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Patriarchal Blessing

By Melissa McQuarrie

In a couple of weeks my youngest daughter will receive her patriarchal blessing. She’s only thirteen, but for six months now she has been pestering me and my husband about getting her blessing. At first I brushed her off, thinking she wouldn’t be able to understand the blessing’s significance at such a young age, and told her it would be best if she waited until she was a little older. But she persisted. To her credit, for the past several months she has researched patriarchal blessings on her own, read talks and articles, asked me and my husband questions, fasted, pondered, and prayed. Her desire for her blessing has never waned, nor has her insistence that she is ready.

I’ve been conflicted over letting my daughter get her blessing at thirteen. I received my patriarchal blessing when I was twelve, and later I regretted not waiting longer. But my blessing occurred under unusual circumstances: We were living in Australia at the time. Because my father was a bishop, and the Church sent bishops and stake presidents in Australia to one General Conference during their tenure, my father had the opportunity to go to General Conference the October that I turned twelve. And since my two younger siblings and I had been born in the U.S., my parents decided to take a month-long family trip to the U.S. so we children could experience American culture and spend time with our American relatives. Since my father’s grandfather—my great-grandfather—was a patriarch at the time, and he was advancing in years (to put it nicely), my parents suggested I get my patriarchal blessing from him during our visit.

Of course, I was excited at the prospect—how many people can say that their great-grandfather gave them their patriarchal blessing? But I don’t remember if I prepared much—or at all—for the occasion. I was having too much fun hanging out with my cool American cousins, and my aunt, who was only three years older than I was, and having sleepovers and putting together talent shows for the big family reunion. I was enjoying going trick-or-treating for the first time, eating doughnuts and tacos and other delicious American food, and going to a real American high school for a day with my aunt.

But I do remember that on the day I received my blessing, as my great-grandfather placed his shaky hands on my head and pronounced a blessing in his quavering voice, calm and peace enveloped me, and I felt a distinct impression of being loved and known by God. About six weeks after we arrived back in Australia, a type-written copy of my blessing arrived in the mail, and I eagerly perused it, thought about it and what my future might hold, and then tucked it away in my drawer.

Over the years my blessing has been a comfort and a guide, and I’ve seen some of its promises unfold in my life, but I’ve always had a nagging feeling that I got my blessing too young. I wish I’d better understood its significance at the time. I wish I’d prepared myself more. I’ve even wondered if my blessing would have been longer, or more detailed, if I’d been older and better prepared when I received it.

So when my baby daughter approached me at thirteen and asked if she could receive her blessing, I advised her to wait. But over the past few months, as I’ve seen her longing and her earnest desire to receive her blessing, coupled with her spiritual maturity, I’ve come around to the idea of trusting her to know when she is ready. She is far more prepared than I was at twelve. A couple of weeks ago she met with the bishop for her interview, and came out of the interview beaming, recommend in hand. After fasting about it again last Sunday, tonight she’ll be calling the patriarch to make an appointment.

I’m still a little conflicted, but mostly I’m proud of my daughter for wanting to take this step. And I’m looking forward to being in the room when she receives her blessing, to the glimpse I’ll have of who my daughter really is and what the Lord has in store for her. I’ll savor the peace and joy of that sacred experience, knowing that, just as God knew me when I was twelve and knew the future me, as well, He knows my beloved daughter and knows who she is eternally. And there’s no age requirement for that.

How old were you when you received your patriarchal blessing? How did you prepare yourself beforehand? Do you wish you’d waited longer or prepared better? What advice do you give your children about receiving their patriarchal blessings? How has your blessing been a guide and help to you throughout your life?

About Melissa McQuarrie

(Advisory Board) grew up in Australia and California and now lives in Provo, Utah with her husband, four children, and their dog, Daisy. She served a mission in Peru and has a BA and MA in English from BYU. She loves reading, writing, and quiet afternoons. She does not love grocery shopping. Now that two of her children attend BYU and her youngest children are in high school and junior high, she is trying to adjust to this "emptying nest" stage and still wondering how it snuck up on her so fast.

