Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Patriarchal Blessing

Every Mormon child looks forward to receiving their Patriarchal Blessing from their Stake's Patriarch.

To help that sentence make sense, let me explain. First, the word Stake. Think of a Parish; Mormons are divided up into Wards (congregations), which is based on geography. I attended Brea 1st Ward growing up. Some of the friends who went to school with me were in my Ward, but some attended Brea 3rd Ward, which met at the same building, but at a different time. Now Brea is a city in California and it had enough Mormons dwelling within city limits to warrant three Wards.

Now if you took those three Wards, plus a handful of others from neighboring cities, they make up a Stake. For example, the Brea Wards and the Placentia Wards made up the Placentia Stake.  Every Stake or region has a patriarch.  Still following? Good.

A patriarch is a man that is 'called of god' and is the only one who can bestow a Patriarchal Blessing. He is usually an older gentleman, who has been a Bishop before and possibly even a Stake President.  It's a big deal to get one, because you are promised that, if you live righteously and follow the gospel, the blessings that the patriarch promises you will come true.

A fun fact: The church used to charge $1 for the blessing back in the 1800s, and bumped the price up to $2 (which was like $50) before they forbid charging for them in the early 1900s.

Now, I know what you are thinking; maybe images of Tarot Cards or fortune tellers are popping up in your head. But allow me to reassure you that the church frowns upon those kinds of thoughts.  That stuff is silliness, this patriarch stuff is totally for real.

To be fair, the blessing is based upon Jacob's blessings to his sons. (Genesis 47:29-49:32) Though I am pretty sure Jacob didn't charge...

 The patriarch that gave me my blessing was Patriarch Ray Lowe. I was given my Patriarchal Blessing on November 15th 1994. I was 14. I was excited, and it was expected of me to go.

It reads:

"(My full maiden name), by virtue of the Holy priesthood vested in me and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I gratefully and humbly lay my hands upon your head this night and pronounce upon you a patriarchal blessing. This blessing will be a means of comfort to you, be a guide, a source of strength and faith as you listen to the words that come to you through the power of the priesthood.

Your life here is an important part of your journey back to your Heavenly Father. Because of the setting and nature of our mortality we are faced with many decisions and with many temptations, but you will know that the Lord knows and loves you and knows the end from the beginning and thus those things which will come to you will be calculated to give you experience, to help you grow in your faith and testimony, to give you direction so that you will live the life that will accrue to you the blessing of those who are faithful.

Your existence in the premortal life has much meaning for you. You were found worthy and faithful and thus have the privilege of coming to earth in this important time when the Kingdom of God has been established in the last days for the last time, peopled with those who have the spirit of Christ within them and a desire to be teachable and humble, to be led and directed by the Holy Spirit to respond to those principles of righteousness that they may find joy in this life and be prepared and qualified to return to our Heavenly Father.

You are of the House of Israel and through this heritage you are rightfully worthy of the blessings of Abraham, Isacc, and Jacob, and especially through the lineage of Ephraim comes to you the privilege of being a member of the Kingdom of God with great responsibility to live your life in an exemplary way with great love for your fellow beings and with an understanding that what you do is important in building the Kingdom of God on the earth.

You have received many gifts from your Heavenly Father, not the least of which is a love for others, faith in the Savior Jesus Christ, a knowledge of the reality of your Heavenly Father and of His great purposes.So I counsel you to continue to study faithfully and deeply, prayerfully, that this great understanding may increase to fill your whole soul, that you may have the courage and strength to make the proper decisions as you go through this life.

You have a heritage from those who have gone before, even your parents, your grandparents, and so on and many of the things you enjoy this day come from them, through their faithfulness, through their desire to bring to their posterity a way of life, the way to life eternal.

You will be a leader among your friends and associates in your immediate surroundings. You will be and influence for good. You will lead them to do good and be an example of righteousness. You will learn that the calling that you have in the Kingdom of God is to prepare yourself to teach the gospel through precept and example and to prepare yourself to teach you very own, even your children, those who will come to you as gifts from God. You will have the privilege of going to the House of the Lord, eve the temple, there to receive understanding and learning and an increase in your faith through the gifts of the Lord to those who qualify themselves for those great priesthood blessings.

I commend you for your sweetness, that in your tender years you have been willing to comply with those commandments which the Lord has given, for being honest and upright and clean and pure, being willing to live the law of chastity. And now as you are at an age in preparation for seeking greater learning in your schooling, I counsel you to apply yourself well, to listen to the teachers and to discern truth from error, and to base your growth and your decisions upon righteous principles.

I bless you in your home that you may be kind and considerate. You will do your part to make it a place of love and peace. You will be a steward over many things both physical and spiritual. You will can for those things properly and do your part to have a home of order and love, a home of glory, a home of God.

I bless you that you may seek those who need friendship; be a friend to all. Live the principles of righteousness and by so doing you will be a blessing to those who know you. If you will continue to be teachable and to prepare yourself in all things, the Lord will call you to be an emissary in His name, to carry this great message to those who know it not. You can be in your own right, a savior on Mt. Zion. At this tender age you may also have the privilege of seeking out understanding and knowledge of those who have gone before, particularly those of your own line, to know who they are and if they have not received the blessing of life, the gospel principles, the saving ordinances, it will be your right to prepare those things necessary so they may receive this great gift from you through the blessings of the Holy Ghost and the power of the priesthood.

I bless you that you may learn the things that are important are those things which will help you to be a friend to others, to make that area of your life in which you will spend the most time, even your home, a place of comfort and cleanliness and joy, where the spirit of the Lord will bring light and warmth as each day begins and ends with prayer. And you will seek a companion who will be equal to you and possess the same righteous goals to be truthful to the principles of the gospel and to establish an eternal family. These blessings are great.

There are many ways in which we may serve. If you desire to develop your talents and abilities to do things for the blessing of others you will have great joy therein.

I commend you for the preparation in your life and would exhort you to be aware that the next few years are very important. If you will follow through and listen to your teachers, priesthood leaders and parents as they attempt to teach you by example and precept those things which are eternal, you will prayerfully seek obedience to those righteous principles which come to you. You will be strengthened and blessed to overcome all temptation of evil, you will be safe in the hands of the Lord, you will walk peacefully through this life on the pathway of righteousness, knowing that Satan will not have power over you greater than you have power to resist and that you will be able to fulfill your earthly stewardship here and rejoice in the peace of the Lord as you are called home to receive that great reward to be with Him.

I pronounce these blessings upon you knowing that you have much to do and you have been given the qualifications and the ability to fulfill all of these requirements-- going through this life peaceful and happy and content to know that the Lord knows you and loves you and desires all that is good for you.

I bless you that you may be able to listen to your teachers in seminary and institute and that you will seek the areas of understanding. God will bless you in all your desires in righteousness.

I send you forth with the blessing that all is well and that you will be able to find much strength in the knowledge that the truth is here, that God is in the heavens and that our Savior Jesus Christ has made that great sacrifice, the atonement that we will live again.

I seal upon you these blessings together with all others which are rightly yours through your obedience and send you forth in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

Now, I was told to keep this to myself and not to share it, ever. The one exception would be my one day husband. It's hard to keep things mysterious and unique if it's out for the world to see. So there it is. My personal horoscope blessing. Generic? Maybe. Can apply to almost anybody? Sure. But trust the church when they say that, "the blessings' fulfillment are often conditioned on members' faithfulness to the church, helping keep members obeying the church leaders and blaming themselves instead of the patriarchs' accuarcy when the promises are not fulfilled." So if the blessing ends up being wrong or misleading, it's not the patriarchs fault, it's yours.