On Failed Patriarchal Blessings

Aaron R. aka Ricodoubt, Mormon, Patriarchal Blessing, Priesthood 93 Comments

Some time ago I spoke to someone I knew about a Patriarchal blessing they had received which seemed to have failed to come to pass.  We discussed it at some length and I then asked them if I could have some time to think about the issue more.  I tried to find reasons to explain the failure and then we discussed each one according to their circumstances, but I raised all as possibilities.  I admit that I was trying to be both comforting and honest, which in this situation was not easy.  The possible reasons I gave the person, as I wrote them down and initially sent them, are below:

1). Your blessing always implies (even if it does not say it explicitly) the agency of another. So even if there is a promise involving another person they still have their choice to go down whatever path.

2). Your blessing (and only you can interpret this) would have made these promises on certain conditions. This does not mean that you are to blame but rather these situations are never just one factor.
3). It is not over yet. You do not know when or where these blessings might be fulfilled.
4). Faith is a paradox. I believe that we see our faith, or experience our faith, when we keep doing those things that are right even when it seems impossible for us to receive the blessings. It is the strength to endure even when we see no possibility of fulfillment. It is in these moments of struggle that we are forced to draw closer to God and rely more wholly upon him because there is nothing else to rely upon.

5). Is it possible that your patriarch, seeking to promise you something that would bring you hope and happiness, made this statement eventhough it was not directly inspired from God? They are not perfect. But I should couple this with my own thoughts that you have the right to pray about your blessing and interpret what it means. Priesthood holders have a difficult repsonsibility to try and understand the spiritual impressions we receive when we give blessings and sometimes it does not always come out quite right and the listener/receiver has to interpret. This is your responsibility.

My questions are these:

Have you experienced a failed patriarchal blessing and how did you deal with it?

Are my possible explanations flawed?

Are there other explanations I may have missed?

What would have said or done in this situation?

Comments 93

  1. They will usher in the Second Coming, be alive for the Second Coming, they will not taste death.

    Kids in the ward I grew up in would talk about how some their parents blessings had the above. I guess you can interpret it like accounting anyway you want. Many of those parents are now dead but as far as I know live faithful lives!

  2. Early Patriarchal Blessings emphasised Christ second coming even more!!!

    These blessings provide a window into earliest Mormonism, particularly as it was influenced by Father Smith, the “first” patriarch of the church (his namesake son actually was the first, but he quickly transferred the role to his father). In these blessings, several themes emerge quickly and consistently. For a rite based on the deathbed blessings of the ancient patriarchs, particularly Father Israel, these prayers of promise do not disappoint. Particularly those from Joseph Sr emphasize the quest for immortality and the conquest of death to an astounding degree. Recipients learned that they could expect Elijah’s chariot to return for them, would recapitulate Enoch’s ascension, would receive the power to “translate” themselves through the heavens into heaven, and would be able to choose when to die at the end of a full life. Some heard direct predictions of their lifespan, from 75 to 120 years, while the great majority expected to be present at the earth’s “winding up scene.” Most importantly, (and to an extent poorly commented in the current literature) there is every indication that Father Smith considered these early blessings to be the actual entries in the heavenly Book of Life that would seal the recipient to salvation in the “celestial world.”


  3. One of my missionary companions had a copy of his mother’s patriarchal blessing. He let me read it. It had a lot of details about a war with Russia. It talked about futuristic weapons and warfare.

    I’m not sure if she is alive or not, but if she is, she would be approaching a hundred years of age. I count this has an example of a failed blessing.

    There is inevitably going to be failed patriarchal blessing because of the fallen world we live in.

    On the other hand, I know of many patriarchal blessings that are successful. A successful blessing is one that is proved to be inspired as it is fulfilled with the passage of time.

    My blessing is an example of an inspired blessing. I’d never met the patriarch before going to his home, but when I read it, which I do often, I am impressed by the detail he gave and how it has come to pass in the the forty plus years since I received it.

    I also received a second patriarchal blessing. This one wasn’t recorded for the church but was even more detailed than the first. It was an extraordinary example of a patriarchal blessing. As in my first blessing I’d never met the patriarch but the things he had revealed to him in my behalf proved to be inspired.

    In my opinion, most patriarchal blessings that fall into the failed category are the result of the recipient living an uninspired life. This includes those who harden their hearts and become inactive, and those who are active members but never really seek for the companionship of the Holy Ghost–resulting in failed opportunities that could have been theirs.

  4. I’m not so sure about “failed” patriarchal blessings, but my horoscope today said “Expect support for your wish-fulfillments and be ready to take it all in when it’s offered. Your tastes are favored, so spread them around and make yourself available for whatever perks may come as a result. Just saying yes is the way to go, and even requests for seconds and thirds will not be denied.”

    Maybe our patriarchs should take a lesson from the astrologers and make the blessings broad enough to cover everything — then they will always be true. You’ll never read a horoscope about Russian weapons of mass destruction.

