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Posted by the moderator (she thinks it important)

I think this is interesting history.  I should like to know more of this kind of thing.
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Joseph Smith, by revelation, established two presiding offices: The President of the High Priesthood and the Patriarch of the Church.  The President (Joseph Smith) presided.  But the Patriarch stood by with keys to ordain the next President and provide for orderly transition from one President to the next.

The Patriarchal office is by lineage or descent.  That way it cannot be stolen by an interloper; thereby creating a separation of power inside the one Church (or kingdom).

Joseph became President through divine ordination by the Lord and messengers sent by the Lord.

Brigham Young was sustained as President, relying upon his ordination as an Apostle.

John Taylor was also sustained, relying also upon his ordination as an Apostle.

These precedents were relied upon through Joseph F. Smith, who had an ordinance/ordination accompany his assumption of the office of President of the Church.  That ordination was performed by his half-brother, John Smith, the Patriarch of the Church.

Heber J. Grant was conflicted about the Patriarch because he considered himself a descendant of Joseph Smith by sealing and the Patriarch was competition to that; and therefore he did not want the Patriarch to ordain him president.  He had the Twelve ordain him.  He also initiated the name change from “Presiding Patriarch” to “Patriarch to the Church.”

Heber J. Grant’s practice continued thereafter.

Interestingly the term “Prophet” was not applied to a living man holding the office of “President of the Church” until 1955, during the administration of David O. McKay.  The term “Prophet” until that time always meant exclusively Joseph Smith, and not the office holder of President.  Before then it was “President Young” and “President Taylor” and “President Woodruff” and so on.  However, in 1955 the Church News began a new practice of referring to the living President McKay as a “Prophet.”  It was felt that changing the reference to the living President would result in quicker acceptance of direction from him, and less criticism of the President.  (President Grant was the most unpopular Church President in the Church’s history, and that was something they hoped to avoid happening again.)  It worked.  No-one wants to reject counsel from a living prophet of God.  

So since that time the practice has been for living Presidents to continue to be referred to by the title “Prophet” by all General Authorities and other leaders.  However, I have noticed that the President never refers to himself as “Prophet” in any declaration I have been able to find.  He accepts that term as used by others, but does not apply it to himself.

The recorded times when a Church President was asked if he was “a Prophet” include testimony by Joseph F. Smith when asked by the Senate Committee in the hearings to seat Senator Smoot.  His response was “my people sustain me as such.”  President McKay was asked by a reporter and his response was “look me in the eye and tell me I’m not a prophet.”  President Lee essentially repeated the same response to a reporter as President McKay.  And when he was interviewed by the Press President Hinckley essentially repeated Joseph F. Smith’s response, saying in effect: “I’m sustained by the Church as such.”  There may be others, but those are the ones I recall at the moment.

All of which is, I suppose, interesting history.  I of course, sustain as “prophets, seers and revelators” the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve every Ward Conference, Stake Conference, General Conference and temple recommend interview.

It’s YOUR eternal salvation

When it comes to the subject of one’s eternal salvation, I can’t understand why someone would simply trust others and leave it to them to tell them what is necessary. I should think everyone would study this matter night and day, and reach their own conclusion about what is important, what is not, what will save, and what is simply foolishness.

Joseph said he advised all to go on and search deeper and deeper into the mysteries of God. Alma said about the same thing in Alma 12: 9-11.

When it comes to sacred knowledge, the absence of curiosity and relentless inquiry is evidence of apathy and indifference. Joseph posed the question in the Lectures on Faith of how we can hope to inherit the same reward as the ancients without following the same path as they did. Great question, that. Brings to mind Abraham’s description of his own relentless search to find God in Abraham 1: 2. I think that is the formula. As is also D&C 93: 1.

Judgment

Since the Lord reserves to Himself alone the final judgment (3 Ne. 27: 27) I think we overstep our privileges when we presume our judgment of others is our right.  In fact, the irony of judging while holding priesthood office is that the one judging may be the one really on trial.  They hold office, are given “keys” and are upheld by other saints to see whether they will execute the assignment in conformity with D&C 121, using gentleness, meekness, persuasion, kindness and love unfeigned.  If they don’t, they fail the test, and in the process establish the criteria and means by which they will be judged.

Ironically, the one judging is the one really on trial, and the one being judged will be a witness against (or for) them.

Things are different than we think.  And that is as it should be.  Otherwise the hearts of men could not be put on display here in this life, and the proving that this estate was designed to accomplish would fail.

We should be afraid to hold office over others.  We should have pity or compassion for those who are called to these positions.  Instead, we envy those who hold offices in the church. Nephi counseled against this.  (2 Ne. 26: 21.) 

Now is the great day of deception when darkness covers so much of the social order that madness reigns.  If you just turned the light on and saw our day as clearly as Nephi did you’d marvel at the abundant foolishness, vanity and errors we entertain.  To do that you only need to read what Nephi wrote and realize he’s talking to and about US; not those who will never read the book.

We’re being tested.  More importantly, I’m being tested.  So I need to “work out my salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord” just as Paul suggested.  (Philip. 2: 12.)

Do we have a guarantee?

I’ve been thinking about the “guarantee” we have as Latter-day Saints that God takes peculiar delight in us.  We’re His “chosen” and He looks down from heaven and grins broadly when He considers our enlightened advantage over our fellowman.  I’m not sure I can reconcile that happy view of our circumstances with His frank assessment of us in D&C 112: 23-26.

I’m thinking that the first order of the day for me is repentance.

Patriarch

When I first joined the church we sustained the Patriarch of the Church, along with the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve as a “Prophet, Seer and Revelator.”  I would expect that at some point Patriarch Smith will be succeeded by his oldest, direct, descendant, unless there is still a living sibling of his upon whom the office would devolve (which I doubt).
 
When the office was established, it formed an independent line of priesthood authority. This line was not be dependent upon selection by temporary office holders drawn from many family lines.  Instead the Smith family, through whom the church was restored, would hold this hereditary office forever.  It will be interesting to see how this office is handled in the future.

Seriously

There’s an article which estimates that 16% of the population (teens to 49 yrs.) of the United States has genital herpes.  You can read it here:http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN0923528620100309

 
Now there’s an advertisement for the law of chastity….
or anti-itch Gold Bond…
or a wire hair brush to scratch with….
 
The woman/man has not been born who is worth forfeiting what is lost by breaking covenants with the Lord.

Powerful doctrines

I’ve been reading Alma’s teachings on priesthood in Alma 13.  There are some startling things in there.  We underestimate the depth of doctrine preserved in the Book of Mormon.  Pre-earth life is unmistakably taught there. 
 
Ordination to the high priesthood reckons from before the foundation of the earth.  Power in that priesthood is derived from heaven (as D&C 121 teaches). 

These powerful doctrines are not even imagined by other faiths or traditions.  Among us it is hardly understood, and we possess the scriptures that teach it.

Patriarch Smith

The Patriarch of the Church is Eldred G. Smith, now aged 103 years.  His office used to ordain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints using the hereditary priesthood line running back to Father Smith, Joseph and Hyrum.  
Eldred G. Smith was made Emeritus in 1979, but continues to have an office in the Church Office Building.

a little leaven

Sometimes it is the thinnest of threads which keeps a people from judgment.  A “little leaven” or a “little salt” can save a whole lump.  The want of “five righteous” has and can destroy a whole city.  When you consider so thin a thread as that, you must surely realize there are no private sins.  Each life has cosmic meaning.