Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

Some of my friends received their patriarchal blessings recently. Now they, and my parents, are encouraging me to get mine. But I’m not sure if I want to yet. What should I do?

New Era

A patriarchal blessing serves two main purposes. It tells of your lineage in the House of Israel and of the wonderful blessings and hopes the Lord has for you if you live worthily.

A patriarchal blessing is not like having your fortune told.

However, it does concern your future and can serve as a guide or personal scripture for you as you grow and mature spiritually. As with all blessings, the fulfillment of your patriarchal blessing depends on your obedience and staying close to the gospel.

Receiving a patriarchal blessing is not scary.

In fact, that may be one of the reasons your friends and your parents are encouraging you to get yours. They know what a nice experience it is and would like you to have that too.

To overcome your hesitations, talk with your parents and with your bishop about patriarchal blessings. You may want to fast and pray. Then when you feel prepared, you can go ahead and decide when you feel ready to get yours. Don’t let unreasonable fears make you postpone a wonderful experience.

Are you afraid that the Lord will tell you what he expects of you?

Actually the Lord has already revealed many things he expects of you. You’ve been taught them all your life in the Church. And you’ve already made commitments—at baptism, each time you take the sacrament, when you receive the priesthood. The commitments mentioned in your blessing will not be greatly different. But in addition to the blessings promised to everyone by the scriptures, you may receive specific blessings promised just to you.

Then why should you get your patriarchal blessing if the Church already teaches you how to live?

Remember a patriarchal blessing is an expression of the Lord’s love for you personally. It’s like receiving a blessing from your father or from the bishop, but it is unique because you receive only one recorded, formal patriarchal blessing. It can help you understand through the Spirit your own marvelous potential and some of the great blessings the Lord has in store for you as you keep his commandments. You will see yourself through the Lord’s eyes.

In order to receive your blessing, you need to obtain a recommend from your bishop. If you are plagued by feelings of unworthiness, this is a good opportunity to clear things up. If you have specific things in your life that need to be changed, talk with your bishop about how to go about putting things right.

If your feelings are not a reflection of anything specific you are doing wrong, then you may need to fast and pray about your decision. Your blessing can actually help you overcome unwarranted feelings that you are somehow not measuring up.

After you obtain your recommend, then you can call your stake patriarch and make an appointment. Your blessing will be recorded and a copy typed up and given to you to keep and read over and over. Your blessing is given just to you, but family members may be present if you desire. Your blessing is sacred and personal and should not be read aloud in Church meetings or in public gatherings.

Read your blessing often. Pray for understanding, and it will help you in decisions and in making goals throughout your life.

Readers

First of all, never make any decision of such great importance as this without first praying about whether or not it is the right time for you. Ask your parents and your bishop for guidance as well because they can help you make this decision.

Melanie McLean, 16 Duxbury, Massachusetts

Remember, this is not for your friends’ or your parents’ benefit. It is for you.

Kara Connerly, 14 Logan, Utah

Your patriarchal blessing is very special. It is meant as personal guidance to help you through your life in the best way possible. It will tell you things that are meant especially for you. I am preparing myself to receive mine by keeping close to the Lord and by understanding the importance of this special kind of guidance.

Sally Ahlmann, 18 Slagelse, Denmark

After hearing the stake patriarch speak in sacrament meeting, I felt inspired to ask my bishop for a recommend. Then the patriarch and I set a date. As I entered his house that morning, I knew I was on the right path. We told each other a little about our lives. After that, the patriarch laid his hands upon my head and began to prophesy about my life. I could feel that it was all true and that it was really God that was speaking through the patriarch. I wept. I learned many things about myself that day.

Jared Edge, 18 Layton, Utah

I chose to have my patriarchal blessing at a time when I wasn’t quite sure where my life was leading. I figured if I was going to make something of myself, I ought to have a carefully laid out plan or some sort of Liahona to direct the course I was taking. My patriarchal blessing has helped me make a lot of crucial decisions. I’ve set my goals and priorities in life, and I’m working hard to accomplish what Heavenly Father wants me to do.

Olivia R. Codina Cebu, Philippines

You need to have the desire yourself. President Benson has told us to regard a patriarchal blessing as personal scripture.

Deeanna Chappell, 15 Lyman, Utah

At times when I feel like I’m stumbling down the path of righteousness, my patriarchal blessing can be such a comfort to me. If we remain righteous, the blessings promised to us can be like a candle of hope lighting the way through the storms of life.

Jubilyn Shoemaker, 16 Auburn, Washington

Receiving your patriarchal blessing is your decision, but it’s something you’ll never regret doing.

Elder John Baker, 20 Oregon Portland Mission

I had the same problem. After a friend got his, the pressure was on. My parents were asking me to think about it, and my seminary teacher did the same. Up to this point I had done nothing that concerned prayer or reading the scriptures. I did both and decided to receive my patriarchal blessing. I think what I’m trying to say is don’t let friends or family members pressure you into it, but pray, read your scriptures, and make your decision based on what you feel is right.

Boyce Campbell, 14 Bakersfield, California

Before I got my patriarchal blessing, I prayed to know if it was the right time for me to receive my blessing. Then I prepared myself by becoming more spiritually in tune. When the day came I was so excited! While my patriarchal blessing was being pronounced upon me, I imagined that my Heavenly Father was there with his hands on my head saying the words himself. In that way my patriarchal blessing was much more personal to me.

When your time comes, fast and pray for the Spirit to be with you. Pray for your patriarch that he might feel of the Spirit so he will be able to say those things which your Father in Heaven has need for you to know. If you do, your experience will be one you will never forget.

Colleen Peterson, 15 Salem, Oregon

[photo] Photography by Craig J. Moyer

[illustration] Patriarchs today possess the same power by which Jacob blessed his sons anciently. It is a power of revelation through which the Lord indicates blessings he has in store for you, personally. (Painting Jacob Blessing Joseph by Harry Anderson.)