The Patriarchal Order
The Patriarchal Order of the Priesthood
When couples kneel across the altars of the temples from each other, they are initially and conditionally admitted to the patriarchal order of the priesthood known as the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. The name of this priesthood order should be obvious because patriarch means father. There are no fathers without mothers. In this way couples receive their formative lessons in Godhood and take the first step toward returning to full fellowship with God. If they continue in faithfulness they receive all the promises of righteous marriage sealed by the priesthood keys of authority:
In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; and in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; and if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase. (D&C 131:1-4).
Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.
For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever. (D&C 132:16-17).
It is written of those who do enter into the patriarchal order and faithfully keep all the laws, rites and ordinances pertaining thereto:
. . .they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.
Then shall they be gods, because they have no end.
. . .strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it.
. . .This is eternal lives. . . (D&C 132:19-24).
Exaltation is nothing less than the fullness and continuation of the seeds of procreation forever and ever. The continuation of lives has no end, even eternal lives. Exaltation requires eternal parenthood, eternal parenthood requires eternal marriage.
The house of the Lord is a house of order and not a house of confusion; and that means, that the man is not without the woman in the Lord, neither is the woman without the man in the Lord; and that no man can be saved and exalted in the kingdom of God, without the woman, and no woman can reach the perfection and exaltation in the kingdom of God, alone. That is what it means. God instituted marriage in the beginning, he made man in his own image and likeness, male and female, and in their creation it was designed that they should be united together in sacred bonds of marriage, and one is not perfect without the other.
Furthermore, it means that there is no union for time and eternity that can be consummated outside of the law of God, and the order of his house. Men may desire it, they may go through the form of it in this life, but it will be of non effect except it be done and sanctioned by divine authority, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. (CR, April 1913, 118-19).
It is important to understand that those who enter the new and everlasting covenant of marriage are not covenanting to keep the commandments in general. They have already made those covenants in the waters of baptism. When entering the order of marriage, the bride’s and groom’s promises are much more specific; they promise to keep laws, rites and ordinances that pertain to marriage, the patriarchal order of the priesthood.
There is nothing that will ever come into your family life that is as important as the sealing blessings of the temple and then keeping the covenants made in connection with this order of celestial marriage. (Ensign, July 1972, 27).
Obviously, we must take such sacred promises seriously and think deeply and honestly about their meaning and import. What are the laws, rites and ordinances of marriage?
The first marriage was performed by God when he joined Adam and Eve together. (See Genesis 2:20-24). Note that Eve is called Adam’s “wife.” This was an eternal marriage, as they were both infinite and eternal beings at the time.
The Law of Marriage
What was the great commandment or law given to Adam and Eve? (See Genesis 1:26-27). It was to “multiply and replenish.” The word “replenish” should be translated “fill.” (See Genesis 1:28, footnote “c;” note also verse 22 where the same Hebrew verb is used interchangeably).
God commanded them to multiply. This law applies to all who enter the order of marriage. This is the first and great law of marriage -- we are commanded to multiply and fill the earth, that the man and the woman might have joy in their posterity.
I can assure that the greatest responsibility and the greatest joys in life are centered in the family, honorable marriage, and rearing a righteous posterity. (Ensign, May 1988, 52).
The Rite of Marriage
What is the rite or ritual that applies to marriage? How do we fulfill the law to multiply? By what ritual do we multiply? What rite must we perform to keep this law? It is the rite or ritual of “sexual union,” or “the passing of the seed.” While sexual union between a man and a woman can be accomplished outside the bounds of marriage, sexual relations between unmarried people are forbidden. Furthermore, we understand God eternally accepts and ratifies only an eternal marriage when men, women and children are sealed by his authority, and only they will continue to retain the priesthood power of the seeds forever if they remain faithful. (See D&C 132:15-24).
The only way, then, to keep the law of marriage is to perform the rite (or the ritual) pertaining to this law. It is a “rite of passage,” the passing of the seed from the male priest to the female priestess by means of a holy sexual union. These are very sacred principles, authorized and ordained of God for the exaltation of his children.
We do not raise children just to please our vanity. We bring children into the world to become kings and queens, and priests and priestesses for our Lord. (In General Conference Report, Buenos Aires Area Conference 1975, 26).
That mankind has desecrated and changed these principles does not diminish their sacred nature in the eyes of God. This is the reason sexual sins are so serious. People who disregard these spiritual truths associated with the sexuality of God’s children are tampering with holy and sacred priesthood powers designed for authorized priests and priestesses within the patriarchal order of the priesthood. Outside the bonds of holy matrimony sexual relations are an abomination in the sight of God. Along with the sin of murder sexual sins comprise the most egregious sins of all. The giving and the taking of life must be accomplished in the ways God ordains. Life and light are his domain. To tamper with the very powers of life is to trifle with God’s powers. (See Alma 39:5). Furthermore, only within the new and everlasting covenant of marriage will the familial relationships formed by marriage and sexual union here on earth stand in the eternities. God recognizes no other. (See D&C 132).
