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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – Patriarchal Blessings, 1833

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood: Patriarchal Blessings, 1833.” You can view other years here.

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1833:  18 Dec.:  1st Patriarchal blessings.

“Although hardly a patriarch in the sense of age, the twenty-seven-year-old Joseph gave special blessings to members of his family and to one of his associates on December 18, 1833.  On that occasion, the blessing given to his father, Joseph Smith, Sr., designated the elderly gentleman as Patriarch to the Church, as though he were the spiritual father of the members of the Church.

So shall it be with my father: he shall be called a prince over his posterity, holding the keys of the patriarchal Priesthood over the kingdom of God on earth, even the Church of the Latter-day Saints.

The day he received this blessing, Joseph Smith, Sr. was ordained ‘Patriarch and president of the High Priesthood’ by the First Presidency.  Joseph Smith, Sr. began giving patriarchal blessings to individuals in which they were counseled, told of their potentials and future activities, and designated as descendants of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, thereby setting the pattern for all patriarchal blessings given by later patriarchs in the church.”  (D. Michael Quinn, “The Evolution of the Presiding Quorums of the LDS Church,” Journal of Mormon History 1:21-38, 1974)

Dec.:  “Patriarchal Priesthood.”

“It was in December of 1833, that the Patriarchal Priesthood was revealed and Joseph Smith, Senior, ordained the first Patriarch in the Church.”  (Joseph Fielding Smith, “The Mission of the Kirtland Temple,” IE 39(4):207, Apr., 1936)

“The Prophet also taught that the patriarch was ‘the oldest man of the blood of Joseph or of the seed of Abraham.’  Consequently, Joseph Smith, Sr., received his authority ‘by blessing and by right.’  He was not only ordained to that position, but he was also the oldest son of Ephraim (who was the head of the house of Israel) holding the priesthood in this dispensation.”  (Backman, The Heavens Resound, p. 243)

1835:  4 May:  Because thou hast no father.

“I lay my hands upon thy head, in the name of Jesus Christ and confer a patriarchal blessing upon thee, because thou hast no father, that can bestow it upon thee, I confirm upon thee the same blessings which were confirmed upon Abraham, Isaac, Jacob . . .”  (Patriarchal Blessing given to Edward Partridge by Joseph Smith, Sen., 4 May, 1835; History of Edward Partridge, written by his son, Edward Partridge (1833-1900), pp. 24-25; LDS Archives, Ouellette)

2 Nov.:  All blessings are conditional.

“My Dear Wife

. . . You inform me that you and the children were sick, I was somewhat disapointed at this inteligence as I had fondly anticipated that you would be blessed with health in my absence, from what was in my blessing, but all blessings are conditional, and perhaps if none of you have been unfaithful I may have been . . . I will here just observe a word further respecting our blessings That when father Smith pronounced them, they were not delivered and written sentence by sentence, but he delivered them as fast as he naturaly speaks, in the mean time the heads were sketched down and they had to be filled out from memory, consequently, instead of saying that your healths should be preserved in my absence, it may have been said that their lives shoiuld be preserved.”  (Edward Partridge to Lydia Partridge, 2 Nov., 1835; in History of Edward Partridge by his son, Edward Partridge (1833-1900), p. 25; LDS Archives, Ouellette)

1836:  1 Dec.:  Patriarchal blessing meeting.

“Repaired to the house of the Lord whare Father Smith met a number of Saints to Pronounce upon them a Patriarchal Blessing.  This was the first meeting of the kind that I ever attended & I found it to be highly edefying & interesting as their was great & glorious things pronounced upon their heads by the spirit of Prophesy & Revelation.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 1 Dec., 1836)

15 Dec.:  Lorenzo Snow blessed to go to other planets.

“Thou shalt have power to translate thyself from one planet to another.”  (Patriarchal Blessing given to Lorenzo Snow by Joseph Smith, Sr., 15 Dec., 1836; in LeRoi C. Snow, “Devotion to a Divine Inspiration,” YWJ 30(5):304, May, 1919)

