Patriarchal blessing
In the Latter Day Saint movement
Latter Day Saint movement
The Latter Day Saint movement is a group of independent churches tracing their origin to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 14 million members...

, a patriarchal blessing (also called an evangelist's blessing) is a blessing or ordinance given by a patriarch (evangelist)
Patriarch (Mormonism)
In the Latter Day Saint movement, Patriarch is an office of the Priesthood whose main duty is to give Patriarchal blessings to church members. It is considered to be either an office of the Patriarchal Priesthood or the Melchizedek priesthood...

 to a church member. Patriarchal blessings are modeled after the blessing given by Jacob
Jacob "heel" or "leg-puller"), also later known as Israel , as described in the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the New Testament and the Qur'an was the third patriarch of the Hebrew people with whom God made a covenant, and ancestor of the tribes of Israel, which were named after his descendants.In the...

 to each of his sons prior to his death. They are gifts of knowledge and strength of one's coming challenges and blessings.

Patriarchal blessings during the life of Joseph Smith, Jr.

The first Latter Day Saint patriarchal blessings were performed by Joseph Smith, Sr.
Joseph Smith, Sr.
Joseph Smith, Sr. was the father of Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. Joseph Sr. was also one of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, which Mormons believe was translated by Joseph Jr. from the Golden Plates. In 1833 Joseph Sr...

, the father of Joseph Smith, Jr., who ordained his father to the role of patriarch on December 18, 1833, with a mission to provide "father's blessings" to those in the Priesthood without fathers. Smith, Sr. gave his son a blessing on December 9, 1834, prophesying that the younger Smith would establish Zion, subdue his enemies, enjoy his posterity to the latest generation, and "stand on the earth" to witness the Second Coming
Second Coming
In Christian doctrine, the Second Coming of Christ, the Second Advent, or the Parousia, is the anticipated return of Jesus Christ from Heaven, where he sits at the Right Hand of God, to Earth. This prophecy is found in the canonical gospels and in most Christian and Islamic eschatologies...


Before Joseph, Sr. died on September 14, 1840, he ordained his eldest living son Hyrum Smith
Hyrum Smith
Hyrum Smith was an American religious leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the original church of the Latter Day Saint movement. He was the older brother of the movement's founder, Joseph Smith, Jr....

 to succeed him as Patriarch to the Church. From that time forward, Hyrum gave patriarchal blessings until his own death on June 27, 1844.

Patriarchal blessings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a patriarchal blessing is given when an authorized patriarch (a man ordained to the priesthood office of patriarch) places his hands on the head of the recipient and pronounces said blessing. The recipient must have previously received a recommendation for the blessing from his or her bishop. This is dependent on an interview by which the bishop determines the applicant's worthiness. The purpose of a patriarchal blessing is (1) to identify the tribe of Israel
According to the Bible the Israelites were a Hebrew-speaking people of the Ancient Near East who inhabited the Land of Canaan during the monarchic period .The word "Israelite" derives from the Biblical Hebrew ישראל...

 to which all people on earth belong; (2) to bless the member with knowledge and spiritual gifts; (3) to give advice or help to the individual (often this includes foretelling of possible future events, opportunities, and temptations). Within the Church, a patriarchal blessing is considered to be a revelation
Revelation (Latter Day Saints)
Latter Day Saints teach that the Latter Day Saint movement began with a Revelation from God . They also teach that revelation is the foundation of the church established by Jesus Christ and that it remains an essential element of His true church today...

 for the recipient, with the promises made in the blessing considered conditional upon the recipient's obedience to Gospel principles.

A person is informed of the tribe of Israel to which they belong. This is done to acknowledge the fulfillment of the Church doctrine that through baptism members become part of the house of Israel. Additionally, it is believed that each tribe differs slightly and a person may come to understand the unique circumstances of his or her life better by knowing to which tribe they belong. The differences between the tribes are generally acknowledged to arise from the differences in the blessings Jacob pronounced upon his sons and Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.

