February 12, 2007

My Patriarchal Blessing

For those of my readers who are unfamiliar with the LDS or Mormon Church, I went to the LDS.org website to find an easy description of what a patriarchal blessing is, before I write about mine:

"Patriarchal Blessings are given to worthy members of the Church by ordained patriarchs. Patriarchal blessings include a declaration of a person's lineage in the house of Israel and contain personal counsel from the Lord. As a person studies his or her patriarchal blessing and follows the counsel it contains, it will provide guidance, comfort, and protection.

Declaration of Lineage

A patriarchal blessing includes a declaration of lineage, stating that the person is of the house of Israel—a descendant of Abraham, belonging to a specific tribe of Jacob. Many Latter-day Saints are of the tribe of Ephraim, the tribe given the primary responsibility to lead the latter-day work of the Lord.

Because each of us has many bloodlines running in us, two members of the same family may be declared as being of different tribes in Israel.

It does not matter if a person's lineage in the house of Israel is through bloodlines or by adoption. Church members are counted as a descendant of Abraham and an heir to all the promises and blessings contained in the Abrahamic covenant (see Abrahamic Covenant).

Learning from a Patriarchal Blessing

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."

When I was 17, I felt like I was ready to receive my patriarchal blessing. I had an interview with my bishop, who agreed I was ready, so I contacted the stake patriarch to schedule this. I fasted for an entire day before, in an effort to allow the holy spirit to be with me, and was assured the patriarch does the same. I felt this was very important, as I was certain mine would be a personal sneak preview into my very future!

For those who question what "Declaration of Lineage" means, this is very similar to the special hat on Harry Potter ~ you know the one ~ the talking hat that was set on each new student's head to determine which house he or she belonged to. When Harry Potter sat there wishing and hoping that his house would be Gryffindor and not Slytherin, that's what I felt like as I held my breath during my blessing. The patriarch's hands were on my head and he was speaking words from God's mouth straight to me. Not surprisingly, I was placed in the house of...I mean I was told "You come through the loins and lineage of Ephraim...by coming through this great lineage, you have many responsibilities. You are to do all in your power to help to prepare the people of this earth of all wickedness and unrighteousness."

Wow. Sounds like a ton of work to me. Which, I think, is precisely the point. The church leaders NEED most of the members to be of this tribe. Duh.

Then came the personal blessings. Yessssss! This was what I had fasted for. This was for ME.

"I bless you that all of the organs in your body will function properly, that you will be a healthy person, that you will be able to provide bodies for those special spirits who are yet to come, that you will be a mother in Israel."

Wonder why he didn't mention that this would first happen to me AT BYU? Healthy organs indeed.

"I bless you with courage, and strength to be able to turn your back on Satan and His workers. I bless you with the power of descernment to know who these people are, those who would glory in your down fall in the church."

Having so many typos bothered me a lot when I first received my blessing in writing. I mean, they CAPITALIZED the H on "His" when referring to SATAN!!! This can't be right! And spell discernment right! I discern that the poor wife of the patriarch was not great at English. And obviously I glory in those who are reading this, glorying in my downfall in the church. Hi, guys!

"Dear Lisa, you are a beautiful woman, so I bless you with the courage and strength to live as you know you should."

Um...yeah. What he said.

"I bless you to understand that the essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is happiness and joy, and that the crowning test of the Gospel is sacrifice and service to others. So, by giving of your time, talants, and your means, you will receive this happiness and joy that we all so much want and need."

Oh, I gave, all right. Time, talents (had no talants, sorry), and my means. I found much greater happiness the minute I stepped away from so much giving, to be completely honest.

"Our Heavenly Father is pleased with you for the desires you have in your heart to serve Him. I bless you to accept callings in the church so that you can grow and mature in the teachings of this great plan of the Gospel."

There it is! Now my husband finally knows why I never once said no when they gave me a calling. It was my personal divine directive that made me do it!

"I bless you with the spirit of Elyjah, so that you can help to open the doors for your righteous ancestors who are dead, so that they can progress back to the presence of our Heavenly Father. I bless you that you will not be content with some of the records that you see. Do not hold back."

HOLY CRAP! I knew this message was meant for me alone, just from that last line! My favorite saying at the time happened to be 'Don't hold back!'...I said it all the time to my friends and family. But notice the damn line that haunted me my whole life, and guaranteed I'd never step foot in a genealogy library..."you will not be content with some of the records that you see." In one moment he effectively quashed any previous desire I may have had to do genealogy. Do you have any idea what kind of lifelong pressure that line gave me??? I couldn't be content with ANY records once I knew there were going to be some I SHOULDN'T be content with.

"I bless you to share the talants you have with others because you have been blessed with a great abundance of love and compassion in your heart for others."

Yep. I must admit he got this one spot on. I have an abundance of love and compassion in my heart for others. You all know who you are.

"I bless you to share the knowledge that you have and bring others to the understanding of this great Gospel, this great plan."