15 Dec.:  Lineage entitled to priesthood.

“Copy of L Snow’s Blessing for a Patriarchal blessing meeting held in the Lord’s House in Kirtland this the fifteenth day of Dec eighteen hundred and thirty six.  Joseph Smith Sen the patriarch of the Church of LD Saints being present and holding the meeting & Patriarchal blessing was conferred on the head of Lorenzo Snow son of Oliver Snow born in Mantua Portage Co State of Ohio the 3rd of April 1814.–Brother–in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood which God has confered on me and by the Holy Anointing I lay my hands on thy head and give thee a fathers blessing . . . Thou are of the House and lineage of Abraham thy discent is through the loins of Joseph and Ephraim and art entitled to the Priesthood–. . . this is thy Blessing–In the name of Jesus Christ I seal these on thy head and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood I seal thee up to Eternal life–even so Amen Amen.”  (Lorenzo Snow, 15 Dec., 1836; Journal and Letterbook, 1836-1845, MS 1330, LDS Archives; Barney)

Huntington Patriarchal Blessing Meeting.

“In 1836 there was a ‘blessing meeting’ in the white house opposite the Presbyterian meeting house, on the hill just two miles south of the temple in Kirtland, at Father William Huntington’s.

Joseph Smith, father of the Prophet, was there to give blessings, as Patriarch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the first Patriarch of this dispensation.

That was his custom, to appoint meetings of families, at which all that desired patriarchal blessings of family or relatives to attend, and spend most of the day in blessing all that had a desire to hear what the Lord had in store for them, through their faithfulness.

At such times we would listen by spells to the wonderful rehersals from the Patriarch of the events the family had passed through in bringing forth and establishing the Church of Christ.  Sometimes he would tell us of wonderful things that would take place in the future.

On the occasion referred to the whole day was spent in this way–talking and blessing at intervals.

Orson Pratt was scribe, and transmitted to paper all he could of the blessings as the words fell from the lips of the Patriarch, without pausing for the scribe to get it in full as we now are favored.  Brother Pratt did his best at writing, and afterwards filled up from memory of all present that which he could not catch from the Patriarch’s lips.

In my blessing I was told that I should preach the Gospel before I was twenty-one years old; that I should prach to the inhabitants of the islands of the sea.

That prediction and others, have taken place; in fact every item, but one, in that blessing has been fulfilled that can be fulfilled in this life.  That one promise is, that I should live until I was satisfied with life.  I expect that before I go over the river I will be made glad to get loose from this tabernacle.

One promise was made me in that blessing that I am confident alludes to the next life: that I should preach the Gospel to the inhabitants of the moon, ‘even the planet you can now behold with your eyes.’

That evidently alludes to a time when I will not be cumbered with this unwieldy tabernacle.

The people that will be the subjects of my care and interest then are a little different from those I have ministered to on this planet.  According to the description given of them by the Prophet Joseph, they are about six feet in height as a general thing, dress quite uniformly in about the Quaker style, and live to near the age of one thousand years.

That same Patriarch told my mother that ‘her flesh should never see corruption,’ and we all thought as a matter of course she would never die.  But she did die, though, for all that.

And, notwithstanding she died, not one of the family ever spoke or thought, so far as I know of, one word or thought of doubt as to the truth of Mormonism or the validity of the authority and gift of the Patriarch.  It was something we did not understand, and that was all there was of it; so it passed out of our minds for years.

Mother Zina Huntington died in Nauvoo, in July, 1839, and was buried in the old burying ground that had been used by the previous inhabitants of that town called Commerce, as it was named before we settled there.

As Nauvoo grew to the dimensions of a city in a few years, the old burying ground was found to bed in the very heart of the city, and the City Council passed an ordinance requiring its removal to a place distant about four miles.

My brother William was sexton, and had the work of removing all the remains.  The remains of mother were taken up on the day that the Prophet held a public meeting in the grove just west of the temple, according to announcement on the Sunday previous, when he promised to speak upon the ordinance of re-baptism for the remission of sins; and after the services the congregation repaired to the Mississippi River to enjoy and witness the first ceremonies of that kind in this dispensation.  Many of the passing congregation came down the road that passed through the burying ground, and there they witnessed a very strange sight, even the fulfillment of the Patriarch’s promise.