The Ordinance of Marriage
Now a word about the ordinance we covenant to observe and obey in this order of marriage. The law is to multiply by the rite of holy sexual union to form a living soul, so the ordinance associated with marriage should be obvious.
Earlier we referred to an incident in which a promise was given by the spirit to a sister during a priesthood blessing that she would fulfill the mission of bringing her child into the world. Bearing children is the priesthood mission of every priestess in the patriarchal order of the priesthood. This is a power men do not have and a mission they cannot undertake. What an incredible privilege to possess the power to organize and bestow a living temple upon a child of God.
Mothers have a sacred role. They are partners with God, as well as with their own husbands, first in giving birth to the Lord’s spirit children, and then in rearing those children so they will serve the Lord and keep his commandments. Could there be a more sacred trust than to be a trustee for honorable, well-born, well-developed children? (TSWK, 326).
The daughters of Zion who intentionally avoid this mission or perform it half-way, arbitrarily limiting their posterity for the sake of convenience and/or half-heartedly performing their monumental roles as mothers, are no different than the sons of God in the Church who choose to be disobedient or slothful in their duties as priesthood holders.
How will those feel who fail to obey that first great command when they stand in the presence of the creator, who says to them, as He said to those of olden times, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” How can they comply with that invitation if they have no children to take to the Father? They must remain childless throughout eternity. They have been blind to their rights and privileges. It is only by a proper understanding of the laws of God, and by compliance with the gospel of Jesus Christ, only by doing what the Lord has said we should do, that we will enjoy the fulness of happiness that our Father in Heaven has promised those who are faithful I do not feel to censure, but with all my heart I pity the man and woman who grace their home with the lesser animals of God’s creation, and keep away from firesides those angels from His presence who might be theirs through time and through all eternity. I realize there are some men and women who are grieved because they are not fathers and mothers, they are not blessed of the Lord in that particular, they have no children of their own, and by no fault of their own. I believe the Lord will provide in such cases. If they will do their duty in keeping the other commandments, their reproach will be taken away. I raise my voice among the sons and daughters of Zion, and warn you that if you dry up the springs of life and abuse the power that God has blessed you with, there will come a time of chastening to you, that all the tears you may shed will never remove. Remember the first great commandment; fulfill that obligation. (CR, October 1907, 38).
If the responsibilities of parenthood are willfully avoided here, then how can the Lord bestow upon the guilty the blessings of eternal increase? It cannot be, and they shall be denied such blessings. (The Way to Perfection, 239).
There are multitudes of pure and holy spirits waiting to take tabernacles, now what is our duty? -- To prepare tabernacles for them; to take a course that will not tend to drive those spirits into the families of the wicked, where they will be trained in wickedness, debauchery, and every species of crime. It is the duty of every righteous man and women to prepare tabernacles for all the spirits they can. (Discourses of Brigham Young, John A. Widstoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941], 197).
The daughters of God are under covenant just as much as the sons of God to keep his commandments, and to diligently perform their assigned duties on earth. The Doctrine and Covenants says the daughters of God are given in marriage to the sons of God
. . . to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfill the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified. (D&C 132:63).
God’s work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (See Moses 1:39). He cannot bring to pass the immortality of man if his mortal daughters thwart the work of bringing to pass the mortality of man. This is not an idle cliché we hear frequently in the Church, nor has the doctrine been outdated by the current conditions of a godless society. The prophets have consistently laid stress on our part of the work and glory of God.
There is a passage in our Scriptures which the Latter-day Saints accept as divine: “This is the glory of God -- to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Likewise we could say that this is the glory of men and women -- to bring to pass the mortality of sons and daughters of God, to give earth-life to the waiting children of our Father. . . The greatest mission of woman is to give life, earth-life, through honorable marriage, to the waiting spirits, our Father’s spirit children who anxiously desire to come to dwell here in this mortal state. All the honor and glory that can come to men or women by the development of their talents, the homage and the praise they may receive from an applauding world, worshipping at their shrine of genius, is but a dim thing whose luster shall fade in comparison to the high honor, the eternal glory, the ever-enduring happiness that shall come to the woman who fulfills the first great duty and mission that devolves upon her to become the mother of the sons and daughters of God. The jewels in her crown, the stars that still glisten in her diadem, in time and in eternity, shall be the sons and the daughters to whom, through the blessing of the Lord, she has been instrumental in not only giving earth-life, but in bringing them, through care and devotion and faithfulness, into the paths that God has appointed for his children to follow. . .
