Evangelist (Latter Day Saints)

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In the Latter Day Saint movement, an evangelist is an ordained office of the ministry. In some denominations of the movement, an evangelist is referred to as a patriarch (see Patriarch (Latter Day Saints)). However, the latter term was deprecated by the Community of Christ after the church began ordaining women to the priesthood. Other denominations, such as The Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite), have an evangelist position independent of the original patriarch office instituted by the movement's founder Joseph Smith, Jr.

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Early Latter Day Saint movement

The first references to the term evangelist in Latter Day Saint theology were mainly consistent with how the term is used by Protestants and Catholics.

In 1833, Joseph Smith, Jr. introduced the new office of Patriarch, to which he ordained his father. The elder Smith was given the "keys of the patriarchal Priesthood over the kingdom of God on earth", the same power said to be held by the Biblical Patriarchs, which included the power to give blessings upon one's posterity.[1] The elder Smith, however, was also called to give Patriarchal blessings to the fatherless within the church, and the church as a whole, a calling he passed onto his eldest surviving son Hyrum Smith prior to his death. Hyrum himself was killed in 1844 along with Joseph, resulting in a Succession crisis that broke the Latter Day Saint movement into several smaller denominations.

It is not known who first identified the term evangelist with the office of patriarch. However, in an 1835 church publication, W. W. Phelps stated,

Joseph Smith also identified the term evangelist with the office of patriarch in 1839, stating that "an Evangelist is a Patriarch".[3]

The necessity of an evangelist office in the church organization has been reinforced repeatedly, based on the passage in Ephesians 4:11, which states, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers". In 1834, while writing what he called the "principles of salvation", prominent early Mormon co-founder Oliver Cowdery stated that:

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