Although my mother had been buried over three years, when the coffin was opened she laid there before our eyes as large, full and plump as ever in life.  Her features were perfect, and not a smell of decay about her body, only the decaying pine coffin in which she was encased, for in one or two places it had commenced to crumble.  That could be plainly smelled, and no other smell of decay.  She weighed usually over two hundred pounds, and must have weighed about that much when she died, as she was sick a week or two only.

Her body had become hard like solid wood, and sounded like hard wood when tapped lightly with the finger, which I did, and my brother William pried up a little sliver from her breast with the point of a knife; it was not petrified as stone, but wood.

It was a strange sight to see our mother again in perfect form and feature, giving us a foretaste of the resurrection of the dead, as spoken of by Isaiah and John the Revelator.

My father was there, and took special care to replace everything in as complete order as possible, especially two of her toes which he broke off while picking lumps of dirt out of the foot of the coffin.  The toes he laid between her feet before closing her remains for the last time.  It was a fresh funeral of our mother, after seeing her for only an hour or so.

But slowly and sadly the coffin was re-nailed and driven to her new and last resting place–fifty-two years since–and I presume her body is yet as free from corruption as when we saw it on that memorable day of the resurrecting of her incorruptible body, which undoubtedly will be raised at or just previous to the coming of our Savior in the clouds of heaven, when she will be a living body, and be caught up in the air to meet the Redeemer.  That resurrection was a faint foretaste of the one yet in the future.”  (Oliver B. Huntington, “Resurrection of My Mother,” YWJ 5(7):345-347, Apr., 1894)

1837:  7 Nov.:  Isaac Morley chosen patriarch.

“Elder Isaac Morley was then ordained to the office of Patriarch under the hands of pres’ts. Joseph Smith jr. Sidney Rigdon and Hyram Smith.”  (Report of conference at Far West, 7 Nov., 1837, in Elders’ Journal 1(2):30, Nov., 1837)

Blessed to preach gospel to inhabitants of the Moon.

“As far back as 1837, I know that he [Joseph Smith] said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth, and that they lived to a greater age than we do–that they live generally to near the age of a 1000 years [sic].

He described the men as averaging nearly six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style.

In my Patriarchal blessing, given by the father of Joseph the Prophet, in Kirtland, 1837, I was told that I should preach the gospel before I was 21 years of age; that I should preach the gospel to the inhabitants upon the islands of the sea, and–to the inhabitants of the moon, even the planet you can now behold with your eyes.

The first two promises have been fulfilled, and the latter may be verified. 

From the verification of two promises we may reasonably expect the third to be fulfilled also.”  (Oliver B. Huntington, “The Inhabitants of the Moon,” YWJ 3(6):263-264, Mar., 1892)

1839:  Corrill’s description.

“It also was a rule in the church to have one in each stake (most generally the oldest, if suitable) appointed and ordained a patriarch, whose duty it was to be a sort of father to the church, and bless such children as had no natural father to bless them.”  (John Corrill, History, Chapter 27)

27 Jun.:  Evangelist is a patriarch.

“An Evangelist is a patriarch even the oldest man of the Blood of Joseph or of the seed of Abraham, wherever the Church of Christ is established in the earth, there should be a patriarch for the benefit of the posterity of the Saints as it was with Jacob. in giving his patriarchal blessing unto his Sons &c.”  (Joseph Smith, 27 Jun., 1839, Willard Richards Pocket Companion.  In Words of JS, p. 6) 

1840:  15 Apr.:  Patriarchs for the fatherless.

“Elder Kimble then lade before the Conference the importance & propriety of ordaining a patriarch to bestow patriarchal Blessings on the fatherless.  Referd to the Twelve whose business it was to select & ordain him according to the direction of the Spirit.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 15 Apr., 1840; see also T&S 1(8):121, Jun., 1840)

1841:  1 Jan.:  Hyrum designated by Joseph Sr. as his successor.

