Lesson 14: Patriarchal Leadership in the Home

Young Women Manual 1, (2002), 56–60


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


  1. 1.

    Bring a pencil for each class member.

  2. 2.

    Prepare a copy of the quiz on page 60 for each young woman. If you do not wish to use the quiz, assign the questions to class members. Give the young women the quotations that correspond to their questions and have them present a panel discussion.

  3. 3.

    Assign young women to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.

Note to the teacher

The young women in your class come from varied backgrounds and family situations. Some have fathers who are righteous patriarchs in their families. Others may have fathers who are not active in the Church or who are not members. Some may not have fathers in their homes. Be sensitive to each young woman’s situation. Regardless of present family situations, the objective of this lesson is to teach what the patriarchal order is and how a patriarch can bless his family.

Suggested Lesson Development

The Patriarchal Order Is the Lord’s Plan for Families


Give each young woman a pencil and a copy of the following quiz (see also page 60). Allow about five minutes for them to answer the questions. Explain that no one will see their answers. Point out that there may be more than one correct answer.

What Do You Know about the Patriarchal Order?

Choose the correct answer or answers to each of the following:

  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 First Presidency.

    3. c.

      The family.

  3. 3.

    The presiding authority in your family is:

    1. a.

      The President of the Church.

    2. b.

      The bishop.

    3. c.

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

  4. 4.

    As presiding authority in the family, some of the father’s responsibilities are to:

    1. a.

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

    2. b.

      Provide for the physical and spiritual needs of his family.

    3. c.

      Seek the Lord for personal revelation concerning his family.

  5. 5.

    Some of the mother’s responsibilities are to:

    1. a.

      Bear and nurture children.

    2. b.

      Help provide for the physical and spiritual needs of her family.

    3. c.

      Be a companion, a counselor, and a friend to her husband.

  6. 6.

    According to the Lord’s plan, who is responsible for loving and teaching the children?

    1. a.

      The father only.

    2. b.

      The mother only.

    3. c.

      Both parents.

  7. 7.

    In the Lord’s plan:

    1. a.

      There is full equality between man and woman.

    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.

  8. 8.

    Although each father presides in his family, in order to preside as the patriarchal head of a family, he must:

    1. a.

      Have a college education.

    2. b.

      Have a good job.

    3. c.

      Have the Melchizedek Priesthood.

  9. 9.

    The father has the role of patriarch because:

    1. a.

      He is more worthy and better qualified.

    2. b.

      It is his divine role.

    3. c.

      It is a matter of law and order.

After the young women have completed the quiz, read the questions aloud. After reading each question, let the young women give their answers. Then read, or have someone else read, the corresponding quotation given below.

Each quotation contains a clue for the correct answer to the question it refers to. Italics have been added to show key words. After each quotation is read, identify the correct answer or answers to the question.

Quotations and discussion

Question 1

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; italics added).

Question 2

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, in Conference Report, Apr. 1972, p. 13; or Ensign, July 1972, p. 27).

Question 3

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., 1975], p. 27; italics added).

Question 4

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; italics added).

“‘Fatherhood is leadership, the most important kind of leadership. It has always been so; it will always be so. Father, with the assistance and counsel and encouragement of your eternal companion, you preside in the home’” (Father, Consider Your Ways [pamphlet, 1973], pp. 4–5; as cited by Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Nov. 1987, p. 49).

Since this is such an important concept, you may wish to discuss the answer in greater detail. Point out that all three of the answers given in the quiz are correct. Ask the young women to add additional suggestions of things the father does as patriarchal head of the home. The statements of President Benson suggest some; perhaps you can draw from the young women other suggestions, such as setting a righteous example, sharing his testimony and convictions, and seeing that family members are taught correct principles.

Question 5

“At the time of the creation, the responsibility of bearing and nurturing children was assigned the mother. The primary role of providing was assigned the father. There is nothing in all of scripture that alters this fundamental understanding; and indeed, modern scripture and modern prophets have reinforced this basic relationship between fathers and mothers” (The Church and the Proposed Equal Rights Amendment [booklet], pp. 11–12; italics added; insert in the March 1980 Ensign).

“Fortunately, [a father is] not required to preside and judge and act without counsel, without assistance. [He has] a wife—a companion, a counselor, a partner, a helpmeet, a friend” (Father, Consider Your Ways [pamphlet, n.d.], p. 3; italics added).