I grant you that there are many who approach the great responsibility of motherhood with fear and timidity, because of its dangers to the physical life of the mother, because of its pain its sorrow and its distress; but in the very nature of things, if God should lighten the burdens, the sorrow, and the pain of child-bearing, he would endanger the enduring love of the mother for her children. There is nothing worthwhile we obtain unless we pay the price for it. That which is given to us freely, we consider of little value, and so, because a mother goes into the valley of death, lays her life upon the altar to bring life into the world, and because through the rearing of the children who come to her, she spends many sleepless nights, denies herself the personal pleasures of life, devotes herself with patience and care and strength almost more than she has, to the welfare of her children -- this is what makes her love them. For where her treasure is, there her heart is, and the greatest treasure a woman has she gives in her service, her life itself. (Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin J. Ballard, 203-4).
The prophets have been consistently clear on this important issue throughout the entire dispensation. They have taught, counseled and warned the saints these truths have eternal ramifications, and that the saints will regret the day if they are slothful in these supernal duties to God. Joseph Smith prophesied “the day would come when none but the women of the Latter-day Saints would be willing to bear children,” and his words are sadly coming to pass. (See Joseph Smith The Prophet, Truman G. Madsen, 39).
No matter how unpopular or inconvenient it may become, the priest and priestess must be diligent in their several duties, if the couple is to obtain the exaltation the Lord has promised those who keep the laws, rites and ordinances of marriage. These solemn promises and covenants are most sacred.
Equality Between the Roles of Mothers and Fathers
This observation on the patriarchal laws, rites and ordinances may be useful in illustrating the perfect equality in our separate roles as mothers and fathers. Who keeps the law of this order of the priesthood, the priest or the priestess? Both of them multiply and replenish. Who keeps or performs the rite of this order of the priesthood, the priest or the priestess? Both of them perform the rite. Who keeps or performs the ordinance of this order of the priesthood, the priest or the priestess? The first time this ordinance of birth is performed it is accomplished only by the priestess. The second time this ordinance of “re”birth is performed it is accomplished only by the priest.
Remember, all mankind (all men, women, and children) must be born twice -- or “born again” -- to enter into eternal life. The first birth is physical and is performed only by the priestess. The second birth is spiritual (born of the spirit) and is performed only by the priest (baptism of water and of fire or spirit). Both are ultimately essential.
Thus, the ordinance of birth is really performed in two steps -- first by the priestess, then by the priest. Please note, when the mother performs the first birth the man sits helplessly by as an interested observer. While he participated in the passing of the seeds, he does not participate in the first birth except to exercise his faith and prayers (and maybe some "coaching" if he has trained himself as a "doula.") Similarly, as he performs the baptism and confirmation of the second birth the roles reverse and she becomes the silent observer exercising her faith and prayers.
In both births the three fundamental elements of birth are present: The water, the blood and the spirit:
That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;
For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified. (Moses 6:59-60).
This truth is self-evident -- the mother and father are equals -- peers, as priest and priestess. Both are honored with important and companion roles in these priestly duties. We are each equal and unique parts of one wonderful synergistic whole with different assigned tasks and capacities to balance our work in the glorious process of developing an eternal union and an eternal family kingdom to make us “God” in the eternities.
President Harold B. Lee emphasized the teaching of a former prophet in these words:
The patriarchal order is the order of “fathers” and “mothers.” Only in this order can we multiply and fill other worlds with our posterity. Other beings do not reside as couples and families in eternity, and do not have the power of the seeds (the power to increase) with the attendant parental responsibilities, worlds without end. (See D&C 132:17-17).
. . . there will be changes in the bodies and limitations. They will not have the power of increase, neither the power or nature to live as husbands and wives, for this will be denied them and they cannot increase. . . Some of the functions in the celestial body will not appear in the Terrestrial body, neither in the Telestial body, and the power of procreation will be removed. (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:287).
President Smith says not only the power will be taken, but the nature also. This makes perfect sense because puberty is a package. The nature and power come hand in hand and are inextricably linked together. Little children’s bodies do not have the power to reproduce. They do not have the sexual desire (or nature) to perform sexual acts. When they grow older they not only get the nature (desire) but also the power. When we get the power we get the nature. When we lose the power we lose the nature.
Only in honoring our marital covenants by faithfully keeping these sacred laws, rites and ordinances in the new and everlasting covenant of marriage will the powers and blessings of the fullness of the priesthood become ours.
We must understand that only in keeping these sacred laws, rites and ordinances explicitly linked to the order of marriage do we honor our sealing covenants. To arbitrarily abstain from, defer or limit our procreative and parental privileges and responsibilities is to reject in our hearts and by our works what we have solemnly promised with our lips. We must recognize that if we were to do this we would be “making a mock of that which [is] sacred,” and thereby risk losing these priceless powers forever. (See Helaman 4:12).
We declare it is a grievous sin before God to adopt restrictive measures in disobedience to God’s divine command from the beginning of time to “multiply and replenish the earth.” Surely those who project such measures to prevent life or to destroy life before or after birth will reap the whirlwind of God’s retribution, for God will not be mocked. (CR, Oct. 1972, 63; or Ensign, Jan. 1973, 62).