Priesthood Pattern of Seven
by John P. Pratt (31 March 2011)
©2011 by John P. Pratt. All rights Reserved.
|1. Pattern of Seven|
|2. Seven Angels|
|3. Seventh Member|
|4. Patriarchal Priesthood|
The Lord’s Church was restored according to eternal patterns and order. The first seven members of the Church seem to fit the same Pattern of Seven as do the seven chief angels.
The Lord’s restored church was born on Tue 6 Apr 1830. At the time of its founding it had six members, and more were baptized that same day after the organizational meeting. The first person baptized that day, when added to the ordered list of the original six, fits a very interesting pattern. Let us consider what has been proposed to be the Pattern of the Seven which applies to the chief angels of the Lord. It is apparently a priesthood pattern. The manner in which the first seven members of the Church fit that pattern is discussed, along with the Melchizedek and Patriarchal Priesthoods.
1. Pattern of Seven
The pattern that has been proposed for the duties of the seven chief angels of God is that the first four form a “presidency” over the spiritual and the bottom four over the physical. The first four are listed in order downward with #1 as President, #2 as First Counselor, #3 as Second Counselor and #4 as Secretary (see illustration). The bottom four are in order from bottom to top with the President at the bottom, listed as #7. His First Counselor is #6, the Second Counselor is #5, and he shares the same secretary #4.
These seven work together as a team, just like the spiritual and physical parts of any living being. The two presidents are not quite equal in authority because there is always one who must preside over all. In this pattern, it is the last who is first. That is, it is #7 which presides over the other 6. This part of the pattern is included in the scriptures. There is a priesthood Quorum of Seventy, and it has seven presidents. It is explicitly stated that the seventh presides over the other six (D&C 107:94). Thus, this pattern appears to be a priesthood pattern.
2. The Seven Angels
Now let us see how this pattern works with those who have been proposed to be the seven chief angels. Looking at the table below, we see under the “Angel” column that the first four names constitute a presidency of the Kingdom of Heaven, where Peter holds the keys of the Celestial Kingdom, Moses is the counselor over the Terrestrial, and Abel over the Telestial. Enoch is their scribe and executive secretary.
|2. First Counselor||Moses|
|3. Second Counselor||Abel|
|5. Second Counselor||Joseph Smith|
|6. First Counselor||Noah|
Then, counting upward from the bottom, the pattern is that it should form a presidency over the physical. Here we see Adam is in the President’s slot, #7. Following the order of the pattern, Adam presides over not only the bottom four, but over all the other six, as is explicitly stated in scripture (D&C 88:112). Adam is the President of the Family of the Earth. Note that one of his main roles is that of being Father Adam, that is, he is the Patriarch of the entire human family. This seems to be part of the reason he is the president of the “physical” half of team. He is physically the father of all. He has a first counselor over the eastern hemisphere (Noah) and a second counselor over the Western Hemisphere (Joseph Smith). Enoch is his scribe (D&C 107:56-57). Now let us look at how the first seven members of the Church fit this pattern.
3. The Seventh Member
There were six baptized members when the Church was organized. The records indicate that the seventh member, and the first to be baptized after the birth of the Church, was none other than Joseph Smith, Sr., the Prophet’s father. He was baptized later on the same day that the Church was organized, Tue 6 Apr 1830. All of the first 38 members are known with the exception of one or two, along with the date of their baptisms and who performed the ordinance.
Now let us look at how these first seven members of the church seem to fit the same pattern as the seven chief angels of God. They are listed in the order of their baptisms. The only exception is that Joseph Smith, Jr., is listed at the top, even though he baptized Oliver Cowdery first, because the Lord designated him as the “First Elder” of the Church (D&C 20:2).
|1. Joseph Smith, Jr.||President||Peter|
|2. Oliver Cowdery||Assistant President||Moses|
|3. Samuel H. Smith||Witness||Abel|
|4. Hyrum Smith||Asst. Pres. and Patriarch||Enoch|
|5. David Whitmer||Witness||Joseph Smith|
|6. Peter Whitmer, Jr.||Witness||Noah|
|7. Joseph Smith, Sr.||Patriarch||Adam|
Look at the first column of this table of the first seven members and notice how it fits the same pattern very well.
