Patriarchal blessing

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In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and other Mormon denominations, a patriarchal blessing (also called an evangelist's blessing) is a special blessing or ordinance given by a patriarch (evangelist) to a church member.

In Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, a patriarchal blessing is a blessing given by a Patriarch. Such blessings may be bestowed on anyone or anthing, at the patriarch's discretion.

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 a unique blessing pronounced upon a church member by a church leader ordained to the Priesthood office of Patriarch (sometimes referred to as Evangelist). The purpose of a patriarchal blessing is (1) to identify the tribe of Israel to which a Latter-day Saint belongs, (2) to bless the member with special gifts, (3) to give advice or help to the individual (often this includes foretelling of future events, opportunities, and temptations). The blessing is unique to each person, and the promises made in the blessing are conditional upon 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, 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 Mannaseh.

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. Usually permission is only granted in cases where the original blessing failed to mention the tribe to which the person belongs.

The blessing is usually performed in the home of the Patriarch or of the person seeking the blessing. In general the only other people present are very close family members such as parents or the person's spouse. The Patriarch places his hands on the seated person's head and speaks the blessing aloud. A recording 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 their blessing, and are advised to consult it throughout their life. Since members of the Church consider the blessings to be direct revelation from God, they are advised to treat their blessing as sacred and not share them casually with others.

Any worthy, spiritually mature member 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, "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 that holds the Melchizedek Priesthood can pronounce blessings of similar magnitude upon one of his children or his spouse as necessary. Such blessings usually do not reveal the Tribe of Israel to which a person belongs but fathers are not restricted from providing that information if they are so inspired. The Church encourages families to create their own records of these blessings, but does not admit them into the official Church archives in Salt Lake City as they would a blessing from an ordained Patriarch.

Patriarchal blessings in the Community of Christ

In the Community of Christ, patriarchal blessings are referred to as evangelist's blessings, and are given by one holding the office of Evangelist. Evangelists give various kinds of blessings, including blessings on families, on congregations, and on individuals.

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