A patriarchal blessing is a letter from a loving Father in Heaven. Each blessing is different and individualized for the person receiving it, but each blessing also contains similar information. Each blessing declares lineage, lists gifts, and gives admonitions, counsel, and warnings, as well as any other pertinent information needed by a particular individual.
Each patriarchal blessing includes a declaration of lineage. This declaration states that the individual is of the house of Israel or a descendant of Abraham that belongs to a specific tribe of Jacob (also known as Israel). It does not matter whether a person is born within the lineage of Abraham or adopted into the family by membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Church members are counted as a descendant of Abraham and an heir to all the promises and blessings contained in the Abrahamic covenant.” Many members of the Church of Jesus Christ are from the tribe of Ephraim. This tribe was given the leadership responsibility to prepare the earth for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
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.
A patriarchal blessing will contain counsel and promises, but it mostly likely will not give all the details of one’s life. If a particular event – such as a mission, marriage or children – is not mentioned in the blessing, this does not mean that the person will not have that opportunity in life. In addition, recipients of patriarchal blessings should not expect that all events mentioned in the blessing will take place in mortal life because the blessing covers both mortal and eternal life. Patience may be required before blessings are bestowed. My blessing promised children and joy in their accomplishments. Yet, this blessing was delayed for several years and came in the Lord’s own time.
The important thing to remember about patriarchal blessings is that they are sacred and personal and not to be shared openly. They are meant to be treasured, pondered, and used as a guide to stay worthy of the promised blessings.
A current stake patriarch gives open counsel for recipients of patriarch blessings. In an article titled “6 Ways to Get More from Your Patriarchal Blessing (Advice from a Patriarch)” Garry H. Boyle gives the following suggestions.
1. Read your patriarchal blessing often. Studying your patriarchal blessing brings into remembrance your connection to God as His child and your intersection with His great plan of happiness, with its duties and promised rewards. Reading it often will bring you back to your roots and faith…. Just like reading a scripture, pondering it becomes a lightning rod for more inspiration.
2. Understand who can interpret your blessing. Discovering the interpretation of your blessing is your responsibility, and an exercise in receiving revelation…. Come to understand your blessing so that you can set your goals based on the opportunities and tasks God wants you to accomplish….
3. Share and discuss our blessing with your spouse. [Just as we focus better with two eyes] God designed marriage in much the same way. God’s plan of marriage between a man and a woman provides two distinct perspectives with the overlap being a focus on God…. Studying each other’s blessings together strengthens our bonds and develops common focuses, reminding us of the potential we saw in that person and the potential within ourselves…..
4. Remember your gifts and make goals to use them often. Gifts are like muscles; they need to be used before they will grow strong and benefit those God has put in our path....
5. Use your blessing to learn about the Abrahamic covenant. A deeper understanding of God’s covenant promises will increase your understanding of your role as an heir of the covenant he gave Abraham and your motivation to work for His promised blessings…. You are Abraham’s descendant as declared by God in your blessing and you can live as valiantly as he did.
6. Look for the mission and genealogy ties to your tribe. Knowing the tribe you come through will provide you with a mission. Part of that mission is to seek out the living and the dead that are part of the covenant people…. Another part of your mission is to pray and look for the descendants of your tribe that God will place in your path….
Boyle reminds us that a patriarchal blessing is “a gift from a loving Father” and a “loving letter from God [that] deals with spiritual gifts, celestial goals, divine promises and rewards, and various temporal blessings and principles intended to support your spiritual development.” It is a gift that should be treasured and used in order to reach full potential.
I immediately went to my patriarchal blessing as soon as I read Boyle’s article. As I read over my blessing it seems that everything in it has been fulfilled, but I am positive that there are many more blessings to receive. An example is my joy in the accomplishments of my children and their posterity. There are also some warnings that I need to remember and some admonitions to follow. I am truly grateful for my personal letter from a loving Heavenly Father for it has given me great comfort, guidance, and strength for the past fifty years.