Sometimes we hear about people who, sensing the need for a little extra spiritual guidance, flip open the scriptures to a random page to see if something stands out. While this method may help occasionally (as a tender mercy of the Lord or just as a mental and spiritual exercise), there is a source of personal direction from the Lord that may be more helpful than the random scripture-flip.
“Read [your patriarchal blessing] frequently,” President Thomas S. Monson has said. “Study it carefully. Be guided by its cautions. Live to merit its promises. If you have not yet received your patriarchal blessing, plan for the time when you will receive it, and then cherish it.”1
President Monson has compared patriarchal blessings to a number of things, including the following, which can help you learn how to study your blessing.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see your name in the Doctrine and Covenants, like one of the early Church members mentioned there? Well, according to President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994), a patriarchal blessing is “personal scripture to you.”3 So if you think about how you study the scriptures, you can apply those ideas to studying your patriarchal blessing—making cross-references, keeping a journal of promptings you receive while you read, praying, pondering, making lists, memorizing “verses,” and so on.
Imagine yourself going along a narrow road with a white line down the middle. When it’s dark or foggy, it’s easy to veer off the road, but you can look to that line to keep you on track. As you study your patriarchal blessing, think of how its counsel and promises give you direction, safety, and peace when you face trials or difficult decisions.
Your patriarchal blessing doesn’t reveal all of the things that will happen to you in your life, but it does give you a sense of many of the amazing possibilities. Study each of these “chapters” of your life with an eye toward the bigger story of who and what you are becoming. Then the main character in this story—you—may start coming into sharper focus.
Remember, the Liahona was a perfect compass for Lehi’s family as they traveled to the promised land—if they heeded it and kept the Lord’s commandments (see 1 Nephi 16:28–29; Alma 37:38–40). In your journey to the promises in your patriarchal blessing, take special note of what this personal Liahona tells you about what to avoid and what to do to obtain those promises.
A passport allows you to enter a new land. But just having a passport doesn’t allow you to experience what that new land has to offer. You have to use it. Make frequent trips to a place of peace by studying your patriarchal blessing often.