Gospel Q&A is a series from LDS Daily that strives to answer important gospel questions from readers. Today, we answer the question, “How do I know if I’m ready to get a patriarchal blessing?”
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A young man may receive the Aaronic Priesthood on or after January 1 of the year he turns twelve. A child may be baptized after he or she has turned eight years old. Some opportunities are made available only after a certain age or at a set time.
Patriarchal blessings, however, are made available when a person is “ready,” and has no set time. This leaves it up to the individual and his or her bishop to determine readiness. What are some ways we can know it may be time to request a patriarchal blessing?
Patriarch Robert K. Wagstaff of the Springville Utah West Stake said a sincere desire to get your blessing may be the first step.
“You will reach the point when you truly desire to have a blessing—not because your friends are getting theirs but because you desire it for yourself.”
This desire may spring from any number of inspirations. Patriarch Wagstaff continued, “This may happen when you see others do things that you know are wrong. It may happen when a friend or relative dies. It may happen when you hear a talk in church that touches your heart. It may happen as you read the scriptures and learn more about the Savior. It may happen when you are alone and begin to feel God’s love for you. It may happen as you approach the age to serve a mission, go away to college, enter military service, or marry in the temple.”
It may happen, simply, because you keep thinking about getting a patriarchal blessing—it keeps coming back to mind.
Don’t Let Anxiety Delay You
At the same time, some of us may hesitate to receive a patriarchal blessing out of anxiety. We know we only get one blessing, so we may be tempted to put off a blessing that is waiting for us because we are anxious about it being the “right time.”
The Spirit may be nudging in the direction of receiving a patriarchal blessing but anxiety is putting on the brakes. How can we tell the difference?
Often, the Holy Ghost speaks first and the anxiety brought on by the adversary comes second.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband taught, “We must be confident in our first promptings. Sometimes we rationalize; we wonder if we are feeling a spiritual impression or if it is just our own thoughts. When we begin to second-guess, even third-guess, our feelings—and we all have—we are dismissing the Spirit; we are questioning divine counsel. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that if you will listen to the first promptings, you will get it right nine times out of ten.”
In a devotional given at Ensign College, Brother Loren Dalton reiterated Elder Rasband adding, “The first voice is usually from the Holy Ghost, but, the second voice is right on His heels because he needs to try and talk us into doing what he just told us to do.”
If you or your child have had impressions that it may be time to receive a patriarchal blessing, followed by feelings of fear or anxiety about moving forward, remember that the adversary is the enemy. He is not seeking our happiness. He would deprive us of all blessings if he could.
President M. Russell Ballard taught that worthiness is important in the pursuit of patriarchal blessing readiness. “Be thoughtful and ensure that your own life is in order. If there’s something going on in your life that you ought not be doing, let’s straighten that out so you can sit under the hands of the stake patriarch and be worthy to receive whatever Heavenly Father wants to bless you with.”
Worthiness, however, does not require perfection. An article about patriarchal blessing preparation in Gospel Living reminds us, “if you have a current temple recommend, you are worthy to receive your patriarchal blessing.”
Readiness is distinct from worthiness. A child, pure and innocent, may be worthy to enter the temple, but not ready.
The person desiring the blessing should be making efforts to bring the Holy Ghost into his or her life. Participating in regular personal prayer, scripture study, service, and having an appreciation for sacred things may all be signs of readiness.
Understanding the nature of patriarchal blessings can also help someone be prepared to receive one. For instance, “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.”
President Ballard added that people seeking a patriarchal blessing, “need to know that their blessing is not ‘some kind of fortune-telling experience.’”
A patriarchal blessing does not negate agency, nor does it give a play-by-play of all blessings or opportunities available to us. It’s a basic construction of blessings available to us if we stay faithful. It is not a blessing for time alone, but into eternity. Some promised blessings may be fulfilled in the next life.
Finally, a patriarchal blessing is personal and should be kept sacred. “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.”
When You’re Ready
“Simply stated, the best time for you to receive a blessing is when you are ready. Being ‘ready’ means being emotionally as well as spiritually prepared. This will probably be during your teenage years.”
There is no set time and we shouldn’t feel anxious about landing on the exact right day. We receive our patriarchal blessings when we are ready; when we have the desire, when we are worthy, and when we are prepared. If we meet those standards, then we should not let fear or anxiety get in the way of receiving the blessings the Lord has available for us.
It’s a patriarchal blessing, not a patriarchal curse. Have trust in the good gifts our Father gives and receive His personal word to you.
Disclaimer: While all of my answers will use scriptures and/or words of modern prophets, I do not represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don’t believe any of my answers are comprehensive. I’m just one person using the gospel I have been blessed with to bring hope, peace, and answers to other seekers of truth.