    Here is some good verbiage for future wannabe patriarchs: “You will live to see the second coming of Jesus Christ, because in Christ all are reborn.” This can never be argued as a failed blessing.

  5. If it’s very clear from the text that the events spoken of in the blessing aren’t going to come to pass, you can request another blessing. Your friend should talk to her bishop about this.

  6. The way I think about it: look at the book of Isaiah. The whole thing is full of prophecies, but nobody is quite sure exactly what they mean. One may think that some prophecies have failed. However, it’s easy to know what the prophecies mean after they’ve been fulfilled: we can read the same passage with recent events in mind and think “Oh, so that’s what this means! I never thought of it this way before.” This is how I feel patriarchal blessings are. Sometimes we get so stuck on what we think a certain passage means that we never take one step sideways and try to see if there are other ways that passage could be fulfilled or perhaps has been fulfilled already.

    However, keeping this in mind, we shouldn’t think that just because we can see a passage being fulfilled doesn’t mean it could also have another fulfillment later on down the road (Isaiah is full of these).

  7. While on my mission Elder Eyring spoke to the mission presidents there at two different points. I remember reading that he specifically said “I will prophecy…” regarding something related to missionary work there. Over a year or so later when he came back he modified his prophecy quite a bit, suggesting that he had been mistaken in part. I actually really appreciated this admission, and it put prophecy/revelation/and even patriarchal blessings in their proper context. Mistakes can be made, despite the fact that most of us want everything to be neat and clean.

    1. Your comment is a bit confusing. Did you actually hear Elder Eyering make those comments, or did you read them? Please clarify and if possible be specific about what he said. Thanks and take care.

  8. As someone whose physical eyes often put things together wrong these days, often leading me to smack my face on things I was sure weren’t there, I don’t expect my spiritual eyes to be even that reliable. Humanity is still evolving that capability.

    One of the things that gets in the way often is substituting our good wishes for the leadings of the spirit. (At least we aren’t usually substituting our BAD wishes for the Spirit, but even that can come about if we let our desire for certainty and resolution go unquestioned.) It’s tough to look at the grieving and sorrowful and not say everything is going to be all right, so the same thing happens in administration to the sick, or in marital counseling, or in baby blessings.

    It is an impulse priesthood must resist. Do not disengage brain when engaging spirit.

  9. Post

    #1/2 – I have heard similar stories to those you cite and also have read some of the early patriarchal blessings. Thanks of the link to that post, it was interesting.

    I wonder whether the current practice of SP read patriarchal blessings (as a kind of check) is to guard against this kind of thing.

    #3 – You offer two examples of ideas for patriarchal blessings. Fallen world and individuals living an uninspired life. Your friend’s mother’s blessing, which category does this fall into and why? It seems that regardless of her faithfulness it would have been unlikely that she would not have influenced a war with russia.

    #5 – I have significantly changed the text to obscure the topic while retaining the basic ideas of what I spoke. On what basis can you request another patriarchal blessing. It is certainly not in the CHI.

    #6 – Thanks for your response. I think your example fits in with my reason #3, but it is a very interesting example.

    #7 – What an interesting experience, is their a transcript of those remarks anywhere. I agree that mistakes can be and I have felt that when receiving any blessing we need to interpret it according to our own impressions.

  10. One part of my patriarchal blessing has not come to fruition. The blessing said that I would happily welcome children into my family. After 10 years of marriage, my husband and I are still ambivalent about having children and firmly believe that all children must be wanted. We have a happy marriage and time and money to support a family. We have prayed for quite some time, but remain uncommitted.

    Maybe things will change, but I don’t see it happening.

  11. Post

    #8 – I agree. Actually, when I was speaking to this person I said the same thing. That using the priesthood is not simply like opening the flood gates (in my experience). Thanks for your response.

    #10 – I appreciate your comments. I think this is an interesting example. Which provides other explanations, than some of the ones I have given.

  12. #10, Do you have to ask if you should have children? Perhaps, if you don’t want kids, you could ask that Heavenly Father would help you want to do, which he already has told you do. After all, the Lord has told all couples to be fruitful, there should be no doubt of that (not 10 of them, necessarily, the number is not important, I guess). There are plenty of those, who can’t have children, who’d happily welcome your babies to their families. Then you’d have played a role in making someone happy, right? I don’t intend this to sound mean, but it seems it just turns out that way, any way I say it…

    Patriarchal blessings should not be taken as predictions, but alternately something, that the Lord wishes we would do, or that we possibly could do, all things working right. I have no idea, why anyone’s particular blessings don’t get materialized, but they don’t “fail” like a weather forecast.

    What do you think of that idea, Rico? I hope I’m not coming off too harsh, I don’t intend it. Whenever I read, I want to rewrite.