42 thoughts on “Patriarchal Blessing”

  1. I admit, I'm a little puzzled by your post. Am I correct in thinking that you are saying you think your blessing would have been different if you were older when you received it?
    That doesn't jibe with how I perceive patriarchal blessings and their eternal nature. It seems to me that if we believe in the sacred responsibility of a patriarch and in the nature of patriarchal blessings, that the blessing would be the same (perhaps not the exact wording, but the essence) whether you received it at 13 or 20.
    But that is just my opinion.
    I received my blessing when I was 13. I was very keen to have my patriarchal blessing after much study and prayer. My blessing has served a guide for me since that time and I do feel great comfort from it.
    I don't think we need press our children when they are young teenagers to get their blessings, but if they bring it up and demonstrate a decent level of spiritual maturity, we shouldn't hold them back from the experience either.

  2. I received my blessing when I was 14. I am so glad that I didn't wait any longer. There were things in there that I needed to know and hear at that "young" age.
    My son was 17, and it was good that he waited. I have another son who is almost 14. He has asked about the blessing, but hasn't asked to receive it, yet.
    I think that any age is fine as long as the person receiving it knows the importance of it. Seems like your daughter is spiritually prepared, and that is what matters most.

  3. my 14 year old daughter recently received hers, and our patriarch said he wished more people would get it at an age to guide them through high school, we sometimes wait too long now in the church.
    a couple things to prepare–i heard a suggestion to be praying and fasting for the patriarch beforehand, and for the one receiving their blessing to think about and write out a list of questions they wanted the Lord to address. we also spent some time studying as a family about the tribes of israel and what their different responsibilities and blessings are, and had my daughter read our own blessings and talk about our experiences together.
    hope it's a beautiful experience!

  4. I got my blessing when I was 14. It was a good time for me. My dad had just left our family, and I needed the guidance. I was scared and unsure about my futre. The blessing gave me specific warnings about dating that helped guide me through my teen years. I think it also gave me a good sense of my worth to my Heavenly Father, and that helped me make good choices. I hope my children will be ready for it by the time they are about 15 because I would like for them to receive it before they turn 16, if possible.

  5. Tiffany, I think blessings are flexible and can vary according to many factors (not the declaration of lineage, but the blessing). If I had waited until I was older, and certainly if my blessing had been at the hands of a different patriarch, then I believe the blessing would be different. That's not a troubling thought to me.

    I received mine at fifteen, and while I could probably have prepared more, it was helpful for me. I've always appreciated Pres. Hinckley's thoughts on his own blessing (received at age 11), how even though it was not long, it contained everything he needed.

  6. Tiffany W., I guess I am saying that I've wondered if my blessing would have been a little more in depth—not different in the key aspects—if I'd come better prepared to receive my blessing. Perhaps the Lord is able to tell us more when we come seeking and prepared. I wonder if the patriarch is bound, to a certain extent, by the degree of readiness in the recipient, and in my case, I didn't come very prepared. I do know that when my son received his blessing several years ago, the patriarch remarked afterward that he could tell that my son came spiritually prepared, and said it had been much easier for him to give my son his blessing.

    Anita, thank you for sharing what your patriarch said—I appreciate that insight. Yes, having that guidance through high school would be very valuable.

    I'm loving these comments, especially from those of you who received your blessings at a fairly young age. I think it all depends on the readiness of the individual, and my daughter does seem ready. Judi, you said it well: "I think that any age is fine as long as the person receiving it knows the importance of it. Seems like your daughter is spiritually prepared, and that is what matters most." I agree. =)

  7. I was posting at the same time as Melissa Y., but if I'd read her comment before posting, I would have said, "What Melissa Y. said." =)

  8. I was 14, and my son who is 13 has been wanting to get his. I think it would be good for him right now.

    Before I got my blessing the patriarch sat me down and explained somethings about the blessings . He said it would be different now than if I got it later in life. And the words would be somewhat depending on the patriarch. It's not that I'm a different person, but different patriarchs explain things–and different ways, and if I was 28 when I got a blessing, for instance, then much of what I needed may have been different.