Those first four on the list were cornerstone members present at the founding of the Church. They were all indeed key foundational stones of the “spiritual” structure of the Church. Joseph was the President of the Church and Oliver was the first Assistant President. Later Hyrum filled that position until his death. The first slot is for the President of the Church, who is also the President of the High Priesthood. The High Priesthood, also called the Melchizedek Priesthood, is the “spiritual” priesthood of the Church. That is the priesthood that Peter, along with his counselors James and John, restored to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, giving them the authority of an apostle and the keys to organize the Church. Thus, it appears that the top slots are closely related to the Melchizedek Priesthood and the governing of the Church.
Before looking at the bottom four, you need to know that Joseph Smith, Sr., the father of the Prophet, was called by the Lord to be the first Presiding Patriarch to his Church. The Patriarchal Priesthood is discussed somewhat below, but the principal point here is that it is the same priesthood headed up by Adam, which was also the priesthood of the Old Testament “Patriarchs” such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In a sense it is a “physical” priesthood because it is handed down from father to son according to the physical family lineage of the priesthood holders.
Now look at the bottom four of the seven, considering Joseph Smith, Sr., as presiding over the “physical” Patriarchal Priesthood. Note that Father Smith is in the same slot as Father Adam. Both head the Patriarchal Priesthoods. Moreover, Adam was the first man in the newborn world and Joseph Smith, Sr., was the first member baptized after the birth of the newly born Church.
As currently understood, a Patriarch has no counselors, so David and Peter are apparently only filling slots in this comparison. The key point is that, at his death, Hyrum in the fourth position was both an Assistant President to President Joseph Smith Sr., and he was also the second Presiding Patriarch of the Church, succeeding his father. So position #4 is indeed shared between both the Presidency of the Church presided over by Joseph Smith, Jr., and the Patriarchal Priesthood presided over by Joseph Smith, Sr. It is this sharing of the fourth position that is the trademark of the Pattern of Seven. It has been unique in Church history that one man held two such high offices as Hyrum Smith did. His calling to the double role in this priesthood pattern explains it.
This pattern of the first seven Church members matching so well the pattern of the seven chief angels is a witness both of the Lord’s hand in inspiring even the order of the first baptisms, and also of the importance of the Patriarchal Priesthood and its interaction with the Melchizedek Priesthood.
4. The Patriarchal Priesthood
The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that there are really three great orders of priesthood. In addition to the Aaronic and Melchizedek, there is the Patriarchal Priesthood (TPJS, p. 322-323). He also explained that not much has been revealed about it. The principal duty traditionally associated with it is the bestowing of Patriarchal Blessings. The Patriarchal Priesthood is included in the higher Melchizedek priesthood, but is passed down from father to son. The Aaronic Priesthood in Old Testament times was also a priesthood which was physically passed down from father to son. In that sense, both are “physical” priesthoods.
As stated above, Father Smith was called by the Lord to be the first Patriarch to his Church. That priesthood office continued in the Church when Joseph Smith, Sr., ordained his son Hyrum to the same office according to the proper order. At Father Smith’s death, Hyrum became the Presiding Patriarch. Hyrum was martyred before his young son John was ordained, but after a couple of interim Presiding Patriarchs filled the office until young John Smith matured, the lineal order was recommenced when President Brigham Young ordained Hyrum’s oldest son John to be the Presiding Patriarch. President Young’s actions followed the order established by the Prophet Joseph Smith who ordained the first Presiding Patriarch. Thereafter, following the example of the Prophet Joseph Smith, in the cases where the Presiding Patriarch died before ordaining his son to be the next in succession, the new Patriarch has been ordained by the President of the Church. The last Church Patriarch ordained was John Smith’s great-grandson Eldred G. Smith, who is still alive today at age 104. He still keeps weekly office hours at the LDS Church Office Building where he continues to give patriarchal blessings.
The restoration of the Lord’s Church adhered to strict protocols of priesthood and ordinances. Even the order of baptism of the first seven members seems to reflect the divine order of the seven chief angels that is called the Pattern of Seven in this article. This precise order in all things in the Church testifies that the true Church of Jesus Christ was indeed restored according to eternal patterns and the ancient order. Moreover, it witnesses of the importance of the both the Melchizedek and Patriarchal Priesthoods and of their interaction.
