Lesson 22: Patriarchal Leadership in the Home

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, (1993), 78–82


Each young man will understand the patriarchal order in the home.


  1. 1.

    Materials needed

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      A pencil and paper for each young man.

  2. 2.

    Prepare a copy of the handout “What Do You Know about the Patriarchal Order?” for each young man.

  3. 3.

    Copy on separate pieces of paper the quotations and stories that are to be presented by the young men (optional).


The young men you teach come from varied backgrounds and family situations. Some have fathers who are strong, righteous patriarchs in their families. Others may have fathers who are less active or who are not members of the Church. Some may not have fathers. Be sensitive to each young man’s situation. Regardless of the present family situation, emphasize in this lesson that each priesthood holder must prepare to become the type of patriarch and father that the Lord intends him to be.

Suggested Lesson Development

The Patriarchal Order Is the Lord’s Plan for Families


Give each young man a pencil and a copy of the quiz “What Do You Know about the Patriarchal Order?” Point out that there may be more than one correct answer to each statement and that no one will see the young men’s papers.

What Do You Know about the Patriarchal Order?

  1. 1.

    The patriarchal order is—

    1. a.

      A recommend to get your patriarchal blessing.

    2. b.

      An order for obtaining goods from the bishops’ storehouse.

    3. c.

      The Lord’s divine system of government.

  2. 2.

    The most important organization in the Church is—

    1. a.

      The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

    2. b.

      The Quorum of the First Presidency.

    3. c.

      The family.

  3. 3.

    The presiding authority in your family is—

    1. a.

      The President of the Church.

    2. b.

      Your bishop.

    3. c.

      Your father (or your mother if there is no father in the home).

  4. 4.

    As patriarchal head of the family, the father should—

    1. a.

      Preside and direct the affairs of his home and family in righteousness.

    2. b.

      Provide for the physical needs and spiritual needs of his family.

    3. c.

      Seek the Lord for personal revelation concerning his family.

  5. 5.

    In the Lord s plan—

    1. a.

      There is full equality between men and women.

    2. b.

      The man is more important because he holds the priesthood.

    3. c.

      The Lord loves his daughters as much as he loves his sons.

  6. 6.

    The father is the head of the home because—

    1. a.

      He is worthier and better qualified.

    2. b.

      lt is his eternal calling.

    3. c.

      He is stricter than the mother.

  7. 7.

    Although each father presides in his family, in order to enjoy the blessings of being the patriarchal head of a family he must—

    1. a.

      Have a college education so he can use it to instruct his family.

    2. b.

      Have a high-paying job to provide for his family.

    3. c.

      Hold the Melchizedek Priesthood and exercise it properly.

After the young men have completed the quiz, read the questions aloud. After each answer, read, or have a young man read, the corresponding quotation. Each quotation contains a clue for correctly answering the questions in the quiz. After each quotation is read, identify the correct answer or answers to the corresponding question.

Quotations and discussion

Question 1 (c)

“The Lord’s government is patriarchal in nature. The family … is the center” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], p. 559). Patriarchal means of the father. The father is the one who presides and gives priesthood blessings to the other members of the family.

Question 2 (c)

“The family is the most important organization in time or in eternity. Our purpose in life is to create for ourselves eternal family units” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Deseret News, 6 Apr. 1971, p. 6A).

Question 3 (c)

“In the home the presiding authority is always vested in the father and in all home affairs and family matters there is no other authority paramount” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], p. 287).

Question 4 (a, b, c)

“God established that fathers are to preside in the home. Fathers are to provide love, teach, and direct” (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Apr. 1984, p. 6; or Ensign, May 1984, p. 6).

Question 5 (a, c)

“In the Church there is full equality between man and woman. The gospel … was devised by the Lord for men and women alike. … The privileges and requirements of the gospel are fundamentally alike for men and women. The Lord loves His daughters as well as He loves His sons” (John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1960], p. 305).

Question 6 (b)

“[A father’s calling] is an eternal calling from which [he is] never released. Callings in the Church, as important as they are, by their very nature are only for a period of time, and then an appropriate release takes place. But a father’s calling is eternal, and its importance transcends time. It is a calling for both time and eternity” (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Oct. 1987, p. 59; or Ensign, Nov. 1987, p. 48).

Question 7 (c)

“Although each father is the head of his family, in the strict sense of the word the Latter-day Saint family cannot be called patriarchal unless the husband holds the Melchizedek Priesthood and the wife was married or sealed to the husband in the temple, and the children were born in the covenant or sealed to their parents” (A Light unto the World, Melchizedek Priesthood Course of Study 1967–68, p. 55).

Explain that in the world there are many voices proclaiming what the family should be and do. For the Lord’s purposes he has ordained the patriarchal order with the father at the head. We need to remember the divine counsel from the Lord’s servants and sustain our fathers in their patriarchal role.

Read the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson:

“A young man came to my office a short time ago for a blessing. He had problems— … he was confused; he was concerned and worried. And so we talked for a few minutes and I said to him, ‘Have you ever asked your father for a blessing?’ ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘I don’t know that Dad would do a thing like that. He is not very active.’ I said, ‘But he’s your father.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Does he hold the priesthood?’ ‘Yes, he is an inactive elder.’ I said, ‘Do you love him?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I love him. He is a good man, he’s good to the family, good to the children.’ … I said, ‘All right, would you be willing to go home and watch for an opportunity, and ask your father if he will give you a blessing? And if it doesn’t work out, you come back, and I will be glad to help you.’

