The Mormon Office of Presiding Patriarch
Awards and Recognition:
Winner of the Mormon History Association Best Book Award, 1997.
A definitive history of the inherited office of Presiding Patriarch in the Mormon Church
The hereditary office of Presiding Patriarch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, first occupied by the father of the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith, had long seemed the focal point of a struggle for authority between those appointed and those born to leadership positions.
In Lost Legacy, now in paperback, Irene Bates and E. Gary Smith argue that the office's 1979 demise was inevitable. Chronicling the history of the office beginning with its creation in 1833, the authors illuminate the tensions between the leadership circle of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, headed by Brigham Young, and the potential rival power center of the Patriarch.
Asserting that the struggle was related to conflict between the Smith family and the rest of the leadership, the book makes the case that the real source of dissonance between the patriarchs and other church leaders was the impossibility of melding familial authority (the Patriarch) with official authority (the structured leadership of the church).
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