    I had a mission president in the early 1980s, who was fairly old in my eyes, who had been told, that he would serve a mission in a foreign country. When he was called to Chicago (during the gangster era), he thought that a Utah boy Chicago was a foreign country. Then, in his late 60s he was called to be a mission president in England. Yes, our time frame is different than the Lord’s. Whatever we are promised, may well be intended to be for the next life, and is there with the intention to encourage. I don’t know, really.

  13. E.D. It seems to me (looking from the outside) that you are uncommitted because you do not know if you want children. You have prayed about it. This blessing seems to specifically answer the question that you are asking.
    I just know that my mother was a little worried about whether she would love her children since she wasn’t really a kid person. She did, and she was a wonderful mother.
    Your blessing doesn’t say that you aren’t scared, worried, unsure about choosing to get pregnant. In my opinion (free advice, I know) it says that once your children actually show up you will happily welcome them.

  14. Re: having kids, I can’t tell anyone else what to do, but I wasn’t particularly interested in kids in general, nor in having my own, really. I struggled a bit even when my son was born. But gradually and naturally you become attached and now I am SO glad a took the jump. I can’t imagine a life without my son now, and love being a father.

  15. Post

    #12 – Thanks for your comment. I did not think your comment was too harsh. I guess that perhaps I have always been taught that PB’s are a little more concrete that just mere wishes or hopes from God. But I have no initial problem with the idea. In fact it makes sense. Perhaps the blessing could be seen as a source of comfort for life rather than road-map. A demonstration of God’s love, evident through his hopes and aspirations for us. But then I think that conditional promises would need to be re-configured as never certain but rather possibilities.

    #13 – Although this has not been my experience. I am sure that having children when you are unsure about it may not lead to happily welcoming them and if some is uncertain I think it is wise to be cautious.

  16. I think blessings in general are difficult to interpret. If something happens in a manner we expect, we say that the blessing was “fulfilled”. If something doesn’t come to pass, we rationalize it away as we “misinterpreted it” or perhaps it was “due to our failings” or perhaps “due to someone else’s failings”. No where is there room for the fact that it just may have been wrong.

    I have seen things in my life that I think are likely the result of blessings. However, at the same time, I have seen:
    – People in a hospital (who are medically brain-dead) promised that not only would they recover, but that they would have their full faculties. It was inspirational for all present. The person died the next day.
    – For a calling with quite a bit of responsibility, I was told when set apart that while it would require a great amount of time, that my family would be watched over and protected. Without going into details, the calling nearly destroyed my family and I am still scarred from the experience.
    – All of the examples above

    Perhaps I’m a bit callous, but I don’t put as much stock in blessings of any type as I used to.

  17. Rico–

    I commented in #3 about my missionary companions mother’s blessing. You asked me in #9-3: “Your friend’s mother’s blessing, which category does this fall into and why?” Uninspired is my answer.

    I question the patriarch’s reliability. He gave the blessing and it appears there was something wrong. She never saw a war with Russia. Why in “sam hill” is a patriarch giving a blessing about a world war to a young girl in the first place?

    I have no concrete answer as to why he missed the mark, but I suspect it was due to infirmity in his mind. I’ll explain why suspect that.

    My mother received a patriarchal blessings in her old age. The blessing was mixed up. My mother was less active and the blessing went on and on about temple work. The patriarch was released soon thereafter and it turned out he was suffering with dementia. Based on that experience I’m inclined to think that was the case with my missionary companions mother’s patriarch.

    A shot in the dark explanation, but I think this kind of thing happens, and is another explanation for failed blessings.

  18. I agree with Mike S on this one. It’s strange that the possibility that blessings are all completely made up is off the table. More often than not things eventually turn out okay for people that are experiencing hardships, so it’s not miraculous when this sort of thing is predicted. It’s also not miraculous when anecdotes abound about doctor-baffling healings and other such fortuitous occurrences. Every religion that wants them, has them. And for every one of these heart-warming stories there are multiple failed (“misinterpreted”) outcomes.

  19. I believe that we see our faith, or experience our faith, when we keep doing those things that are right even when it seems impossible for us to receive the blessings. It is the strength to endure even when we see no possibility of fulfillment. It is in these moments of struggle that we are forced to draw closer to God and rely more wholly upon him because there is nothing else to rely upon.

    This is incredibly profound. It sounds obvious when we talk about stories like Job, but when you experience something like this, you realize how deep your faith must run.

  20. #16 Mike S. and #17 Carson N

    I agree with both of you on one point, there are indeed examples of failed patriarchal blessing as well as failed priesthood blessings for the sick. There can be multiple explanation for the cause, but in the end, as you both conclusively pointed out the failures were very, very apparent.

    If this is the only kind of experience you’ve had in things of the spirit then it is easy to understand you’re remarks.

    I have a question, sincerely asked, I might add: Have either of you had a spiritual experience that defied skepticism and added to your faith?

