Answer/Patriarch Robert C. Fletcher
I recently had the opportunity of giving my son his patriarchal blessing followed immediately by a father’s blessing since he was planning to leave home for the next two years. The contrast was interesting. The patriarchal blessing put his whole life in perspective, identifying his lineage, and giving blessings and admonition to provide guidance and comfort for the rest of his life. The father’s blessing pertained primarily to the near future, intended to sustain him over the next two years. The patriarchal blessing was recorded, transcribed, and will be preserved permanently in the archives of the Church. In order for him to receive it, a recommend had to be obtained from his bishop. The father’s blessing was also transcribed, and will be kept in the family record but not in the Church records. No recommend was required.
President Spencer W. Kimball has issued the following policy statement: “Certainly we should give new and additional emphasis to the role of the father in giving blessings to children in the family. I think we should generally leave to the ordained patriarchs in the stakes the responsibility of declaring lineage in connection with an official patriarchal blessing, but still we could leave unlocked the door so that any father who felt inspired to pronounce the lineage in connection with a father’s blessing he was giving to his children should not be prevented from doing so.” (Suggestions to Patriarchs, p. 3.)
Thus in my case, since I was both patriarch and father, I could have given a patriarchal blessing that included the father’s blessing or I could have expanded the father’s blessing to include the greater perspective of the patriarchal blessing. I chose not to do either, but instead to keep them separate. The patriarchal blessing I expect to be contemplated for my son’s whole life. Eventually he may want to share it with his wife and his children, or even grandchildren. If he loses his copy, he can procure another from the Church Historian’s Office. Thus it becomes a document with considerable stature, to be treated with respect and reverence, something like a personal scripture.