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Gramps,

I am a married but separated Sister in our church.  We’ve been separated 5 years now, and my husband has a demanding on-call job and his own residence.  I was handed a situation with one of our young daughters (we have 4 out of 9 still at home, in my house), where had I been thinking and not such a tired, overwrought “single” Mom, I would have offered to pray with her.  In hindsight, thinking about it though, she could have really used a blessing.  She’s 9 and chronically ill.  I had remembered reading that wives could call upon their husbands Priesthood power to invoke a “Father’s Blessing” upon children when their fathers were away or absent.  Do you know anything about this, or how one would go about doing a?

Thanks,
Lisa

 

Answer

 

Hello Lisa,

Thank you for asking this question, and may the Lord watch over you in the circumstance you currently are experiencing. In the process of searching for relevant material to answer your question I have, personally, never come across the statement that a mother may “use husband’s priesthood to invoke a blessing” upon their children; however, I have come across questions pertaining to women laying their hands on their children to bless them through priesthood power.

The concept of performing an act through “husband’s priesthood” is a bit of a quandary for me. The priesthood is the authority to act in God’s name. It was originally named, “Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God.” (Doctrine and Covenants 107:3) I have never considered the priesthood that was conferred upon me as mine own. The priesthood I received was conferred upon me by authorized individuals who had been given permission to act in God’s name. If the priesthood I held my own priesthood, then why would the priesthood need to be conferred upon me? However, it appears there might be some different interpretations in light of other scriptural verses like this one, “David Patten I have taken unto myself; behold, his priesthood no man taketh from him; but, verily I say unto you, another may be appointed unto the same calling” (Doctrine and Covenants 124:130); although, I would be hesitant in agreeing with this interpretation. This then is for your personal study until a prophet provides further clarification.

As to the ability regarding laying your hands on your children here is what Joseph F. Smith has shared,

“Does a wife hold the priesthood with her husband, and may she lay hands on the sick with him, with authority? A wife does not hold the priesthood with her husband, but she enjoys the benefits thereof with him; and if she is requested to lay hands on the sick with him, or with any other officer holding the Melchizedek Priesthood, she may do so with perfect propriety. It is no uncommon thing for a man and wife unitedly to administer to their children.” (Doctrines of Salvation, Book III, pg. 177)

Joseph Fielding Smith quotes the prophet Joseph Smith as saying, “Respecting females administering for the healing of the sick,…there could be no evil in it, if God gave his sanction by healing; that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on and praying for the sick, than in wetting the face with water; it is no sin for anybody to administer that has faith, or if the sick have faith to be healed by their administration,” and by which Joseph Fielding Smith concludes with “Such an administration would not be by virtue of the priesthood, but a manifestation of faith.” (Doctrines of Salvation, Book III, pg. 177). I would thus conclude, that a wife does not bless her children through her husband’s priesthood, but through her faith in Christ and his power and priesthood. (Doctrines of Salvation, Book III, pg. 177)

Here is a lovely quote given by Joseph Fielding Smith with regards to women and the priesthood,

“There is nothing in the teachings of the gospel which declares that men are superior to women… Women do not hold the priesthood, but if they are faithful and true, they will become priestesses and queens in the kingdom of God, and that implies that they will be given authority.” What authority this is is unknown, and probably not wise to speculate, as one could easily be lead down forbidden paths. (Doctrines of Salvation, Book III, pg. 178)

For further reading, Joseph Fielding Smith also had this to say,

“The Church teaches that a woman may lay on hands upon the head of a sick child and ask the Lord to bless it, in the case when those holding the priesthood cannot be present. A man might under such conditions invite his wife to lay on hands with him in blessing their sick child. This would be merely to exercise her faith and not because of any inherent right to lay on hands. A woman would have no authority to anoint or seal a blessing, and where elders can be called in, that would be the proper way to have an administration performed.”(Doctrines of Salvation, Book III, pg. 178)

These quotes appear to provide some thoughts regarding women laying on of hands, and they appear to explicitly contradict the idea, notion, that a woman/mother may lay hands on her children in the name of her husband’s priesthood. I was once informed, actually in a Sunday gospel doctrine class, where a mother had shared that she did not like her home teachers (her husband had passed away) and she felt the need to bless her own children. She performed a blessing using her husband’s priesthood. This appears to be off, and according to Joseph Fielding Smith, Joseph F. Smith, and Joseph Smith a woman may lay hands on in faith, but not in authority of the priesthood (this includes her husband’s priesthood). However, a close friend of mine who worked graveyards shared this story with me. “I worked graveyards shifts. We had only one car. We were a young couple with two children, a baby and a 3 year-old. I was not in a position for my wife to call me. Our baby had a high fever. The fever would not break no matter what my wife did. She gave her medicine, and waited with no result. The fever continued to increase from 102-103-104. She could not call me. She was extremely worried and at 2 a.m. in the morning did not want to wake anyone up. She knelt by the side of our bed, and she laid a hand on our baby and said a very sincere prayer asking the Lord for help. After the prayer was said, the fever immediately broke. I learned of this experience the next morning. There is power in the sincere prayer of a mother.” My friend’s wife did not bless the child in the name of her husband’s priesthood. She blessed the child through her faith in Christ, and through his power the child was healed.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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