“You will also have received intelligence of the death of my father, which event although painful to the family and to the church generally, yet the sealing testimony of the truth of the work of the Lord, was indeed satisfactory.  Brother Hyrum succeeds him as Patriarch of the church, according to his last directions and benedictions.”  (Joseph Smith to the Elders in England [The Twelve], T&S 2(5):260, 1 Jan., 1841)

1843:  27 Aug.:  3 Priesthoods:  Aaronic, Melch., Patriarchal.

“Remarks by J. Smith who afterwards preached from Hebrews 7 upon the priesthood Aaronic, Patriarchal & Melchisedec.”  (Levi Richards, 27 Aug, 1843; Levi Richards diary, MS 1284, Bx. 1, fd. 1, v. 1, LDS Archives; Barney)

1845:    20 Aug.:  Wm. Smith to take “Patriarchal Blessing tour.”

“There seems to be a severe influence working against me and the Smith family in this place [Nauvoo], which makes our situation very unpleasant and I must say that I have seen more oppression and ingruity here in one month than in the East in one year, and I have concluded to take a tour again among the churches and give the saints their Patriarchal Blessings, so that you may expect to see me in Peterborough in the course of the coming winter.”  (William Smith (Joseph’s Brother) to Bro. Little, 20 Aug., 1845; JH 20 Aug., 1845)

1846:  May:  William Smith’s claims as Presiding Patriarch.

“To all whom it may concern

Whereas it is frequently rumoured that I have suffered no abridgement of the rights pertaining to my Patriarchal office, as Patriarch and father over the whole church, when on a time there was no cause of complaint against my moral character, and by a reference to the Nauvoo Neighbor of last summer, it will be seen that the Twelve said I was a Patriarch in the church and not over the church.  Now it was my right of office not only to stand equal as one of the Twelve but to stand in Hyrum Smiths place as Councillor to the church, and Patriarch & father over the whole church.  And as I am frequently told by the Agents of the Twelve, and their followers that the Twelve & the church they represent have always been willing, and are still willing, to award to me my right of office in the church–To these I submit the following resolutions or propositions provided as follows, for and in behalf of the Smith family, and the true church of Christ, to the Twelve, and the church they represent–

1st Wm Smiths right of office as follows that he stand in Hyrum Smiths place as Councillor to the Church of Christ, holding the keys of the Patriarchal office & blessing upon the heads of all my people, (the church) also President of all Patriarchs in the church holding this right of Patriarchal Presidency, during the minority of Hyrums eldest son.

2d That the Twelve make a statement of this right of office as above stated to all the churches, with no farther qualifications than my restoration to this right of office, and to the full confidence of the church & the fellowship of the Twelve and all the united quorums of the same that they represent published to the saints & the world and further provided that the Smith family shall have their standing and inheritances, Mother Smith a house and lot, as promised deeded to her in Nauvoo &c as her own property, and that I shall have at least 2 years to journey East, West, North or South, England or America to administer, settle any business, and get means to help one with, stay with my mother her life time &c &c before joining the Camps West in person, my inheritances & writs of propperty being preserved for me &c &c.  [The underlined portion inked out in the original.]

3d Provided an honorable share of the kingdom is awarded, being equal in all things as Bretheren and the Twelve acknowledge the appointment God has made through the prophet Joseph, and return to their place.  Repent &c & restore forfold.  If such is the Spirit and friendship of the Twelve the church &c & they will grant me the above request, all warfare shall cease from this hour on my part, the hatchet handle and all buried forever–with a note stating that our difficulty is settled, and my influence shall be turned [crossed out] with all my energies to sustain the organization, with my rights of office in the church and its organization [crossed out] continuance according to the Book of Doc & Cov with the [crossed out] a 3 first presidency.

Even so Amen.

Wm Smith

PS  I submit these propositions for an answer as soon as convenient.