  9. I think the length and specificity of a blessing is tied to that individual, but we need to be careful what we read into that. My sister struggled for some years at having a blessing only half a page long, interpreting that as the Lord's hint that she would die young. It was very distressing to her in a family that had 3-page blessings. She even struggled with the patriarch's divine guidance, because he was placed in emeritus status due to advancing dementia shortly thereafter. She has gone on to do amazing things, and I've often wondered if she was one of those souls who needed to have less direction or stricture to her life so that she would explore. She is such an adventurer!

    I received my blessing at age 13, a worrisome age for me, and my blessing probably reflects that in how comforting it consistently is. It was a great help to me as I grew to maturity. As far as the usefulness of a blessing, I've found guidance in analyzing it as well as praying for further light and knowledge as I've gotten older. One copy is marked in different colors for blessings, pronouncements, warnings, and conditionals. As I listed these under each category, I noticed that the blessing built on itself, showing me a process I'd missed until my forties. I also noticed a theme that has changed the way I look at life.

    Patriarchal blessings are remarkable texts that are worthy of a lifetime of study. I don't think age of receipt is as important as our willingness to return to the text. My children have been 14 or 15 when they got theirs and all have been very different, but well-suited to their souls. I find necessary guidance from time to time reading the reduced copies of mine and theirs inserted in my scriptures. Your daughter will have a wonderful experience. You sound like a very conscientious mother.

  10. I was fifteen, living with an uncle. I didn't know the patriarch and never saw him again. I didn't even pay attention to what he said and I don't recall reading it for many years. But in all the moves—the foster homes, the different cities with my things packed in boxes and bags, I never lost it. Now, I'm amazed at the insight and the guidance it provides with consideration to my personality. I'm excited for your daughter 🙂

  11. I was barely 13. I had wanted my blessing for a long time. I wanted to hear about my husband and kids because I was a very anxious kid who worried about being raped and killed at a young age. Yep. That's why I wanted my blessing–so I would know if I had a future or not.
    Was I ready? Well, I fasted for a meal or two before but that's about it. So…probably not.
    But I don't regret it at all! I had years and years of comfort and assurance from my blessing–from the parts that I did understand. And then more comfort as I matured and was able to understand the other parts!

    My best friend wasn't so lucky. We were freshman in college and roommates and she still hadn't gotten her blessing. She felt inadequate and wanted to be "ready". I used all my powers of persuasion to tell her to "just do it!" and when she did she cried that she had waited so long for that precious gift. Her teen years were full of sadness and insecurity and her blessing was FULL of affirmations of what a choice daughter of God she is and what a wonderful future she had in store for her.
    I firmly believe it would have said the same things had she gotten it at 13 instead of 19. I firmly believe mine was the same at 13 as it would have been at 19 or 25. But oh how much comfort and guidance I would have missed out on!

    Our Stake Patriarch also spoke recently and encouraged the youth to get their blessings a.s.a.p. My 10 year old son expressed interest after that talk and I would not have refused him had he pursued the matter. Nor would the Patriarch!

  12. I was 14 when I received my blessing. My grandfather was our stake Patriarch, but he passed away when I was 13. I always felt bad that I hadn't been able to receive my blessing from him as my older siblings had. So I guess what I'm saying is that I wish I would have received my blessing at 12 or 13.

    My children all received their blessings at age 14 as well. It wasn't planned; just turned out that way. I actually didn't think my oldest son was ready at age 14 (in terms of spiritual maturity) and both my husband and I tried to persuade him to wait a few years. He wouldn't be deterred though and went ahead and scheduled appointments with the bishop and the Patriarch all on his own. We figured that if he had that much initiative and if his desire was that strong, we wouldn't stand in his way. It turned out to be a transformative experience for him.

  13. I received my blessing at 13 and it guided me through some rough years when nothing else could reach me. I am forever grateful to my parents for not only letting me, but encouraging me at such a young age. I recognize that the timing may be vastly different for everyone – but for me thirteen was exactly right.

