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Dear Gramps,

A little while ago in High Priests lesson time, we spoke about families. It was mentioned in general terms about the “patriarch of the home” and I mentioned that this title was something that could only be used when a man had been sealed to his wife in the temple. A man would be head of the home, but not patriarch if this had not been done. A number of brethren in class said they doubted that this was correct.

Your guidance please and many thanks.





Dear David,

There are two general applications or functions of the higher priesthood. One is the apostolic function and the other is the patriarchal function. The word apostolos in the Greek, from which the word apostle was translated, means to send away. This is consistent with the scripture in D&C 107:23,

The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.

Home teachers exercise the apostolic function of their priesthood when they do their home teaching, as do all other officers who function in the wards and stakes.

The patriarchal function of the higher priesthood refers to the use of the priesthood in the home. So any Melchizedek Priesthood bearer who presides over a home is exercising the patriarchal function of his priesthood, and is the patriarch of the home. This concept is confirmed by the remarks of President Ezra Taft Benson in an address given at the priesthood session of General Conference, 3 October 1987, wherein he said,

As the patriarch in your home, you have a serious responsibility to assume leadership in working with your children. You must help create a home where the Spirit of the Lord can abide. Your place is to give direction to all family life. You should take an active part in establishing family rules and discipline.






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