Nauvoo May, 1846

Brother Strang, I forgot to mention that many have sent presents of purses, with money, shawls, c[l]othes &c &c from England & the different states to the mother of the Prophet but she has not received any of them in consequence of Hyde & others telling them it was dangerous to call on Mother Smith, & they ought not to do it, but go right strait across the river,

Wm Smith

Lucy Smith Mother in Israel.”

(P13 f65, RLDS Archives)

24 Feb.:  Bennett endorsement of Wm. Smith’s claims.

“Cincinnati, Ohio

February 24, A.D. 1846

James J. Strang, Esq.

Dear Sir:–

You are aware that I was originally one of the ‘First Presidency’ of the Mormon Church–a councilor to Joseph; so I enclose you a notice from one of our city papers of this morning.  I, likewise enclose our college circular, so that you may see my position in the Botanical Medical College of Ohio; I also enclose you one of my likenesses.

I hope you will retain William Smith as Patriarch, and I will write him at St. Louis, advising him to give in his cohesion to you.

I should be pleased to correspond with you, tho’ I have not the honor of your acquaintance.

Yours respectfully,

John C. Bennett.”

(John C. Bennett [Cincinnati, Ohio] to James J. Strang [Voree, Wisconsin], 24 Feb., 1846; P13 f 66, RLDS Archives)

7 Sep.:  Patriarchal blessing for non-member.

“Col Kane Called upon me at my tent for the last time as he was about to leave for the east.  He had been sick for several weeks but was now getting better.  Before he left he desired to receive his Patriarchal Blessing from under the hands of Father John Smith.  I went with him to the tent of the Patriarch who lade his hands upon the head of Col Kane & blessed him.  I wrote the blessing & presented Col Kane with a copy of the same of my hand writing.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 7 Sep., 1846)

1847:  22 Mar.:  Each man a patriarch to his own family.

“In the evening I attended A Council of the Bishops & Twelve.  Remarks were made upon a variety of subjects.  Brother B. Young spoke upon the subject of Patriarchal Blessings & the Blessing of Children.  Said that any father who held the Priesthood was A Patriarch to his own family & when He blessed his children it was a patriarchal Blessing.  If a man wrote the Blessing of his Children & Could get the Historian to write it it was well enough but the Historian could not write all the Children Blessings in the Church.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 22 Mar., 1847)

1848:  1 May:  Blessings belong to the office of patriarch.

“Let the Saints keep a cautious eye upon teachers that promulgate marvellous things beyond the first principles of the gospel.  If a preacher cannot find hearers enough in Great Britain that might be profited by the first principles of salvation, he had better take a mission to some other nation, or chant a jubilee of universal redemption.  We would suggest to Elders, whether endued or not, that they do not be too liberal in the use of the ordinance of ‘blessing.’  This ordinance legitimately belongs to an office set apart for the purpose; where others bestow it without the most manifest promptings of wisdom, the tendency is sometimes pernicious.  We have often denied ourselves in this matter, when solicited by some of the best men of our acquaintance.  An undue proneness to be esteemed great sometimes insensibly inflates the minds of very good men.  Again some men, in their cupidity to get a name, or build up a family, may inculcate principles of adoption, (principles which may not be altogether false in the abstract), but being ill-timed and uncalled-for in the present state of the British Churches, defeat the object for which they are used, and actually peril indirectly the salvation of those who are taught thereby.”  (Editorial [Orson Spencer, editor], MS 10(9):138, 1 May, 1848)

Jun.:  I obtained a comfortable living as a Patriarch.

“I have presided over several different branches of the Church.  Still have been in indigent circumstances after Joseph & Hiram were murdered in Carthage Jail June 27th 1844.  I was soon called from Macedonia to preside over the church at Nauvoo the January previous I was ordained a Patriarch in the church under the hands of my nephew Joseph Smith through which office I obtained a comfortable living.”  (John Smith [Uncle of Joseph Smith], Jun., 1848; John Smith diary, MS d 1326, fd 4, v 4, LDS Archives; Barney)

Oct.:  President over the Patriarchal priesthood.