  21. I’ve had blessings that did come to pass and some that did not. I think the blessings that don’t come to pass can be a test, a very severe one depending on what was said and what didn’t take place. Maybe the feelings of disappointment, loss, sorrow, etc. are necessary for us to become more Christlike and failed blessings are one way for us to experience these feelings. They also can bring us to a point of questioning our faith and I think this is a necessary part of life. Do we choose to stop believing in God if things don’t go as was stated in a blessing? Where does our trust lie and can we believe that God has a higher purpose when a blessing fails and are we willing to seek after Him still? I also think it is possible that when a blessing fails it is because the Lord has something better in store for us due to our faithfulness. Death of a loved one who is greatly suffering can be a greater blessing for that person rather than living on and having to struggle for years to recover.

  22. #20: Jared

    I have had experiences that I can’t explain in any logical way other than faith. In my LDS experience, I would call than an “answer to prayers” or else a “spiritual experience”. I have had somewhat profound experiences. So I wouldn’t say that I have only had “bad” experiences. But I have also had other experiences. I have had blessings of health promising that a surgery would go well and I would be 100%, yet have had to undergo another surgery for the same problem. I have had what I thought were revelations in the temple that proved to be false.

    My skepticism (or perhaps questioning is a better word) comes from 2 different areas:

    1) The same experiences are not exclusive to LDS people. People of all different faiths, including various sects of Christianity, Muslim, Jewish, etc. have had them. There are even very profound experiences among Buddhists which they also ascribe to “spiritual” experiences, despite the fact that they don’t necessarily define the existence of God. Some of these Buddhist experiences are very profound, and if they were described in General Conference or a LDS Church setting, they would certainly be used to “prove” the truth of our religion.

    2) There seems to be a disconnect between blessings and results. What do I mean by this? There are 4 alternatives:

    – A blessing is given, a “good” result occurs: This is the classic case alluded to above. If this occurs, we describe it as a blessing from God, strengthening our faith.

    – A blessing is given, a “bad” result occurs: This also seems to occur quite a bit and is also alluded to above. In this case, we rationalize it away. The “giver” of the blessing was unworthy/incapacitated/etc., the “receiver” of the blessing was unworthy/etc., someone else’s actions played a role, we misunderstood what the blessing actually meant (ie. a youth promised to serve a mission but who died will serve a mission “in the next life”, or a woman promised children will have them “in the next life”)

    – No blessing is given, a “good” result occurs: Seemingly miraculous things happen all the time. An atheist’s cancer “goes away”. A car swerves. Etc. We describe this as God watching out for all of His children

    – No blessing is given, a “bad” result occurs: If only they would have had a blessing, then all would have been fine…

    So, my honest “questioning”, as skepticism seems to be a loaded word. It seems that good and bad things can happen, whether we have or have not had a blessing. It also seems that the LDS church, despite having the priesthood restored, does not have an “exclusive” role in these cases – they are widespread among men.

    So my sincere question back is what role do blessings play? If we may or may NOT receive what was promised in a blessing, and if similar things happen whether we do or do NOT have the priesthood, what is the explanation? Is there a logical way to get our heads around this, or is it simply a mystery? Is God’s will going to happen regardless of a blessing? How many people are truly like Nephi, where God is bound by what we may say in a blessing?

  23. #22 Mike

    For a secular answer that makes a lot of sense, take a look at “The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives” by Leonard Mlodinow

  24. Let me propose another explanation.

    Is it possible we overstate the willingness of deity to communicate directly?

    With respect to blessings, the purpose is to ask for divine intervention and offer words of comfort. Often, priesthood holders perform the blessing and then decide that God wishes them to communicate more. Perhaps the problem is the “more”.

  25. #22 Mike S–

    As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. Ecclesiastes 11:5

    I think the writer in Ecclesiastes says what you’re are saying, yet still is a believer–as it appears you are.

    When it comes to those hit and miss experiences with blessings that you’ve enumerated, I see a parallel in how a child learns to walk. Children have a hit and miss approach to learning to walk, but are ultimately successful.

    Our individual growth in things of the Spirit is not unlike that of children learning to walk. We all know church members who have hit and miss experiences with things of the Spirit. But how about those who have many more hits than misses. Their out there too. I hope each of us can be individually acquainted with one of these individuals.

    Whenever it comes to discussions on belief and unbelief, faith and doubt, failed and successful patriarch blessings, and failed and successful priesthood blessings we all go our way feeling as we came to the discussion. Our individual experiences with these things is where we settle in.

    I know people, and I am one, who have been up against their wall of faith in a crisis and came out of the experience with a completely changed outlook on things of the Spirit. Doubt for them doesn’t exist in the same way as before their crisis. They’re concerned about enduring to the end and may have doubt on occasion about their performance, but doubt about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, the church and it’s leaders isn’t a concern. Thoughts about maintaining the companionship of the Holy Ghost and moving forward towards the goal of the 2nd comforter occupy their thoughts. When they enter a discussion like this they wonder what they can say to help others maintain their faith. They soon learn that what they have been given isn’t transferable to others. It is like trying to take sunlight and hold it in the palm of your hand so you can give it to another who is in the dark or shadows. It just isn’t possible. These things need to be acquired in the same way as they won it. They can testify, and persuade, but in the end it is only to be gained individually.

