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I received my Patriarchal Blessing when I was seventeen years old. My parents taught me the importance of fasting and prayer-especially before an event like this. We drove about 30 minutes from our home in Connecticut to another suburb of NYC. I remember meeting the Patriarch, James Bonner. I had probably seen him before at a Stake Conference but I remember thinking he was SOOO old. (In reality he was probably in his late 60’s early 70’s) We met at their home and as we walked in, I clearly remember feeling the Spirit of the Lord present. As I was fasting and had been praying that Heavenly Father would give me clear direction in my life, I knew that feeling that spirit was an answer to my prayers. As he laid his hands on my head I felt power. That is the best way I can describe it. There was clear power in that blessing. I have relied on it now for thirty-three years. It has led me and directed me as I have followed warnings, counsel and direction. It has given me comfort and hope in times of desperation. It has helped me to see myself and others in a different way as I strive to become who Heavenly Father sees me as being.
Patriarchal Blessings in our family
My father was called to serve as Patriarch and my mother as scribe when our oldest daughter was just 13. When she was 14 she, as the oldest grandchild had the opportunity to receive her Patriarchal Blessing from the hands of my father and the clear voice of the Lord. We were able to do it in our home. She had invited my brother and sister who lived there, her sister just below her, Calvin, myself and of course my parents. As my father laid his hands on her head, it was as if a rush of wind came into the room and yet there was a calmness I had not felt for a while. It was clear that many spirits from the other side were present in the room and it was actually stated in the blessing. This was so comforting to my husband as he had recently lost his mother. She was there and we knew without a doubt. A similar experience happened with each of our three other children who have received their blessings. That rush and then a peace that is indescribable.
Seeing our children as God sees them
I believe the thing I have loved more than anything, as our children have received these special blessings, is the opportunity to see them as God sees them. As their mother-of course I think they are amazing but I also see their shortcomings, sassy attitudes, mistakes, bad grades….:) I love them for who they are but my eyes cannot see clearly who they are fully. I cannot see now the leaders they were before they came to earth. I do not remember hearing how they shouted for joy and actively defended the Savior Jesus Christ. As I watch them grow up, mess up, repent, come to Christ and make more mistakes, I read and re-read these amazing blessings that Heavenly Father has given them-yes, but He has also given me. As I read these, I can authentically be their cheerleader! I can see in them things that they cannot yet see in themselves. I can read these and look ahead with anticipation for the way that their struggles, trials and mistakes will bless their lives and the lives of many others as they follow the counsel fo the Lord.
Tools to understanding your Patriarchal Blessing
My father, as a patriarch has counseled us to read our patriarchal blessings every Sabbath (another great activity for my Sabbath Day The Savior’s Way post.) He and my Mom have given many firesides about Patriarchal Blessings. They have helped us to understand how to study our own blessings and how to better follow the counsel given. The tools they have shared have been so helpful for me in understanding and utilizing my own blessing.
Some great books to help with understanding Patriarchal Blessings:
There is also so much more to understanding the “lineage” portion of our blessings. I feel like we often pass over that to get to “the good part” when the reality is that so many of the blessings we receive come in accordance to our lineage and if we fully understand the rights, privileges and expectations that go along with our lineage we can better understand the blessings that God has prepared for us.
It wasn’t until I taught the Old Testament in Seminary that I really took the time to study and understand my own lineage and the promises that came with it. The study of our lineage will give us great tips in the roles that our lives play in the gospel in these last days. Sister Nelson told a story of being in another country at a Women’s Conference. In the audience of a few hundred that she was speaking to, every one of the 12 Tribes of Israel was represented. How cool is that! We all have a different task to do to prepare the earth for the Second Coming of Christ. Study your lineage in the scriptures along with your blessing and you will find amazing gifts that are yours simply through lineage!
Your Patriarchal Blessing is Your Road Map For Life
It has been said by many prophets and apostles that your blessing is your personal Liahona or road map. You can follow it, heed the warnings, gain the promised blessings, or ignore it and lose out on many promises. I have had family members who have done both and how sad it is to see blessings that could have come to their lives that never did because of choices they made.
Patriarchal Blessings are Eternal
One of the most important things we need to remember is that these blessings are given for our eternal life. There are many different situations where promised blessing will not come to pass in this earthly life. What a comfort it is to know that our lives are eternal and as we live or lives in accordance to God’s commandments, we will receive those blessings according to God’s timing.
Just like studying our scriptures, studying our patriarchal blessings can allow God to speak to us easier. The language of the Spirit comes clearly through is as we have scriptures and our blessing set in our mind. Reminders of things we should do and need to be can come into our mind through memorized phrases that have already been told to us. This makes it so much easier for the Spirit to communicate to us because it is already in our mind. I mentioned earlier that my father gave our children their blessings. In the beginning with our oldest (about 10 years ago) he suggested she read her blessing on Fast Sunday every month. Now when he gives a blessing, he has felt prompted to suggest that hey read it every Sunday. Also this is a great Sabbath Day activity.
Patriarchal Blessings are Not a New Concept
Patriarchal Blessings have been around for thousands of years. Abraham gave his sons these blessings as I am sure very worthy father and prophet did for their children. The office of Patriarch is one in the Melchizedek priesthood and today we have actual Patriarch’s called and set apart to give these blessings to guide our lives. Unlike a Father’s Blessing these are blessings that cover our eternal lives. It is an amazing gift that Heavenly Father has given us. Another tool to help us return to him. I hope that we will use this gift to help us find our way through life and give us the confidence that we can return to our Heavenly Father as we follow the path He has laid before us.