Every worthy, baptized member is entitled to and should receive a patriarchal blessing, which provides inspired direction from the Lord. Patriarchal blessings include a declaration of a person's lineage in the house of Israel and contain personal counsel from the Lord. As a person studies his or her patriarchal blessing and follows the counsel it contains, it will provide guidance, comfort, and protection.
Declaration of Lineage
A patriarchal blessing includes a declaration of lineage, stating that the person is of the house of Israel—a descendant of Abraham, belonging to a specific tribe of Jacob. Many Latter-day Saints are of the tribe of Ephraim, the tribe given the primary responsibility to lead the latter-day work of the Lord.
Because each of us has many bloodlines running in us, two members of the same family may be declared as being of different tribes in Israel.
It does not matter if a person's lineage in the house of Israel is through bloodlines or by adoption. Church members are counted as a descendant of Abraham and an heir to all the promises and blessings contained in the Abrahamic covenant (see Abrahamic Covenant).
Learning from a Patriarchal Blessing
Those who have received a patriarchal blessing should read it humbly, prayerfully, and frequently. It contains personal revelation and instructions from Heavenly Father, who knows our strengths, weaknesses, and eternal potential. Patriarchal blessings may contain promises, admonitions, and warnings.
Those who follow the counsel in their patriarchal blessing will be less likely to go astray or be misled. Only by following the counsel in a patriarchal blessing can one receive the blessings contained therein.
While a patriarchal blessing contains inspired counsel and promises, it should not be expected to answer all of the recipient's questions or to detail all that will happen in his or her life. If the blessing does not mention an important event, such as a full-time mission or marriage, the person should not assume that he or she will not receive that opportunity.
Similarly, the recipient of the blessing should not assume that everything mentioned in it will be fulfilled in this life. A patriarchal blessing is eternal, and its promises may extend into the eternities. If one is worthy, all promises will be fulfilled in the Lord's due time. Those promises and blessings that are not realized in this life will be fulfilled in the next.
Patriarchal blessings are sacred and personal. They may be shared with immediate family members, but should not be read aloud in public or read or interpreted by others. Not even the patriarch or bishop or branch president should interpret it.
Those who have received a patriarchal blessing should treasure its words, ponder them, and live to be worthy to receive the promised blessings in this life and in the life to come.
To find out how to receive a patriarchal blessing, Church members should speak with their bishop or branch president.