    1. Thank you Jared for your comments. I’ve recently had questions and felt my testimony shaken but I have my anchor in solid gospel truths. I appreciate your message that we can have questions and still desire to Endure to the End Faithfully. I realize this thread is 6 years old but I want to express my gratitude!

  26. #26: Jared

    Thank you. Out of all of your comments, that one has resonated the most with me. I’m glad you have found your path.

  27. Patriarchal blessings seem to have a self fulfilling nature about them. I believe that’s why the church still encourages there use. Let’s face it, if you tell someone they’re going to serve a mission, go to college, get married, be successful, raise good children, and serve in many calling they probably will if they believe in the blessing. Or at least think they did…

    Unfortunately, the number of “failures” is staggering. I’m old enough to remember the problems the church had in Brazil before 1978. Members in important positions discovered while doing genealogical work that they were of African descent. That meant that everyone they’d performed an ordinance for needed it redone. The general authorities were frustrated by the fact that patriarchs couldn’t seem to get the lineage right, despite training being provided and acute awareness of the problem. Some have speculated that President Kimball’s “revelation” on the blacks had more to do with the internal problems the church was having in developing countries than any external forces.

    These days Stake Presidents have to review all the blessings being given by the patriarchs in their area. These reviews are to make sure that the blessings being given fall within the guidelines the church has established. Call me cynical, but if the brethren have to issue rules on blessings and have them reviewed, then the chances of them being more than a kind-hearted old man’s wishes for your continued progress in the church, seems unlikely.

    To the point, these blessings never were intended to be a prognosticator for your life. I’m not saying that members of the church couldn’t use their blessing to help them make certain decisions along the path, but believing that what’s written there is God’s direct revealed word to you is very problematic.

  28. #16 – I agree that there are experiences with blessings that I consider to have failed. Sometimes that has been a positive thing for me. In that someone said bad would happen and it didn’t.

    #17 – I agree that this is a possibility. Thanks for your response.

    #18 – I don’t think it is off the table, I just did not say because I don’t believe they are. But it is just as logical, if not more so, than any other explanation.

    #21 – I agree that they can work in that way, but I am not sure that they are intended to serve that purpose (if God did direct them). If he doesn’t then that experience will inevitably come to those who experience their failure but who trust or trusted they were from God.

    #22 – I believe that the role they play, seeing that your right in your analysis, is that, at root, they can be special inter-personal experiences between people. Which is why the patriarchal blessing is so mysterious to me, because it has none of that other relationship baggage. I recall reading an essay by Eugene England who talked about blessing his chevrolet. In that he states that he does not know why God blessed him and not millions of others suffering the world. But he does believe that he has been blessed. I feel similarly. I struggle with any logic to what I see, bu I too also have felt that I ahve been blessd.

    #24 – I think that is a very plausible explanation. My question is then if he calls patriarchs to do that job why then does he not make sure he speaks on that single occassion in a persons life.

    #28 – Thanks for your thoughts. I will have to look into the PB situation in Brazil. I too have wondered about SP guidelines on PB, but have never seen them. Does anyone have access to them?

  29. I never realised that the Stake President reads the PB, in True to the Faith it reads “Patriarchal blessings are sacred and personal. They may be shared with immediate family members, but should not be read aloud in public or read or interpreted by others. Not even the patriarch or bishop or branch president should interpret it.”

    I guess it’s possible that Stake Presidents could be influenced by reading someone’s Patriarchal Blessing ?, and that leads me to think would more PB’s “fail” if the SP hadn’t read it.

  30. The Lord calls people to do a work that he has for them. They do it for the benefit of other people. It’s not really the Lord’s intention or role to “make sure” that a Patriarch or whoever does his/her duty, but the duty rests on those people. I’m sure that before long a new one will be called, if too many people’s lives seem to get messed up by someone, but the Lord does not, IMO, intervene often.

  31. #30 – They only read a selection through the year to ensure that cetain guidelines are met. But what these are and how many they read is not something I know. You logic seems to apply to callings, and it is therefore unlikely that the same SP will be the SP when you start getting most callings. But it is possible that what you have said is correct, I just think it is unlikely.

    #31 – I think that is an interesting perspective. So are you saying that some Patriarchs are more inspired than others, in the same way that some bishops are?

  32. As an adult, my husband received his patriarchal blessing. A few days later the patriarch’s wife called to say the recorder hadn’t functioned and the blessing would have to be regiven. The second blessings omitted some of the most meaningful promises from the previous one. A failed blessing or a failed patriarch?