“October at the conference I was relieved from my presidency & apointed Patriarch over the church & president over the Patriarchial priesthood.”  (John Smith [Uncle of Joseph Smith], Oct., 1848[?]; John Smith diary, MS d 1326, fd 4, v 4, LDS Archives; Barney)

1849:  1 Jan.:  John Smith set apart as Patriarch for 2nd time.

“On the 1st of January, 1849 Presidents B. Young and H. C. Kimball came to father’s house and set him apart as Patriarch over the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.”  (John Lyman Smith autobiography, LC Collection)

1 Jul.:  It is duty of patriarch to bless the Church.

“A Few Words of Advice to the Elders.–When I arrived in this country I was very frequently called upon by the Saints to lay hands upon them and bless them.  This practice I found on inquiry had prevailed in this country to some considerable extent.  It is a practice, however, which should be done away only on important occasions; such, for instance, as the setting apart of officers to some new fields of labor, or other important business.  And there may be some other instances where it may be wisdom to bless by the laying on of hands.  It is the duty of the patriarch to bless the Church, for unto this power he is ordained.  But it is not expedient that the elders should introduce such a custom among the Saints.  If they, by so doing, are not acting out of the authority of their calling, they are acting very unwisely, and if continued, they will grieve the Spirit.”  (Orson Pratt, MS 11(13):200, 1 Jul., 1849)

1850:    31 Aug.:  Patriarchal office “open for business.”

“I take this method to notify the Brethren of the City and vicinity, that I will attend to all calls in the line of my office, hereafter, particularly on Saturday’s and Monday’s of each week, also on other days of the week when convenient.  Aug. 31.

John Smith Patriarch.

N.B. Office near north west corner of the Temple Block.  no. 12.”  (DN 1(14):107, 14 Sep., 1850)

30 Dec.:  Questions on adoption, other topics.

“School House, Big Cottonwood

December 30, 1850.

Bro. Parley P. Pratt,

Dear Sir:–I hardly know how to address you, but I have set myself to work to learn something in relation to this kingdom.

The first question:–Is it the duty of a man who comes into this church (and who has no parents or relatives in the church,) to be adopted into the family of any other man? or is it my duty to be adopted into the family of any brother who is in this church; and if so, have I the privilege to be adopted into the family of any brother that I may choose?  If yea is the answer, please to explain the matter fully.

2nd.  Can a man who has all the natural parts of a man, and lives as he should in this church, ever reach the celestial kingdom of God if he have no wife, and raise no family in this world?  Please explain.

3rd.  Is it the duty of parents to bless their children, or is it their duty to take them to the patriarch of the church to be blessed?

4th.  What caused the banishment of Satan from the presence of God?  Please explain fully.

5th.  Please to explain the resurrection of the dead in the first, second, and all other resurrections.

6th.  From what place are the forces of Gog and Magog, as spoken of by John the Revelator, to come?

By giving me an answer to the foregoing questions, you will not only enlighten my understanding upon these points, but will remove several serious ‘stumbling blocks’ that constantly lie in my path.  My object is to learn all that I can in regard to Mormonism, not only for my own good, but that I may benefit a father and mother, who are many thousand miles from this place, and who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, as revealed in the last days.

A letter addressed to me, to the care of bro. Saml Snider, and left at bro. F. D. Richards’ will find me.

Feeling a deep and abiding interest in this work, as renewed in these the last days, I have the pleasure of saying that I remain your brother in the bonds of the everlasting covenant, 

Andrew Siler.

G.S.L. City, Jan. 6, 1851.

Mr. Andrew Siler,

Dear Brother:–I received your favor of the 30th ult., and proceed to answer the same.

Answer to question first.  I do not know.

2nd.  Every man in this church, who lives as he should, will be saved in the celestial kingdom.

3rd.  Parents may bless their children–so may the patriarch.

4th.  I either was not present at the banishment of Satan, or have forgotten the particulars.  The probability is, that he wished to go to a warmer climate for his health.

{Quite possible he searched so deeply after the ‘mysteries’ of the kingdom, that he neglected his duties, as many do at the present day.  Ed.}

5th.  I have not the keys of the resurrection, having never experienced it.