  14. I agree with Bonnie Blythe. The contents of our blessings are as rich and helpful as we allow them to be. A blessing put away won't do us nearly as much good. My son, who received his at 17, was counseled by his bishop to read his patriarchal blessing every Sunday during the year leading up to his mission. He followed that counsel and had his blessing committed to memory by that time. It helped him stay focused and brought to mind the things he needed to remember as he prepared for his mission.

    Each patriarch is different–some are direct and matter-of-fact. Others are eloquent and flowery in their speech, but Heavenly Father can give us what we need, no matter the style of the patriarch's delivery. And as we read, new thoughts (inspiration) can help us understand how that blessing relates to where we are at any given time.

    I hope you have a wonderful time with your daughter. Being present for my oldest son and daughter's blessings are among the most wonderful experiences of my life and I'm looking forward to the time my two youngest children receive theirs. What a fantastic blessing that little piece of personal scripture is!

  15. Okay, so going back and reading the comments made me think about it a little more deeply…
    so maybe if you get it when your older, the things pertaining to youth would be left off since they're no longer relevant.
    But I don't think getting it younger (or when "unprepared" whatever that means) would ever in any way be a penalty. Nor would blessings you would need as an adult be left out. My dad got his when he was 7 because that's when the traveling patriarch came to his small town. My mom was a little girl for hers too–same reason. I don't think they were in any way penalized for getting it so young. For me personally, I feel blessed to have had it longer.

  16. I was 16 mostly because it seemed that 16 was about the age people in my ward got theirs at the time. My oldest is nearly 13 and we haven't even discussed a patriarchal blessing for him, although he wouldn't be able to get one now anyway. We'll have to see what the general feeling is when we live near a patriarch again.

    A very close relative of my husband is a patriarch which gave him and his family a little different perspective on patriarchal blessings. That patriarch often says that he's nervous every time he gives a blessing, even after 30 years.

    I also think there will unquestionably be differences in blessings depending on the patriach and the specific circumstances in your life at the time, although none of those things would significantly change what God wants to tell you overall.

  17. I can not remember exactly how old I was when I received mine, as I have not seen the original copy in YEARS and years. But I too, can say I was given my patriarchal blessing by my Great Grandfather. He was an amazing man, and I was very lucky to have received such a blessing from him. My Aunt transcribed the blessing for my great grandfather, and she gave me two copies… one that was the original official copy, and one that she had printed out on paper that fit perfectly in my scriptures. That is the copy that sits in my scripture case to this day, where I read and ponder the things mentioned in it.

  18. I like what has already been said.

    I also just think that this generation of kids is being encouraged to be more prepared in EVERY way. They simply live in a different time. I don't remember doing much to 'prepare' for my blessing, just like I hardly ever went to the temple to do baptisms, whereas the youth are encouraged (and are able, with more temples) to go frequently.

    I do believe that God can magnify our blessing to be what we need, regardless of when we receive it. I think of Moroni and his concerns about his weakness as a writer. I imagine our patriarchs feel some of that, but I believe God's grace can cover both our inadequacies or weakness as the receivers and them as mouthpieces.

  19. I was 19 and a freshman at BYU. I waited that long for a variety of reasons, but I also don't remember my parents or any of my church leaders bringing the topic up much when I was a youth. Mine is very precious to me; I had expected it to be more chronological and event-based, and it is not. It is much more about my personality and how I communicate with God and how should live my life. I have read it over and over again for the last 15 years and it is still a great treasure in my life.

    My oldest is only 8 and I really haven't even thought about blessings yet, probably because I got mine when I was older. Perhaps in a few years we'll start discussing it.

  20. I was 14 or 15 when I got mine and I fasted and prayed and was anxious about having it at the exact right time. In a father's blessing the beginning of that year, I was told that there wasn't one "perfect" time to have it, but that I would recognize through my desires and life experiences when a "good" time to have it would be. I received it a few months later and it has been a great guide to my life.