  33. My relative is a patriarch. Talking to him about his opinion on blessings is very interesting here are a few of the things he mentioned: he believes that patriarchs are fallible. He felt his own blessing was simply a carbon copy blessing that his patriarch gave to everyone. Patriarchs are specifically counseled not say sensational things like “You will be alive during the second coming.” They should also be careful about being too specific about things. Giving a failed blessing is something that really concerns him and he prays about it a lot. He doesn’t want his blessings to become a source of pain for those he is trying to bless. He also believed that it was very important for a stake president to read the blessings of the stake patriarch so he is a aware of what is going on and can intervene in case of any problems that arise. Some patriarchs don’t appreciate this, but it really is important, since an uninspired blessing can be very spiritually devastating.

  34. When I was 12, our stake was getting ready to go on a temple trip to do youth baptisms. A Sunday School teacher told us that if we were not worthy enough, those baptisms “wouldn’t count”. It was a scare tactic, but for years I believed him and fretted about those tens, if not hundreds, of people who were sitting on the other side, ticked that I hadn’t repented more. I think of patriarchal blessings in the same way. The blessing (or baptism) is given, and it is up to us what we do with it. The physical act of baptism doesn’t clean us-it’s a symbol. The pat. blessing, to me, is a symbol, a vehicle, for trying to get closer to God and His will for me.
    It all comes down to faith. Re: Mike’s 22–I think we have to get comfortable/accepting of all those possibilities. I tend to see God as an administrator who intervenes, but mostly lets the natural world take its course–as evidenced by letting a creepy old man tell young 12-14 year olds if our thoughts are ever even the tiniest bit impure those baptisms won’t count.

  35. “He felt his own blessing was simply a carbon copy blessing that his patriarch gave to everyone” I have seen blessings like this also.

    Rico, I think you’ve done a great job in coming up with the various explanations why PBs fail. I think another one is that some members who get them think of them as a star chart or Nostradamus-like prediction, trying to prove their own personal specialness through them, or trying to use it to prove or disprove the church at various points of personal experience. They are a “blessing” primarily. As many commenters have said, patriarchs need to be cautious about their own temptations in the process, and so do the recipients.

  36. They are Patriarchal Blessings, not Patriarchal Fortunes.

    To “bless” carries connotations of “asking”, “bestowing” or “endowing” with power, “protecting”, “praising”, “sanctioning”, “approving”, “benefiting” and “thanking”.

    To “bless” does not mean to foretell, to predict, to command or control.

    I think this is an enlightening concept to grasp.

  37. I agree with the general concept that patriarchal blessings speak of foreordination rather than predestination– those blessings may come if we are faithful, but they are not guaranteed unconditionally.

    It also seems to be that a person must be very careful in declaring a patriarchal blessing “failed”. Because God’s ways are not our ways, because we do not have his perspective nor know exactly what may be referred to with each passage, we simply don’t have the ability to authoritatively declared a blessing failed (unless we know we haven’t been living the law upon which that blessing was predicated, in which case its failure is a direct result of our behavior).

    I can’t explain apparent inconsistencies that exist. But I do know that as I get older the meaning of my blessing changes. Even things I felt certain I understood have taken on new forms and been fulfilled in unexpected ways.

    Our job is to have faith and live worthy of the blessings. Let God worry about keeping his promises– He always does.

  38. 9 — I don’t know. I’ve known people who have received a second blessing. Your friend should talk to her bishop about it for a variety of reasons, ranging from he needs to issue the recommend for a second blessing to he can help her try to sort out whatever the issue might be between what she’s seeing and what her blessing says.

  39. #33 – I think such situations are very difficult. I certainly do not have answers as to why this happens. I believe that there is inspiration involved in such blessings but I do not think they are infallible.

    #34 – Thank you for your insight. I wonder what Richard Bushman’s thoughts on this are.

    #36-7 – Although I agree. I wonder whether the GA discourse that surrounds these blessings slightly exaggerated therefore.

    #39 – i will ask around. Thanks.

  40. I baptized a good friend who has Turner’s Syndrome, which means that she has only a single X chromosome, and is therefore sterile. Her P Blessing told her that God was preparing a family for her that she would bear in mortality. Perhaps she tempted fate by marrying a paraplegic. She is currently in her 50’s and childless, although I believe they take in foster children.

  41. Part of the key is the name, “Patriarchal” blessings. Sometimes the blessings are fulfilled for/by descendants. My Grandfather’s blessing stated he would preach the gospel on the isles of the sea. He never saw the ocean, let alone preach on the islands. About four years after his death, I accompanied my father to British Columbia’s Queen Charlotte Islands. He was serving as a Bishop and was assigned to escort a group of Indian Placement children to Alberta. While there, we participated in a Cottage Meeting with the missionaries. That blessing was fulfilled.

    The Stake Patriarch; Elder Boyd K Packer; Ensign Nov 2002

    “Sometimes someone will worry because a promise made in a patriarchal blessing is not yet fulfilled. For instance, a blessing may indicate that a member will be married, and they do not find a companion. That does not mean that the blessing will go unfulfilled. It is well to know that things happen in the Lord’s due time, not always in ours.Things of an eternal nature have no boundaries. From the premortal existence to our existence beyond the veils of death, our life is an eternal life.”

