Well, I stumbled on some of the writings of Fred Collier, an apostate who has written some doctrinal commentary on restoration beliefs. I used to feel like a faithful rebel for reading any apostate literature but I am to the point where I feel like I have my hand in the cookie jar whenever I review their insights. His article on the Patriarchal order of Priesthood can be easily unearthed by doing a google search. I didn't happen to agree with his conclusions so I researched this statement out on my own to come to a conclusion. I wrote this a few months ago and ended up editing the wikipedia page entry on this subject because I believe they were -way- off.
In Nauvoo, Illinois on August 27, 1843, while the Nauvoo Temple was being constructed, Joseph Smith, Jr. taught, using Hebrews 7 as background material, the "Three Grand Orders" of priesthood:
- There are three grand orders of priesthood referred to here.
- 1st. The King of Shiloam (Salem) had power and authority over that of Abraham, holding the key and the power of endless life.... The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right from the eternal God, and not by descent from father and mother; and that priesthood is as eternal as God Himself, having neither beginning of days nor end of life.
- The 2nd Priesthood is Patriarchal authority. Go to and finish the temple, and God will fill it with power, and you will then receive more knowledge concerning this priesthood.
- The 3rd is what is called the Levitical Priesthood, consisting of priests to administer in outward ordinances, made without an oath; but the Priesthood of Melchizedek is by an oath and covenant.
- The Holy Ghost is God's messenger to administer in all those priesthoods.
Eight years earlier, the prophet had dictated a revelation that declared, “There are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood”. At the time this revelation was recorded, there were, in fact, only two orders of priesthood in the Church. By the time of the 1843 Nauvoo discourse, the temple was under construction and Joseph declared that knowledge of the “Patriarchal authority” would be revealed in the temple.
The Nauvoo Temple was constructed by 1844 and dedicated to the lord in 1846 by Orson Hyde. It was the first Latter-day Saint temple where the ordinance of Eternal Marriage was practiced.
The Latter-Day Saints believe that the oath of the Priesthood referenced in Hebrews 7 was revealed to Joseph Smith in a revelation in Kirtland, Ohio on September 22 and 23, 1832. This revelation is contained in the Doctrine and Covenants. The promise of this oath is critical to understanding their belief in exaltation.
- "They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God."
Bruce McConkie famous Latter-day Saint Scholar and Mormon Apostle wrote in his apologetics work "Mormon Doctrine" regarding the subject.
- "Those who shall hereafter rule and reign in eternity as exalted beings will form a patriarchal chain which will begin with Father Adam and spread out until every exalted person is linked in. Exaltation consists in the continuation of the family unit in eternity, and every family which so continues will find its proper place in the eternal organizational framework which the Almighty has ordained. None will be forgotten. Unworthy mortal links will be dropped in eternity, for there is no family in which all generations will attain exaltation; later generations of worthy families will be welded into the links formed by their ancestors who became worthy of a like exaltation with them. All those after the day of Abraham (of whatever literal lineage they may be) who so live as to be worthy of a place in this great patriarchal chain will be welded into Abraham's lineage and shall rise up and bless him as their father."
The word Patriarch means "Father-Ruler" and one can not have a Patriarch with out a Matriarch. Latter-day Saints believe that Man and Women can be joined in marriage for all eternity if done with the proper authority and in the bounds of a Temple. This (Eternal Marriage) is the definition of the Patriarchal Order of the Priesthood.