“So he left, and in about three days he came back. ‘Brother Benson, this has been the sweetest thing that’s happened in our home,’ he said. ‘Mother and the children sat there, my younger brothers and sisters, with my mother wiping the tears from her eyes. She expressed her gratitude later. Father gave me a lovely blessing.’ He added, ‘I could tell it came from his heart’” (God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], p. 184).

Our Role in the Patriarchal Order

Chalkboard and discussion

Write on the chalkboard: Ways to Sustain My Father.

  • What are some ways you can sustain your father as the patriarchal head of the family?

List the ideas given by the young men. Their suggestions might include being obedient, sharing concerns and interests with him, spending time together, asking for a father’s blessing, seeking his advice and counsel and following it, getting to know him, giving him love and appreciation, building him up, supporting him in family home evening, and being cheerful and helpful in the home.

Review the list on the chalkboard by asking the young men to be specific as to how they can do these things. Questions could include—

  • When can or should you ask for a father’s blessing?

  • How can you get to know your father better?

  • What support does your father really appreciate for family home evening?

  • How can you arrange to spend time with your father?

  • When and where are a good time and place to share concerns and interests?

Scripture and discussion

Some boys may feel that they cannot go to their father because they see their father’s weaknesses and faults. Have them read 1 Nephi 16:18–27 and 1 Nephi 16:30–31.

Explain that Lehi and everyone else, except Nephi, had murmured against the Lord.

  • Rather than murmuring, what did Nephi do (see verse 23)?

  • Even though his father, Lehi, had murmured against the Lord, why did Nephi still seek counsel from him (see verse 23)? (Nephi was well aware of the patriarchal order. Lehi was still Nephi’s father. Nephi was still Lehi’s son. Nephi knew that being obedient to the principle of honoring his father and seeking his advice was demonstrating faith, while murmuring would serve only to show anger and displeasure and invite Satan to work upon him.)

  • What were the results of Nephi’s actions?

  • What might have happened if Nephi had acted like his brothers?

  • Try to imagine the world fifteen years from now. What would an ideal father and patriarch have to be like?

Chalkboard and discussion

Write on the chalkboard Ways to Prepare Myself to Be a Righteous Patriarch.

  • What are some ways to prepare yourself to be a righteous patriarch in your future home? (List the young men’s ideas on the chalkboard. Their suggestions might include honoring the Aaronic Priesthood; watching their fathers, home teachers, and other priesthood holders to see how they use their priesthood; studying the examples of the men in the scriptures; looking forward to the time they will be ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood; and learning skills for being a good parent.)

Discuss the young men’s ideas. Questions could include the following:

  • What qualities do you think a faithful Melchizedek Priesthood holder has?

  • What qualities do you think a good parent has?

  • Whom do you know who has these qualities?

  • Which men from the scriptures had these qualities?


Have a young man read the following story, and ask the young men to consider the following questions as the story is read:

  • How would a young man have to prepare to be like the father in this story?

  • How must this priesthood holder have been living to be in tune with the Spirit?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie tells the following story:

“One of my earliest childhood recollections is of riding a horse through an apple orchard. The horse was tame and well-broken, and I felt at home in the saddle.

“But one day something frightened my mount, and he bolted through the orchard. I was swept from the saddle by the overhanging limbs, and one leg slipped down through the stirrup. I desperately hung to an almost broken leather strap. … My weight should have broken the strap, but somehow it held for the moment. Another lunge or two of the stampeding horse would have broken the strap or wrenched it from my hands and left me to be dragged to injury or death with my foot entangled in the stirrup.

“Suddenly the horse stopped, and I became aware that someone was holding the bridle tightly and attempting to calm the quivering animal. Almost immediately I was snatched up into the arms of my father.

“What had happened? What had brought my father to my rescue in the split second before I slipped beneath the hoofs of my panic-driven horse?

“My father had been sitting in the house reading the newspaper when the Spirit whispered to him, ‘Run out into the orchard!’

“Without a moment’s hesitation, not waiting to learn why or for what reason, my father ran. Finding himself in the orchard without knowing why he was there, he saw the galloping horse and thought, I must stop this horse.

“He did so and found me. And that is how I was saved from serious injury or possible death” (“Hearken to the Spirit,” Friend, Sept. 1972, p. 10).

Discuss the young men’s answers to the questions you posed before reading the story. Emphasize that the Holy Ghost helped Elder McConkie’s father fulfill his responsibility to protect his family, and that to get the same help as fathers they must prepare themselves spiritually.



If time permits, and under the direction of the Spirit, you may wish to share your own feelings for your father as a patriarch in your home or the great responsibility that you feel as a patriarch to your family, or you may ask the young men to share their feelings regarding their fathers.


Challenge the young men to choose one way that they can support their fathers as patriarchs of their homes and to work on that during the coming week. Ask them also to think about the kind of patriarch they would like to become and to begin preparing for that divine responsibility.