  42. #41 – I am sometimes surprised that people do not struggle more with things like that.

    #42 – Although I agre in principle, when promises are made specifically pertaining to this life, i think it is only fair that people wonder why certain things have not happened. But thanks for your comment.

  43. I find great comfort and strength from my patriarchal blessing, whilst much is generic and some portions are still unanswered the spiritual feelings that accompany it are so acute that I believe God is the author.

    1st I think Patriarchs can make mistakes, some are obvious and the blessing can be preformed again, for those blessings that are incorrect but are too subtle to be noticed, I believe either God will fulfil the promise despite the error, or would show greater comfort and guidance to those who seek his help.

    #41 whilst your friend did not bear children, the feelings of fulfilment due to adoption or fostering would be amplified by God.

    IMO: most failed patriarchal blessings are due to weakness of the Patriarch, however I hold no ill feelings, they are mortal.

  44. #36 Hawkgrrrl – “I think another one is that some members who get them think of them as a star chart or Nostradamus-like prediction, trying to prove their own personal specialness through them.”

    EXACTLY!!!! For many, it’s primarily about feeling special, set apart and above, and being “chosen.” In fact, it has ALWAYS been about this from the beginning of the church. I know that many members receive PB’s in all sincerity and with humility, but all things considered, I ask: What does a PB provide that prayer and scripture study don’t? Are we not, according to Mormon doctrine, all entitled to and destined for the same blessings in the end?

    Look, the subject of patriarchal blessings has always been an enigma! I don’t know if someone mentioned this already, but a PB is NOT a required ordinance. Receiving one is ABSOLUTELY OPTIONAL. It is completely unnecessary for eternal progression. Why, then, is there such a cultural emphasis on receiving one? I heard one church leader down play them, while I heard a sealer in the temple urge a sister to go back and get another one because her “uninspired” Patriarch had accounced her Israelite lineage as “Joseph,” instead of one of his children, Ephraim or Manasseh. The sealer told her that “Joseph” was insufficient, and that it was VERY important that she know which tribe she belongs to. Needless to say, I found the whole discussion quite confusing.

    #2 James – I loved your post, and I want to elborate.

    I think it is so helpful to go back to Father Smith and the beginnings of PB’s to understand how we’ve come to this place. As anyone who has read the D&C knows, there were many people singled out in revelations and given tremondous promises. The prophet was quick to prophecy and bless those around him, and it’s not hard to guess that the atmosphere around him must have been electric, even intoxicating! Think about it – everyday convert farmers and merchants being called out by name, by Jehovah, himself, through the prophet Joseph Smith. Well, as could be imagined, people lined up so that they, too, could secure some special message and promise from God.

    The fact of the matter is (my opinion only), Joseph was weary from the demand and delegated the task to his father, who kept records of all the blessings. The historical record shows that Joseph Sr charged a dollar a piece for each blessing, and many of the saints went back for additional blessings. I know that this is probably not welcomed news for those of you that didn’t know this already, but check it out yourself. It seems to me that the Patriarch’s office in the early church in Kirtland was a bit like Deseret Bookstores are today – a place where you can purchase some uplifting and inspiring content at your own discretion, but no one will tell you that you have to go there.

    It’s true! As has been stated above, the farther back you go, the more sensational and detailed the PB promises are. PB’s were colorful, daring, even reckless… and they came with a price, literally. The bestowal of PB’s today, on the other hand, has become a completely institutionalized affair, with the Patriarchs using bland colors and broad strokes to paint pictures that can never be interpreted in any one specific way (see #34).

    I fully understand that PB’s are a source of great strength and assurance to those who put great energy and faith into interpreting them. But as I see it (and I fully admit that I am a skeptic), the bestowal of PB’s has historically been the equivalent of priesthood-sanctioned escatalogical fortune telling.

  45. #46 ,

    True but the problem are all those blessing from the 1800’s saying that they will live to see the savior and so on. Also father Smiths blessings are still a problem.

  46. It’s #10. Thanks for the interesting perspectives. I will say that we are currently against having children if I am not sure about it. I’d like to “happily welcome” children before getting pregnant, mostly because I was an unhappy accident and it is not a situation I would wish on any child.

  47. #46 – Thanks for your comment. I was not aware that Father Smith used to charge for blessings. Where did you pick up this interesting tidbit. It certainly sheds new light on the role. I would imagine that somewhere there has been article on the changing role of the Presiding Patriarch.

  48. #47 Carlos… I agree, it’s a problem. But then people find a million ways to intepret PB’s to make them mean just about anything.

    #46 Rico –
    Charging for Patriarchal Blessings….