    My oldest will be 13 next month and given her maturity, I'm sure she will be having hers in the next year or two. My son will be 12 at the end of October and I think he too will have his in the next few years. I feel like both of them are spiritually well-prepared to receive — they know what the Spirit feels like, they pray often and fast with purpose and give wise insights when we discuss the gospel.

  21. For me, the beauty of the gospel is that I can seek and receive personal revelation every day of my life. So while my patriarchal blessing (received when I was a senior in high school)gave me essential direction, particularly regarding temple work, it has only been part of fifty years of sublime spiritual experiences and divine direction. If I had only had my patriarchal blessing for guidance, I would have missed out on a lot of amazing gifts from my Heavenly Father. I have taught the oldest group of primary girls for many years now and I'm constantly humbled by their spiritual maturity and powerful testimonies…

  22. My Husband was 9 when he received his. Don't go by what you "think" is right, but what you "feel" is right. If your daughter is having that strong of promptings, don't ignore them. There's a reason she needs it right now. And if you still have reservations, then get on your knees and take it to the Lord. He reveals all truth to those who seek it.

  23. I was barely 13 when I got mine, which was young for our stake. However, I had wanted to have my blessing for some time and was well prepared.

    When we got to the Patriarch's home he pulled me aside for a private interview before the blessing. His first question was about why I was there, wondering if I had prompted the appointment or my parents had. It was all me, which turned out to be the answer he was hoping for. He said sometimes when the urging had come from parents he ended up finding that the youth weren't ready, and at times, he had sent them home without a blessing, urging them to return when they felt ready.

    Sounds to me like your daughter is ready and is on her timing, so that's all that matters. Perhaps your blessing was not according to your timing, which is why you look back with some measure of regret. If your daughter is the one with the desire to move forward, as it seems, it will all be okay for her.

    Best of luck to you!

  24. I was in my mid twenties and the mother of three. It was never the right time before then. My blessing was given to me by Ariel Baliff, a BYU professor who was into drama and my blessing is dramatic. I love it. But, as I read the comments, I may have avoided many of my teen problems had I received the guidance earlier. I also believe that no matter the blesser's inspiration, what he confirms upon us will be for our good and will come to pass.

  25. The first time I scheduled a blessing, the patriarch died a week before I was supposed to meet with him. That kind of spooked me. Somehow in my teenage self centeredness I had the idea that God would take the stake patriarch rather than let me get my blessing when I wasn't fully prepared. I didn't want another patriarch to die because of me, so I didn't make another appointment until I was 19. Kind of silly.

  26. I was 17 when I received mine from my grandfather. I think it would have been better had I waited 2 or 3 years when I was a little more mature. My blessing was very specific about the meeting of my husband. I still dated a lot….17 years worth, before I met him and married him 10 months later. Had I been more mature I may have not dated so much.

  27. " Perhaps your blessing was not according to your timing, which is why you look back with some measure of regret. "

    I just had this same thought, right before reading that.

    And that thought helps reinforce a recent conversation I had with my son. "Are you going to say when I should/can get my blessing?" "No, I said." I felt that this was a good something for him to experience praying and seeking revelation about it, and this discussion is helping me feel even better about that decision to let him make the choice.

    But if we'd had an ailing grandfather as a patriarch, I'm not sure I wouldn't have done something similar to what your parents did, Melissa.

  28. I want to thank those of you who have commented on my post. I have learned a lot today! I wish I could respond to each one of you, but I'll just say that reading your comments reminded me of the importance of studying my patriarchal blessing often. I spent an hour this morning reading and contemplating my blessing, my husband's blessing, and my two oldest children's blessings—it was a very comforting and meaningful experience. One thing that especially struck me was how well the Lord knows each of us.

    Reading your comments today has also reassured me that we are doing the right thing in letting our daughter take this step. I do believe she is ready, and I know this will be a wonderful experience for her. I let her read my patriarchal blessing today and it was a tender experience for us both, and it gave her the opportunity to ask some questions. She called the patriarch tonight and made her appointment, and she was so excited afterward. When I tucked her in tonight she'd been reading an article that the patriarch emailed her and she had highlighted sections of it. I'm so looking forward to her receiving her blessing, and my heart feels full tonight. Thank you all, again.