Question 6

“Truly a tremendous responsibility falls upon a couple when they bring children into the world. Not only food, clothes, and shelter are required of them, but loving, kindly disciplining, teaching, and training” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Train Up a Child,” Ensign, Apr. 1978, p. 5; italics added).

Question 7

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. 30; italics added).

Question 8

“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 to 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; italics added).

Since there may possibly be young women in your class whose fathers do not hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, you may wish to read and discuss the following statement.

“To the comment, ‘My husband [or father] is not a member of the Church, nor does he respect it,’ I with love and compassion answer: ‘Dear Sister, whether he is a member or not, he is still the father and head of the family. … Support him in his positive actions. Show him that you believe in and trust his ability to direct the family. Encourage him with noble examples” (Richard G. Scott, “Father Is Head of the Family,” Ensign, Feb. 1977, pp. 84–85).

Question 9

“The patriarchal order is of divine origin and will continue throughout time and eternity. There is, then, a particular reason why men, women and children should understand this order and this authority in the households of the people of God. … It is not merely a question of who is perhaps the best qualified. Neither is it wholly a question of who is living the most worthy life. It is a question largely of law and order” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 287; italics added).

Teacher presentation

Point out that the word patriarch is related to the word father. But we use this word in a special way. The term patriarchal order refers to the line of people from Adam on down through all generations who are linked together by eternal temple ordinances. These people will maintain their family relationships forever. When a couple is married in the temple, the husband and wife become eligible to become part of this great eternal family. The man becomes not only the father, but the patriarch of his family. This means that he is responsible to help his family live in such a way that they can return to Heavenly Father together. And because he holds the Melchizedek Priesthood, he can bless his family and teach them in a way he could not otherwise do.

A Young Woman Can Support Her Father in His Role

Chalkboard discussion

Ask the young women to think of ways in which they can support their fathers. List the ideas on the chalkboard. Their suggestions might include some of the following:

Ways to Support Fathers

Be obedient

Spend time together

Share concerns and interests

Ask for a father’s blessing

Seek his advice and counsel

Get to know him

Set a good example to brothers and sisters

Give him love and appreciation

Build up, not tear down

Support him in family home evening

Be cheerful and helpful in the home


Some of the young women may feel that it would be difficult to express their love and support to their fathers. You might wish to have a young woman tell the following story:

When Sister Lois Christensen was a girl, her Sunday School teacher asked each class member to tell her father that she loved him. Lois felt that this was an impossible assignment for her to fill. Her father was not active in the Church, and the communication gap between them was wide. Love was never expressed verbally in her family. She stayed after the other class members had left to tell her teacher she couldn’t do it. In her own words, she says:

“But Sister Innes wasn’t convinced. She looked at me and said, ‘No matter what your dad is or does, he needs to hear those words from you, just as much as any other dad needs to hear them. I want you to promise me you’ll fill this assignment.’”

“I agreed, and during the next few days I felt a great burden. I knew it would only be lifted when I fulfilled my commitment. One night, after the others had gone to bed, I nervously waited for the right moment to say those words. Dad was smoking a cigarette and stood up to put the ashes in the trash. With a trembling, nervous, almost inaudible voice I said, ‘Dad, I love you.’

“He had his back to me, and he didn’t turn around or say anything or do anything. I was sure he hadn’t heard me. And so, weakly, I repeated it. ‘Dad, I love you.’ And then, very slowly, he turned toward me. My insensitive, untouchable dad had tears streaming down his cheeks. He put his arms around me and held me close and kissed the top of my head. That was the first time in my sixteen years that I could remember my dad and me embracing.

“Today I’m a mother with my own big family. I love you is a familiar phrase, used often in our home. And what of my beloved dad? Today he is a high priest, working diligently at building up the kingdom of God” (Lois Christensen, “Telling My Father I Loved Him,” Ensign, Feb. 1978, p. 51).


Teacher presentation

Remind the young women that by divine appointment the father is the patriarchal head of the home. The Lord has given him the responsibility for the spiritual and temporal welfare of his family, and he will be held accountable for that responsibility. It is his calling to preside and direct the affairs of his home and family in a spirit of righteousness and love. Each family member has the obligation to support and sustain the father in his patriarchal role. There is much a young woman can do to fulfill this responsibility herself and to influence other family members to sustain their father in his important role.

Lesson Application

Ask each young woman to choose from the list on the chalkboard two or three things she will do this week to support her father in his patriarchal role.