6th.  Do not know, unless it is from the four quarters of the earth, or from the gold mines.

In reply to the other observations contained in yours, I would advise you to instruct your parents to seek out the elders of the church of the saints, and forsake their sins, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of the same, and they shall receive the Holy Ghost, and be saved, if they endure to the end.

As to stumbling blocks, if all are as busy as I am, they will never have time to stumble over them, let alone removing them.

Please excuse brevity, and believe me your brother in the gospel, 

P. P. Pratt.”  (DN 1(24):187, 11 Jan., 1851)

1851:    8 Nov.:  General epistle of Church Patriarch.


To the Saints scattered abroad throughout the World, GREETING:

Beloved Brothers and Sisters:

The Spirit of God moves upon me to write an epistle, and give you some fatherly counsel at this time.  I pray God, my Eternal Father, to enlighten my mind, and give unto me words and principles which will be unto you as balm to a wound, or water to a thirsty man.

It is now upwards of 21 years since the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, with six members, most of whom are numbered with the dead.

. . . .

We can here worship Him under our own ‘vine and fig tree,’ and none make us afraid: and under such favorable circumstances as we are now placed, if we do not enjoy the Spirit of God, it is because we are not obedient to his commandments; and I can bear my testimony, that the saints never enjoyed more of the Spirit than they do at this time; and I feel confident that if they will adhere to counsel, we will receive more and more, day by day, until we come within the sphere to walk with angels, and be their constant companions; and when we want to learn aught from God, they will teach us, and heaven will be as near to us as Boston is to New York by telegraph.

. . . .

Pray to God to turn the hearts of the Gentiles that they may convert their riches to the upbuilding of his kingdom, and that kings and queens may become nursing parents, that Zion may flourish, and her temples be reared to his holy name, that we may do the work devolving upon us in redeeming the dead.

. . . .

John Smith.

Patriarch in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

G.S.L. City, Nov. 8, 1851.”

(DN 29 Nov., 1851) 

27 Dec.:  Conditional nature of promised blessings.

“In revising the Life of Joseph, published in this paper, the question so often asked by the saints presented itself; to wit, what shall we do with these promises, there are no conditions in the blessings given to the Twelve, they were blessed to do a great work even to the coming of Christ, and several have apostatized; how shall we account for these failures?

All blessings promised by the Priesthood, which has come down from the heavens, are conditional, no matter whether expressed or implied; conditions are often spoken in blessings, which are not written, and for a good reason; the church has not always been blessed with ready writers, they could not write all that was spoken, and being obliged to leave a part unwritten, the writers have left that portion which they truloy understood to be universally acknowledged by the Priesthood, namely, that faithfulness on the part of the receiver of blessings was requisite to ensure the blessings promised.

Let any man who has the spirit of truth abiding in him read all we have published in this paper, and he will see the conditions in President Cowdery’s communication to Parley P. Pratt, and that these conditions were necessary for him to observe, or else he was liable to lose his crown, and his office be taken and given to another; and the same conditions were equally applicable to all the quorum of the Twelve Apostles, whether expressed or not, they were implied to all; and whether written or not it mattereth not, they were understood if they were not spoken; and this is the case with all blessings through the Priesthood to all saints, except the eternal decrees of the Father, made manifest through the Priesthood by special revelation, with which the present generation has very little to do, and consequently need give themselves no trouble concerning it, they will be sure to know it when it comes.

Many have wondered why their friends have been cut off, and laid in their graves, when it was said in their Patriarchal blessing they should live to the coming of Christ, if they continued faithful; but this brings us particularly to the principle of faith, which is largely treated of in the Doctrine and Covenants, and to which we refer the saints for information, for the present, which read and be wise.”  (DN 27 Dec., 1851)

1854:  16 Sep.:  Healed upon receiving Patriarchal Blessing.

“Permelia Mecham received a patriarchal blessing and was immediately healed by the healing power of God of a lingering illness.”  (John Murdock journal, 16 Sep., 1854; LDS Archives, Ouellette)