  29. I had just turned 16 when I was able to receive my blessing. I had prepared for it and loved it. Over the years I have clung to the words to just through the days. My marriage hasn't been going as well as I had hoped…I have prayed if I should stay or go. I ponder my blessing and remember the words, "it is your choice" and then the words of the Temple President who married us…so hard, but chose to stay. While not perfect, I have been empowered since and the sweetness of knowing I have made the right choice has been calming.

    My oldest son received his blessing soon after turning 16. Unfortunately, he refuses to read it or even believe in it at 23. It breaks my heart and I am not sure if he was ready at 16 to hear those wonderful words…

  30. I received my blessing during my senior year in HS at the hands of a dear family friend. We were a family of girls and he had a family of girls, so he just kind of scooped up my whole family as an extension of his (his youngest daughter is a few years older than I am–the oldest in my family). He preferred to give blessings as special family home evenings where every member says wonderful things about the person about to receive their blessing. As a result, I heard the blessings of all my sisters. The blessing I received at his hands was filled with tenderness and fatherly intimacy. Until I started compiling patriarchal blessings for family history, I thought they were all like that.

    Some of my relatives, though they were born in the church and remained faithful their entire lives, never chose to receive blessings. I wonder how many were waiting for the right time, or worried about their preparation or just never got around to it. One of my relatives didn't get her blessing until she had grandchildren and if I had been her, I would have wished never to have received it. It was so disappointing (speaking mostly about the caliber of the stake she lived in because of what a fine man her stake president was and the gloom and doom of the last days because of the headlines in the Deseret News). Her ancestor received his blessing in Nauvoo and was promised that he could choose how long his mortal service would last. He died not long after his blessing and not long after the prophet Joseph Smith.

    My understanding is that a patriarchal blessing must state your lineage in Israel and promise you to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, but that everything else is at the discretion of the patriarch. I felt prepared to receive mine, that the time was right. I cherish it and am grateful to have received it from a tender family friend. Would my relative with the disappointing blessing have received something more warm and helpful if she were younger, if at the hands of a different patriarch? I don't know. Reading different blessings from different generations and from different circumstances in the lives of the recipients has made me wonder. And I don't have answers.

    My gut feeling on the subject of timing in general is to trust your daughter's hunger and thirst after righteousness, her willingness to prepare. I had such a desire to enter the temple when I was barely 21, a recently graduated woman with no marriage prospects and with a strong feeling that it wasn't time to serve a mission, maybe never (I did, though not till I was 24). My bishop would only entertain the idea if my parents were forcefully behind me and my parents wouldn't consider it, would not fast and pray with me (saying they already knew it wasn't a good idea, in case I went inactive). As much as I love my parents, their inattentiveness to my hunger and thirst after heavenly things broke my heart, still kind of does 20+ years later, but I do love the temple, oh how I love the temple! It sounds like you respect her spiritual preparation and maturity. That is a beautiful thing.

  31. I got my blessing when I was 20, mostly because I knew it was time, not because I necessarily felt ready. I didn't prepare very well, and didn't really realize what an awesome thing that blessing was, until years later. Now I keep a copy in my scriptures and read it often. It's interesting how many different things I've read into it over the years.

    My Mom was 13 when she got hers, and as she tells it, she was always disappointed in how short it was, and that it never said anything about her future family. It obviously really bugged her, because when she was 30, after 5 kids, she asked for another one. I didn't know you could do that. She got another one. It said basically the same as the first one, but expounded a lot more.

    My Grandma never got one when she was young. When she was in her late 60's my Mom told her she should get it. She finally did, and I know she was happy about it, and wished she hadn't waited so long.