- Pratt, John P., “Seven Trumpets“, Meridian Magazine (27 Aug 2002), Sec. 2 has a derivation of just who the seven chief angels are. The duties of the seven as constituting two presidencies back to back are summarized in “Constellations Testify of Seven Angels“, Meridian Magazine (28 Sep 2006), Sec. 2.
- Apparently there is similar pattern in the seven chakras of the body, with the upper four being spiritual, the lower four physical, the heart being shared by both.
- A careful count of members done at the 26 Sep 1830 conference of the Church allows one to compile a complete list of members up until that time, with only one or two missing (DHC I:77 footnote). Here is a table of my best listing of the first 38 members, with nearly every name taken from the DHC. The inclusion of Solomon Chamberlain is from his own journal, where he is said to state that Joseph Smith personally baptized him in Seneca Lake a few days after April 6, 1830. John Whitmer’s baptism date is not known to me, but it was not before 6 Apr 1830 nor after 9 Jun 1830 when he was sustained as an elder. There has also been confusion about when Porter Rockwell was baptized, which is clarified in the table. Only name #26 is unknown. Joseph is listed as #1 at the Lord’s direction.
Name Date Baptized by 1. Joseph Smith, Jr. 15 May 1829 Oliver 2. Oliver Cowdery 15 May 1829 Joseph 3. Samuel H. Smith 25 May 1829 Oliver 4. Hyrum Smith June 1829 Joseph 5. David Whitmer June 1829 Joseph 6. Peter Whitmer, Jr. June 1829 Oliver 7. Joseph Smith, Sr. 6 Apr 1830 Oliver 8. Martin Harris 6 Apr 1830 Oliver 9. Lucy Mack Smith 8 Apr 1830 Joseph 10. Sarah Witt Rockwell 8 Apr 1830 Joseph 11. Hiram Page 11 Apr 1830 Oliver 12. Catherine Whitmer Page 11 Apr 1830 Oliver 13. Christian Whitmer 11 Apr 1830 Oliver 14. Anne Schott Whitmer 11 Apr 1830 Oliver 15. Jacob Whitmer 11 Apr 1830 Oliver 16. Elizabeth Schott Whitmer 11 Apr 1830 Oliver 17. John Whitmer? 11 Apr 1830? Oliver 18. Solomon Chamberlain? 12 Apr 1830? Joseph 19. Peter Whitmer, Sr. 18 Apr 1830 Oliver 20. Mary Musselman Whitmer 18 Apr 1830 Oliver 21. William Jolly 18 Apr 1830 Oliver 22. Elizabeth Jolly 18 Apr 1830 Oliver 23. Vincent Jolly 18 Apr 1830 Oliver 24. Richard (Ziba) Peterson 18 Apr 1830 Oliver 25. Elizabeth Ann Whitmer 18 Apr 1830 Oliver 26. ? ? ? 27. Newell Knight May 1830 David 28. John Poorman 9 Jun 1830 David 29. John Jolly 9 Jun 1830 David 30. Julia Anne Jolly 9 Jun 1830 David 31. Harriett Jolly 9 Jun 1830 David 32. Jerusha Barden Smith 9 Jun 1830 David 33. Katherine Smith 9 Jun 1830 David 34. William B. Smith 9 Jun 1830 David 35. Don Carlos Smith 9 Jun 1830 David 36. Porter Rockwell 9 Jun 1830 David 37. Caroline Rockwell 9 Jun 1830 David 38. Electa Rockwell 9 Jun 1830 David
- Note that the office was originally called the “Presiding Patriarch”, presiding over the other patriarchs of the Church. Apparently he could preside with no counselors. It is interesting that a Bishop in the Aaronic Priesthood can also serve with no counselors, provided that he is a lineal firstborn descendant of Aaron (D&C 68:16-18). So here is another similarity of the Aaronic Priesthood to the Patriarchal Priesthood: both are passed down physically from father to son, and both can serve without counselors.
- It is interesting that the Lord lists the Presiding Patriarch first when enumerating the officers of the Church (D&C 124:124). President Joseph F. Smith chose to be ordained President of the Church by the Presiding Patriarch John Smith, who was the oldest son of Hyrum Smith. This suggests that if either the President or the Patriarch dies, his successor can apparently be ordained by the other if need be.