Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Presiding Patriarchs

I was asked the names of the various Presiding Patriarchs of the church.
First, Joseph Smith, Sr., the father of Joseph Smith.  Served from 1833 to 1840.
Second, Hyrum Smith, older brother of Joseph Smith.  Served from 1841 to 1844.
Third, William Smith, brother to Joseph Smith.  Served from May 1845 to October 1845.
There was an interval between 1845 and 1847 while the Church moved west when the office was not filled.  John Smith was called in 1847 and served until 1854.
Fifth, John Smith, who served from 1855 until 1911.
Sixth, Hyrum G. Smith, who served from 1912 until 1932.
Seventh, Joseph F. Smith II who served from 1942 to 1946.
Eighth, Eldred G. Smith who began in 1947 and still serves, although as emeritus since 1979.


  1. I don't fully understand the significance of "apostolic" lines of authority and "blood line" (patriarchal) lines of authority. Are they distinct? overlap? One more earthly than heavenly? When Peter, James, and John ordained Joseph and Oliver to the Melchizedek priesthood, I'm assuming that was by "apostolic" authority.... I don't remember...did Joseph Jr. ordain his father as patriarch? And that would be the beginning (or continuation?) of a patriarchal blood line of authority.

  2. I have since found this testimony of Heber C. Kimball (JD 5: 5 July 1857)

    "I am bearing testimony of those things that are true—things that I know and understand. And I also testify that Hyrum Smith was a Patriarch of God, and just as much so as Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob ever were. Joseph Smith the Prophet ordained his father a Patriarch, and he ordained Hyrum. The same Gospel which was preached by Jesus and by His Apostles has been delivered unto us through Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the living God; and the keys and powers pertaining to that Gospel and priesthood are now resting upon brother Brigham Young; for he is Joseph's legal successor. All the prophets from the days of Adam and from the creation of the world have conferred their priesthood and keys of this dispensation, and brother Brigham holds them in connection with the old Prophets and Apostles, and in connection with our Father and God pertaining to this earth."

  3. Here's a link that gives excellent details on who has filled the office of Presiding Patriarch. Once you go to this link you have to scroll down to 2., and 2.1 to get past the info on the Reorganized Church (Community of Christ).

  4. I've wondered about the office of the Patriarch... .... found these to add to the discussion:

    (Some feel that a great patriarch will lead the church in the last days, toward the Holy or Patriarchal Order.)

    Does D&C 113:1-6 come to mind here for anyone else?

    "And the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him [King David] and given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage." [Words of Joseph Smith (10 March 1844), 331)

    Are Joseph Smith Jr. and this coming descendant part of the royal stock of David? again D&C 113:1-6?

    "And when thy days be fulfilled and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom."(2 Samuel 7:12)

    Is there a coming descendant of Joseph Smith Jr (named David) who will yet fill the office of Patriarch? (Ezekiel 34:24)

    Can one be both the President and Patriarch at the same time? Have we had a President of the Church come close to this? (Joseph Fielding Smith comes to mind.) Or will the Patriarch to the Church eventually preside over His kingdom?

  5. I'm sure this is why Joseph told Emma who was expecting at the time of his death to make sure to name the baby "David Joseph Smith" if it was a boy. Perhaps he was thinking his child could be the fulfillment of prophecy.


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