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,
 
28 It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God...
 
30 For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;
 
31 To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.
 

 

 

 
If we do not have this fullness, what have we been doing for 185 years?
Edited by skalenfehl

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It isn't too difficult now to see the stark contrast between possessing a "portion" of the priesthood and the "fullness" of the priesthood. It is one thing to "have the form of godliness" but to deny the "power thereof." This is what the Lord talked with Joseph Smith about in his first vision in the grove.

 

19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “theydraw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandmentsof men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

Edited by skalenfehl

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Furthermore, This Priest-hood, this association, was not continued. This is also what Joseph Smith tried to do in his time, but as Moses was taken away from the Israelites, so Joseph was also taken out of the midst of the saints and they wandered in the wilderness where we wander still.

I agree with much of what you write, but I would suggest/clarify that Joseph's death--while tragic--did not deprive us of any necessary priesthood keys. The fact that we only speak openly of it in most holy places, doesn't mean that it is gone from us as a church or as individuals.

Multiple apostles claimed Joseph rolled all of his keys off to them. Either a) they were telling the truth, and the Q12 still has them today; b) they were telling the truth, but the Q12 subsequently lost them; or c) they were lying usurpers and Joseph never gave them the keys at all.

I vote a). :)

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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I agree keys exist in our church. They are necessary to do important work. However, there are still keys of the mysteries of the kingdom of God and keys of the knowledge of God that we ought to possess. I mean each of us. This is what "Moses plainly taught" to everyone. This is what Joseph also tried to teach the saints. If we had ALL the keys, we'd be Zion and more. Zion is not yet redeemed and therefore, we do not have association with angels, with translated beings and with God. We would necessarily be as Enoch--translated. Alas, we still wander in the wilderness, as it were. There are greater keys, still, such as the keys of resurrection. But that is almost another topic alone.

Edited by skalenfehl

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Agreed; I just think its important not to fall into the trap of thinking that we are somehow spiritually stunted because the modern LDS leadership supposedly lacks some of the keys that Joseph held.

The record is clear--Joseph stands unique as head of this dispensation; but otherwise, whatever keys he held the modern LDS leadership also holds. If we don't attain the fullness of which you speak, we have only ourselves to blame.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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I think about this every day. It is something that has been on my mind now for years. I used to study the scriptures regularly, but today I ponder them deeply almost all day long and pray about a lot of what the Spirit has taught me. At this point in time, all we can do is rise up individually. Prepare ourselves and help each other prepare. There are so many things to distract us, though. I'm thankful for forums like this one where we can come together and talk about these things and help each other grow. This is a very excellent topic. I still study the scriptures regularly, but where regularly used to be a chapter or so a day, today it is hours per day, even books. 

 

 

 

16 Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.

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