Oh yes. I'd LOVE TO TELL YOU MY UNDERSTANDING OF THE GOSPEL. Read my blog and find out lots more.

"I seal these blessings on you with all of the power and authority in me vested as a patriarch in the church, and in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."



Freckle Face Girl said...

My parents pressured me into at the age of 14. At first I thought it was a guiding tool, but later I realized that it was just as personalized as a horoscope.

Rebecca said...

What total crap. I always WANTED to get mine, but my parents were so lassez-faire (sp? not going to check) about EVERYTHING that it would just be a random passing though. Until a friend in college (before BYU) pressured me into getting it when I was 23. I REALLY wanted it to give me some guidance, but I KNEW it was going to be a disappointment. It was. Three pages of NOTHING. AND I had to have my parents with me because my patriarch was paralyzed and needed a priesthood holder to hold his (the patriarch's) hand on my head, and I knew if I asked my dad (who I LIKE) and not my mom (who I DON'T) she'd be SO offended, so I had to ask her and that SUCKED. What a letdown. I often hate it when people use the comments to tell their own personal stories, and I hate it even more that it proves my mom right when she says that what you don't like about other people is often what you don't like about yourself.

Also, I think you're still doing a lot for other people - just now it's doing the things you really LIKE to do for other people, and not things you're being MADE to do for other people.

Cele said...

Oh Crap, Rebecca I always say something quite similar to what your mom say...gosh I hope my daughter likes me. I think she does.

Lisa, thank you for sharing this moment and your insights. As a never been Momo I have very little understanding in the inner workings of that church. As a Quaker I don't believe in many rites that man hands down, but I do understand that many people need them to feel right in their beliefs or choice of religions. So sad.

Sideon said...

Maybe the "you will not be happy with the records that you see" was the one truth of the whole blessing, and maybe he was meaning more than just genealogy?

I can only wonder (and be vaguely curious) what my patriarchal blessing would have been like.

When I finish part VII today, I might have to post on Sideon's Patriarchal Blessing.

Bishop Rick said...

Hmmm, beautiful woman. You should post a pic so we can confirm this obvious truth, that we may know of the mysteries of God, and that we can shun the whisperings of the cunning one.

Ok, I don't even know what I just said.

JMK said...

SML: The definition of a patriarchal blessing from LDS.org really cracked me up. Even in this most basic of definitions, the language is so esoteric, if I hadn't been raised Mormon, I'd read that and say, "Huh?!?"

Dave Sigmann said...

Thanks, SML, for another great post. You have inspired me to share my own PB on my blog soon. As a TBM, it was a special treat to be able to read other people's PB's. There is a collection of PB's from ex-Mo's here: http://tinyurl.com/38svu4

wry catcher said...

First of all, "patriarchal blessing" is an oxymoron.

Secondly, my patriarch forgot to turn on the tape recorder the first time through, so I had two patriarchal blessings.

Thirdly, I burned mine in the Great Mormon Fire of '97, and I can't remember what it said.

And in conclusion, I love this post. Good stuff, SML. :-)

emerging from the ashes said...

Mine said the devil would try to tempt me with the cleverest of temptation or some such nonsense, but that I'd stay as pure and as sweet as that day.

Um, okay.

Hey, I have the gift of discernment too! But mine is to figure out what people want, not to figure out who's evil.

weebie said...

Take prophecy where you can. If the language you hear it in isn't right...then it wasn't prophecy. Our oracles in this age arn't very good but they they can still touch on something. Please don't lose what was behind the bull!#%&.

T. Wanker said...

Uhh, hope you found lots of healthy organs.

Thunderchops said...

I share the exact same blessing as at least 3 other people in my former ward.

Let's hear it for inspiration and the Spirit!

Ros said...

Hey, mine came true. It said that people would call me blessed and rejoice in my very presence. Don't you hear the rejoicing? My doctor thinks that medication will take away all the people I hear praising my name, but why would I want to do that? ;)

bel said...

Ros, I am hurt. I rejoice in your very presence. Didn't I make that clear?

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your post. I've been wanting to take mine apart - after-the-fact, but I'm just not to that point yet. I have my exmo blog set up, but haven't even posted yet. Finding you, Ashes, Sideon, and Simeon have been such great therapy.

-the artist formerly known as pokerspice...

Holly said...

My "blessing" screwed me up big time. I got it at just the point (age 14) to achieve maximum psychological damage. I took it WAY too seriously, and really let myself get messed up when I didn't manage to do the one thing it told me I MUST do to be a good member of the church: avoid in any way being critical of priesthood authority.

And I guess it's true that that's what you have to do to be a good member of the church. I just wish it hadn't taken me so long that being a good member of the church is not necessarily the same thing as being a good, decent, intelligent, autonomous human being.

btw, I LOVE you explanation of lineage via Harry Potter! Brilliance!


Ros said...

Bel--that means I must never ever take my meds or you might dissapear!