Patriarch 

Summary

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office with the authority to give inspired blessings, similar to the practice of Old Testament patriarchs.1 JS occasionally referred to patriarchs as “evangelical ministers” or “evangelists.”2 Joseph Smith Sr. was ordained as patriarch of the church in December 1834 and soon began giving blessings to family members and the fatherless.3 By 1835, Joseph Smith Sr. periodically organized public “blessing meetings ” to administer individual patriarchal blessings to members of the church generally.4 In 1836, he began traveling to branches of the church outside Kirtland, Ohio, giving patriarchal blessings to many members along the way.5 Hyrum Smith was ordained as church patriarch by Joseph Smith Sr. in September 1840 and was confirmed by a 19 January 1841 revelation, filling the office based on lineal descent according to earlier instructions.6 A few additional patriarchs were appointed during JS’s lifetime.7 Many of the blessings given by patriarchs were recorded and preserved as church records.8