    D Michael Quinn wrote about it in The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power. As you may or may not know, he spent years in the LDS archives wading through endless amounts of source material. Here is a link to Signature Books’ website where you can find the excerpt below along with the all important references:


    In 1835 the Presiding Patriarch was authorized a salary of $10 a week, plus expenses.42 Both the Presiding Patriarch and local stake patriarchs charged a fee. In the 1840s the fee was $1 per patriarchal blessing at Nauvoo; by the end of the nineteenth century it had increased to $2 per blessing.43 Joseph Smith, Sr., gave patriarchal blessings without payment of a fee, but would not record them.44 “Uncle” John Smith commented that he “lived very Poor ever Since we Left Kirtland Ohio” in January 1838 until January 1844. Then his nephew Joseph Smith ordained him a patriarch “through which office I Obtained a Comfortable Living.”45

    Financial incentive is another explanation for the fact that individual Mormons received more than one patriarchal blessing in the nineteenth century, often at the invitation of the patriarch. In October 1877 John Taylor criticized the monetary motivation of some stake patriarchs. He said they were using their patriarchal office as “a mere means of obtaining a livelihood, and to obtain more business they had been traveling from door to door and underbidding each other in the price of blessings.”46

    Patriarchal blessing fees ended in 1902, although patriarchs were allowed to accept unsolicited donations.48 Not until 1943 did church authorities prohibit patriarchs from accepting gratuities for giving blessings.49

  49. #51 – Thanks for this link. I am aware with Quinn and some of his work but have not got round to reading these books yet. although they are on my list.

    This is really interesting.

  50. I certainly don’t mean any disrespect to those of you, like Jared, who find great meaning in their blessings. If something brings you comfort, strength, and purpose, it really doesn’t matter what the source is, in my opinion – whether it be God, Himself, on one extreme, or a well-intentioned but over-zealous, even delusional old Stake Patriarch, on the other.

    I just feel that it’s helpful to know the history a little bit to understand why we’re even having this discussion right now. The fact is, the giving of PB’s was, to a large degree, a commercial enterprise for over a hundred years. It would seem that the church back then did not see PBs as a critical stepping stone toward the more important saving ordinances. Today, there’s an entire culture around it, as evidenced by 50 plus responses to your most interesting post, Rico.

    Perhaps we should keep all this in mind when we start to struggle to understand our PB’s or lean to heavily on them. If you believe in the restored gospel and the scriptures, there’s really nothing extra you need to know about why you’re here, where you’re headed, and why you’re special.

  51. Patriarchal blessings never fail to come to pass. As you stated above about how it will come in time, whether it be here on this earth or in the next, it will come to pass. If their faith is wavering because of this they didn’t truly understand what a patriarchal blessing was. If it was for a mission or marriage etc, it can still come to pass in eternity. The Lord doesn’t break promises. I would tell your friend to be patient, Heavenly Father doesn’t work on our time. Stay true to the faith, and don’t let your soul waiver in disbelief. Look back on the time you received the blessing and remember the spirit you felt manifesting it’s truthfulness, comfort, love and guidance. You will come to understand in time.

  52. My son-in-law; a righteous and beautiful young man was promised to live to a ripe old age and be on the earth when the Savior came. He died of cancer at 33 years of age; hardly a ripe old age.

  53.  http://www.atheistunderworld.com/category/deconversion/

    someone was told he could raise the dead . obviously, didnt come to pass .

  54. Ok, it works.

    I received my Patriarchal Blessing when I was 18. It promised a successful mission where I would “bring many souls to a knowledge of the … restored gospel …”. When I would return from my mission, I would “concentrate on preparing for a vocation of my choice” that would “provide for (myself) and (my) loved ones.” When I “advanced in (that vocation)” I would be “directed to one of a like mind and spirit who will be (my) eternal companion …” This union would bring “beautiful spirits to this earth” where my wife and I would provide well for them. I was also blessed that “all of my righteous goals and desires … would be achieved … with joy and satisfaction.”

    The part about the mission came true. I went to South America and brought “many souls to a knowledge of the … restored gospel.” That’s where the fulfillment of the Blessing ends.

    I had a girlfriend at BYU and we were waiting for me to “advance in my vocation” to get married in accordance with my PB. But then, Church President Spencer W. Kimball told young LDS adults not to postpone marriage for either education or vocation. I was confused because that contradicted my PB. I wrote to my Patriarch — the most spiritual man I’ve ever known — explaining the contradiction and asked his advice whether to get married now or wait like my PB said. He wrote back saying that only I could make that decision, but that I couldn’t go wrong by following the prophet. I prayed fervently about what to do. The answer was clear and unmistakable: go to the Temple and marry my girlfriend soon!

    I proposed to my girlfriend who enthusiastically accepted. We were sealed in the Los Angeles Temple a few months later in a ceremony that President Rose called “one of the most spiritual sealings (he’d) ever performed.” I was 23, she was 20.

    I’m 51 years old now. My temple wedding 28 years ago was the last happy day that I’ve spent on Earth. My honeymoon was a disaster and the words of my non-LDS father regarding us getting married as virgins rang in my ears: “Son, you don’t buy the pants before you try them on.” