Situation: High Priest is companion to a 17 year old priest for home teaching. In the course of the visit a blessing is asked for. The HP did not have oil with him and the person asking for the blessing asks that the young man help with the blessing. What is the policy on this as it turns into a blessing of comfort instead of healing?
The policy according to Church guidelines is as follows, “Only Melchizedek Priesthood holders may administer to the sick or afflicted.” (Source) If we read further the guidelines/policies in the Church Handbook of Instructions we are informed, “Melchizedek Priesthood holders may also give blessings of comfort and counsel to other family members and to others who ask for them.” (Source)
In “Doctrines of Salvation” from Joseph Fielding Smith we have the following quote regarding Aaronic Priesthood assisting with blessings,
“”It was the sense of the Council . . . that the practice [of administering] be confined to the elders; but in the case of absolute necessity, that is where an elder finds himself in the situation that he cannot avail himself of the company of another elder, he may, if opportunity affords, avail himself of the company of a member of the Aaronic Priesthood, or even a lay member, but for the purpose only of being supported by the faith of such member or members, the elder alone to officiate in the ordinance of administration; or, the elder may administer alone without such assistance of a lay member or one holding the Aaronic Priesthood.” (Doctrine of Salvation, Volume 3, 176. 40)
These sources confirm the Church’s stance regarding spiritual blessings of comfort and for the sick to be a Melchizedek priesthood responsibility. The second quote provides a possible condition for an Aaronic priesthood holder to exist with a blessing should, “an elder finds himself in the situation that he cannot avail himself of the company of another elder.” In the scenario provided, this doesn’t appear to be a valid condition of asking a priest to assist with a blessing as other elders could have been called to assist if needed. Should this have been a valid reason/condition the priest would be acting solely in “faith,” not with his priesthood.
In all cases, we are better off following the counsel given by those who hold keys and authority to specify the will of our Lord in our time, and in our day and age. We have plenty of methods to contact another elder should the need require the faith of two or more persons in the blessing of comfort or for the sick.