    My brother really wanted his when he was 13. He was ready. He was very spiritually in tune at that time. My parents thought he was too young. They told him to wait. He never did get it. He has made many life choices since then that haven't been great, and I know my parents regret talking him out of it. He's now 40 and my parents have brought up a few times how much they wish they hadn't talked him out of it.

    I say, when a child is ready, let them, and support them. My two oldest have theirs. What a wonderful experience as a parent to share with a child. My last child is 18 and is starting to think about it.

  32. I was baptised at 16 and received my blessing at 17. Another teenage girl in our small branch had just received hers and that was the first time I had even heard of them. Was I ready after so little time in the church and truly knowing so little? I think I was as ready as I could have been at tha tparticular time. It was a beautiful experience and I went home and wrote it all down. Afterwards however my feelings became unsure because of what happened next.

    A while later the copy came in the post and I was excited and happy to open it and reread it. It was not the blessing I remembered. Some things had changed dramatically in the wording, some things had been removed altogether. I called the patriarch about it explaining what was written down and what I remembered clearly and had written down myself. He requested that I send it back to him. He called me later to tell me that he had listened to the tape several times. Each time he had heard his voice say the words he had sent me. After much prayer and time he heard a different blessing on the tape and sent me a copy of that and told me that was now my blessing. I had photocopied the first one and could easily compare them. One thing I definitely recall from the event is still not in either blessing. The part that truly upsets me is when it talks about my marriage. One tells me I will have a husband that loves and cherishes me, the other gives me a husband that I will learn to love. Which would you prefer!!

    I look at them both occasionally but have never felt that either were my 'true' blessing. I have not heard of this happening to anyone else. Any suggestions anyone?

    I am sorry, this post is not supposed to be therapy for me.

    If your daughter is spiritually prompted let her, it will be wonderful and a learning experieince too. Both of my teenage girls are less active and it pains me to miss out on this with them.

  33. oh wow Kay! I haven't heard of such disparities in blessings, but I have often felt and heard very specific impressions while listening to talks and went back to re-read them and been stunned that they didn't actually say what I so distinctly heard. I listened to a BYU Women's conference talk where the speaker had done the same thing–went back to re-read a conference talk that had specifically impressed her and the words said were not what she had heard. Perhaps what you heard and felt combined with both of the blessings the patriarch gave you are your blessing–the written words and the way the Spirit worked on you. For instance, I don't actually think it's mutually exclusive to have a husband who will love and cherish you and one whom you will learn to love.

    Did you keep your notes from the experience? I would probably try to pray and ponder over the three "blessings", asking the Lord what you need to know.

  34. Just something to share…I lost my mother suddenly and unexpectedly (66 years old, sudden aneurysm) 12 days ago…my heart is aching. One of the last conversations I had with her was regarding my son's blessing (she called for a report the day after he received it.) She was so excited for him. Then, a few days after her passing I found a copy of her blessing and found indescribable comfort in it. She died so suddenly, without any previous health concerns. It helped me to read that "the Destroyer would not be allowed to shorten her life….you will live in health….you will finish your mission in mortality." I still ache but found answers to my pleadings for peace in my mother's blessing.

  35. Shelly, I admire you for seeking guidance from your blessing while making that hard decision to stay in a difficult marriage. "While not perfect, I have been empowered since and the sweetness of knowing I have made the right choice has been calming." I'm so glad you've found some peace over your decision to stay. And I'm so sorry about your son. Prayers for you and for him.

    Angie, thank you for sharing your own patriarchal blessing experience as well as those of some of your ancestors. I think it would be fascinating to read my ancestors' patriarchal blessings. And thank you for reaffirming what I've concluded, as well: I need to trust my daughter's "hunger and thirst after righteousness."

    She-bop, interestingly enough, my mother received a second patriarchal blessing when I was in my early twenties. I think there was some question as to whether her lineage had been declared. The patriarch in our stake at the time was known for given "addendum" blessings, and we knew several people who received a second patriarchal blessing. Interesting….

