What Is a Patriarchal Blessing and How Can I Get One?

Church Administration Building, LDS Church, Salt Lake City, Utah
Ken Lund/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Do you know what a patriarchal blessing is? If not, keep reading to find out. Even if you do, you might learn something new! Also, if you've lost yours, or need a copy of the patriarchal blessing of a relative, you can request one from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Patriarchal Blessings

A patriarchal blessing is a blessing (similar to a prayer) given to worthy members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by a stake patriarch (a priesthood holder ordained to this calling) and is a sacred, personal blessing from the Lord. Members who are worthy and ready may receive their patriarchal blessing by first meeting with their bishop, and once approved by the bishop they make an appointment with their stake patriarch. The blessing given (said) by the patriarch is recorded and later typed up (usually by the patriarch's wife) and is sent to LDS Church headquarters where it is kept on file. A printed copy of the patriarchal blessing is also mailed to the recipient.

What Is the Purpose of a Patriarchal Blessing?

"It is [a stake patriarch's] business and right to bestow blessings upon the people, to make promises unto them in the name of the Lord... by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to comfort them in the hours of sorrow and trouble, to strengthen their faith by the promises that shall be made to them through the Spirit of God" (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 181).

Additionally, a patriarchal blessing:

  • Declares a person's lineage, meaning which tribe of Israel he/she belongs to.
  • Gives insight into a person's life, may include promises of blessings, warnings about temptations or weaknesses, or counsel about how the person should live.
    "Receive a patriarchal blessing. Study it carefully and regard it as personal scripture to you—for that is what it is. A patriarchal blessing is the inspired and prophetic statement of your life's mission together with blessings, cautions, and admonitions as the patriarch may be prompted to give.... Receive your patriarchal blessing under the influence of fasting and prayer, and then read it regularly that you may know God's will for you" (Ezra Taft Benson, "To the 'Youth of the Noble Birthright' ," Ensign, May 1986, 43-44).
  • Can be received by any worthy member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he/she is old enough to understand a blessing's opportunities and responsibilities, is spiritually mature enough, and desires one.
    "Those who seek patriarchal blessings should ask for them with faith in the reality of the power of the Priesthood. They should seek them with an earnest, prayerful desire to become, through the blessings, more completely happy in their lives, and more perfectly serviceable in the work of the Lord" (John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, arr. G. Homer Durham, 3 vols. in 1 [1960], 323).
  • Is a sacred and personal document that should be read and studied often but should not be shared casually with others.
    "Your patriarchal blessing is yours and yours alone. It may be brief or lengthy, simple or profound. Length and language do not a patriarchal blessing make. It is the Spirit that conveys the true meaning. Your blessing is not to be folded neatly and tucked away. It is not to be framed or published. Rather, it is to be read. It is to be loved. It is to be followed. Your patriarchal blessing will see you through the darkest night. It will guide you through life's dangers" (Thomas S. Monson, "Your Patriarchal Blessing: A Liahona of Light," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 66).
  • Is conditional on a person's faith, righteousness, and obedience to God's commandments.
  • Contains promises that may not all be fulfilled during our life on earth. However, if a person is righteous they will eventually receive all their promised blessings.
    "Men [and women] have stumbled at times because promised blessings have not occurred in this life. They have failed to remember that, in the gospel, life with all its activities continues forever and that the labors of earth may be continued in heaven" (John A. Widtsoe, "Evidences and Reconciliations," 323).
  • Will not answer every question about our lives, and will probably not mention every major event that will occur in our lifetime.
    "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" ("Patriarchal Blessings," True to the Faith, 2004, 112.)
  • Is recorded. A copy is given to the person receiving the blessing and a copy is kept in the archives of The Church.

A person can obtain a copy of a Patriarchal Blessing only for:

  • Themselves
  • Their spouse
  • Their direct line descendants (a parent can get a child's)
  • Deceased direct line ancestors (your parents/grandparents/etc who have passed away)

The Church of Jesus Christ now has the information online for Patriarchal Blessing Requests.

Patriarchal blessings vary in length and detail; some are very long and some are quite short. The length or detail of a patriarchal blessing does not indicate a person's worthiness or Heavenly Father's love for him/her. A patriarchal blessing is our own personal scripture from God and if we prayerfully study it on a regular basis it will be a priceless gift- a heavenly guide for our lives.