A patriarchal blessing is usually pronounced upon a member only once. In certain rare circumstances, a person may receive permission to receive an additional patriarchal blessing. The blessing is usually performed in the home of the Patriarch or of the seeker. In general, only close family members, such as parents or the person's spouse, are allowed to be present. The Patriarch places his hands on the seated person's head and speaks the blessing aloud. A record of the blessing is made at the same time. Transcribed copies of all blessings are stored in Church records and are considered by the church to be revelation.

Members receive a copy of the blessing, and are advised to consult it throughout their lives. Since the blessings are direct revelation from God, the church advises members to treat them as sacred, not to be shared casually with others.

Any member found worthy and spiritually mature by their priesthood leader may receive a patriarchal blessing. Individuals who have been members from childhood generally ask to receive their patriarchal blessing as adolescents.

According to former Church President Ezra Taft Benson
Ezra Taft Benson
Ezra Taft Benson was the thirteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1985 until his death and was United States Secretary of Agriculture for both terms of the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower.-Biography:Born on a farm in Whitney, Idaho, Benson was the oldest of...

, "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." (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1986, pgs. 43-44).

Although they may not be ordained patriarchs, every Latter-day Saint father who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood
Melchizedek priesthood
The Melchizedek priesthood is the greater of the two orders of priesthood recognized in Mormonism. The others are the Aaronic priesthood and the rarely recognized Patriarchal priesthood...

 can pronounce blessings upon his child or spouse, as necessary. Such blessings do not reveal the Tribe of Israel to which a person belongs. The Church encourages families to create their own records of such blessings, but does not accept them into the official Church archives in Salt Lake City as they would a blessing from an ordained Patriarch.

Those who have received a patriarchal blessing are told to read it "humbly, prayerfully, and frequently." Only by following the counsel in a patriarchal blessing can one receive the blessings contained therein.


As with the pre-1844 church led by Joseph Smith, an important part of patriarchal blessing in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the declaration of lineage. Members receiving the blessing are told to which of the twelve Israelite
According to the Bible the Israelites were a Hebrew-speaking people of the Ancient Near East who inhabited the Land of Canaan during the monarchic period .The word "Israelite" derives from the Biblical Hebrew ישראל...

 tribes they belong. Opinions differ as to whether the lineage is intended to mean literal ancestry, or whether the lineage is metaphorical or adoptive, as there are many recorded instances of children having a different lineage from their parents. Daniel H. Ludlow
Daniel H. Ludlow
Daniel Hansen Ludlow was a professor of religion at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He was also the chief editor of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, published in 1992 by Macmillan.- Biography :...

 has said "in a patriarchal blessing, lineage is being declared ... when terms indicating direct descent are used, such as “son of,” “daughter of,” “seed of,” “blood of,” “descendant of,” or “from the loins of.”" The church also says that "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".

Evangelist's blessings in the Community of Christ

In the Community of Christ
Community of Christ
The Community of Christ, known from 1872 to 2001 as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints , is an American-based international Christian church established in April 1830 that claims as its mission "to proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy, hope, love, and peace"...

, part of the Latter Day Saints movement, the term patriarchal blessing was renamed "evangelist's blessing" in 1985, to reflect the change in terminology from patriarch to the gender-neutral "Evangelist
Evangelist (Latter Day Saints)
In the Latter Day Saint movement, an evangelist is an ordained office of the ministry. In some denominations of the movement, an evangelist is referred to as a patriarch . However, the latter term was deprecated by the Community of Christ after the church began ordaining women to the priesthood...

" when women were first ordained to offices of the Priesthood. An evangelist's blessing may be said for families, congregations, and individuals. In recent years, practices have changed so that the blessing, formerly performed only once in a person's life, can be given more than once, especially during times of great change or turmoil in an individual's life. Although tribal lineage was revealed in earlier years, that practice has decreased.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.