    Kay, I'm glad you shared your story—no apologies needed! That would be unsettling. I think Angie had some good insights, and I second her advice to ponder over all three versions of the blessing and ask the Lord for guidance. You may already have done this. I am so sorry your daughters haven't received their patriarchal blessings yet—I can imagine how painful that must feel. I'm praying you'll have this experience with them someday, and that in the meantime you'll feel comforted by the assurance that the Lord knows and loves your daughters, knows their potential, and has a plan for their lives.

    And Christine, my heart goes out to you! I am so sorry for your loss. I am so glad you found your mother's blessing and were able to derive comfort from it. Prayers for continued comfort and peace as you deal with this difficult loss. I wish I could hug you.

  36. I had planned to get my blessing when I turned 14, but I guess there was some kind of "stupor of thought" because I didn't actually do anything about getting it until months after I turned 14.

    If there was any ordinance that I felt I received too early it was baptism (which I received at age 8, on schedule). After I was older and learned more about baptism, I looked back and felt that I really hadn't understood or appreciated what was going on. I don't worry about that now, but it was a little concerning for a while there.

    I like to read my patriarch blessing as if it is a personal letter from the Lord (changing the pronouns a little in order to do that).

  37. Kay, your story was interesting to me because a very slightly similar thing happened to me. When I got the typed copy of my blessing, I knew a part had been left out (fortunately for me, my mother remembered that part too). She called the patriarch and he was going to have us come over to his house to try to reconstruct that part with him since he thought he had already erased the recording. In the end, we didn't have to do that because he still had the recording and gave me a new copy with that part added in. That missing part of the blessing is important to me and in a way, I feel like things happpened the way they did to highlight that part of the blessing.

    I don't think it's unreasonable to talk to the patriarch where you live now, or to your bishop, about your discomfort with your blessing(s). Like others have mentioned, it is possible to get another, but at the very least, it's always okay to talk to people about things that bother you.

  38. I received my blessing when I was 17. I clung to it for many years, but now I have mixed feelings about it.

    Parts of it are clearly inspired–namely, the parts about my career. Other parts bear no resemblance to my life. For example, it tells me I will marry a young man and have children who will do great things for the Church–but I'm almost 42, and no husband or children are in sight.

    When we talk about promises in patriarchal blessings that aren't realized, we are quick to explain that those promises might be fulfilled in the next life, or perhaps we don't understand them, or perhaps we have sinned and therefore no longer merit the blessing. But I don't think those explanations always work. I wish someone had explained to me long ago that patriarchs are not infallible. The Lord works through imperfect people–that is, after all, His only option–and consequently, some people, including patriarchs, make mistakes.

  39. I think we err when we begin to treat our patriarchal blessings like fortune telling. Yes, God is perfect and his patriarchs are not, but that doesn't mean the reasons we all hear for why things promised in patriarchal blessings may not happen in mortality aren't actually true. We just don't know. We have to choose to hope. I love the candor with which Mary Ellen Edmunds talked about her patriarchal blessing. She was promised a husband and children that have yet to appear (I think she's in her eighties now). I heard her once talk about hitting her blessing on occasion. God's ways are not ours and that means that there is much about this life, that we can't see yet–like those optical illusion drawings where until you see the old woman, you can't see anything other than the young woman and then you just see.

    As painful as it is some times and will continue to be, I have faith in the Lord's love for me and so I have hope for the day when I will just see and the purpose in fallible patriarchs among many many many other aspects of mortality will be made known.

  40. I received mine when I was 12. I was very spiritually inclined. And I tended to feel very alone (despite being the sixth child of eight). Having my blessing was a great comfort to me. It spoke of lifetime friendships I would develop. I clung to that hope.

    My oldest son was 17, my younger son was 13. I think when you feel ready you are.

    And I appreciate what was said about patriarchs being fallible. A convert I know left the church after her blessing said she wouldn't marry in this life (she was rather masculine looking). She returned to being Catholic, married and had children. I alway felt sad about that blessing being the cause of her leaving the Church.

    For me my blessing has guided me and influenced many of my decisions.

    Hearing both my sons' blessings from the same patriarch was interesting in their similarities anddifferences.


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