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- Fathers of families
- The prophet leaders of ancient times
- An ordained office in the Melchizedek Priesthood, sometimes called an evangelist
Fathers are the patriarchs of their families and have the authority and duty to give blessings to their children by the laying on of hands, similar to blessings recorded in the Book of Genesis as given by those patriarchs to their children. As the head of the family a father is entitled to receive revelation for his family.
Ordained patriarchs give special blessings, called Patriarchal Blessings, to worthy members of the Church. A patriarch is given special prophetic insight that allows him to give blessings which speak of a person's future life as well as premortal life. A Patriarchal Blessing also reveals to the worthy member his lineage among the twelve tribes of Israel. The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “An Evangelist is a Patriarch. …Wherever the Church of Christ is established in the earth, there should be a Patriarch for the benefit of the posterity of the Saints, as it was with Jacob in giving his patriarchal blessing unto his sons" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 151). The ordination of a Stake patriarch is carefully considered. A stake president submits a name to the Twelve Apostles, and they carefully and prayerfully consider that person. The patriarch is then sustained (voted for by the members) in stake conference, and ordained. A stake patriarch serves in this capacity for life, or until his health prevents him from fulfilling his duties.
There is also an office of Patriarch to the Church.
Elder Boyd K. Packer, an Apostle of the Mormon Church, explained a patriarch's role in giving blessings:
- In giving a blessing the patriarch may declare our lineage—that is, that we are of Israel, therefore of the family of Abraham, and of a specific tribe of Jacob. In the great majority of cases, Latter-day Saints are of the tribe of Ephraim, the tribe to which has been committed the leadership of the Latter-day work. Whether this lineage is of blood or adoption does not matter (Pearl of Great Price, Abraham, 2:10). This is very important, for it is through the lineage of Abraham alone that the mighty blessings of the Lord for His children on earth are to be consummated (Genesis 12:2, 3; Pearl of Great Price, Abraham 2:11).
- Then, the patriarch, looking into the future, enumerates the blessings and promises, some special, others general, to which the person of the proper lineage … is entitled; and through his authority seals them upon him, so that they may be his forever through faithfulness" .