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.”
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.
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.
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.)
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/
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.
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.
Christ’s great victory was won by this simple formula: “He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them.” (D&C 20: 22.)
High School baseball begins today. Hope it doesn’t snow.
Yesterday at lunch I heard a great line from the Maharaja: “Reincarnation is only for the ignorant.” Made me laugh.