Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Question

 

Gramps,

I know a lot of people have lost faith in the Church or have had their faith rattled because portions of their patriarchal blessings are similar to others. Is there an explanation to why some patriarchal blessings are similar to others? Thanks!

Nate

 

Answer

 

Dear Nate,

A number of questions that I answer on this site are driven by readers trying to understand their patriarchal blessings. The portions included in the question tend to be common enough that I find it worth posting for other readers who have similar blessings and similar questions. Some themes are so common that it causes concern when not mentioned. So it comes as no surprise that people comparing patriarchal blessings will tend to find similarities. What’s more, template-style revelations predate the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In June, 1829, before the Church was organized, David, John, and Peter Whitmer Jr. each wanted to know from the Lord what their individual duty was. In response, they were given personalized revelations detailing the beginning of their service in the Restoration. Holding up John Whitmer’s revelation (given through Joseph Smith), I emphasize personal aspects of it:

“Hearken, my servant John, and listen to the words of Jesus Christ, your Lord and your Redeemer. For behold, I speak unto you with sharpness and with power, for mine arm is over all the earth.

 

“And I will tell you that which no man knoweth save me and thee alone— For many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you. Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given you according to my commandments.

 

“And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.” (D&C 15).

 

The Lord, knowing John Whitmer personally, informs him that He is aware of his many prayers concerning his duty, and consequently he is called to cry repentance. Peter Whitmer Jr. is also telling of the personal knowledge God has of His children, and so I highlight the personal aspects of his revelation as well:

 

“Hearken, my servant Peter, and listen to the words of Jesus Christ, your Lord and your Redeemer. For behold, I speak unto you with sharpness and with power, for mine arm is over all the earth.

 

“And I will tell you that which no man knoweth save me and thee alone— For many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you. Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given you according to my commandments.

 

“And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.” (D&C 16).

 

The Lord, knowing Peter Whitmer personally, informs him that He is aware of his many prayers concerning his duty, and consequently he is called to cry repentance. The message is still personal and sincere. God is beginning His marvelous work and wonder and needs ministers and missionaries. And so the Lord calls and empowers servants on an individual basis. It is so today, with missionaries getting called and assigned by revelation, and yet receiving that revelation as a template letter.

The difference here, though, is that missionaries are getting called through revelation that purports to be personal, showing things that are only known by the Lord and the recipient. And that still holds true. Peter and John may both know the other is concerned about his duty, but the extent of it (“many times“) is known only to the Lord.

The statements themselves are true enough on an individual basis, but why would the Lord use the exact same phrasing in the two revelations? Surely after praying thrice daily that our meals “strengthen and nourish” us, we can show some mercy when the Lord’s servants repeat phrases when repeating themes. Indeed, each saint personally enters into covenant via baptism and also through the sacrament, using the exact same prayers, but we have no problems whatsoever with these blessings pronounced upon us.

It is no different with patriarchal blessings. They are personal revelations given through a revelator. Some themes are common: lineage is declared so the recipient can study the additional blessings promised; often it’s declared to be Ephraim because Ephraim has the responsibility to gather in the other tribes; promises of exaltation contingent on faithfulness; sometimes the phrase “morning of the first resurrection” is used to capture this sentiment as it is scriptural and ties together the blessings, promises, and obligations of D&C 76 and 132; major life milestones are typically mentioned such as missions and marriages and families. These are blessings pronounced upon individuals, and when taken individually cannot be denied – regardless of who else has been offered these same blessings. Additionally, while many of these common elements have been counselled publicly, they become personal commandments when thus administered. Finally we see the same words repeated for these themes when comparing blessings because they often come from the same revelator who, having found a clear way to convey a blessing or charge, may choose to do so again when the message is the same.

After all, my repetition of the same three words (“I love you”) to individual family members does not in any way dilute the truth of the statement collectively or individually.

 

Gramps

 

 

(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)
Copyright © 2017 Ask Gramps - Q and A about Mormon Doctrine. All Rights Reserved.
This website is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. The views expressed by individual users are the responsibility of those users and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. For the official Church websites, please visit LDS.org or Mormon.org.

Pin It on Pinterest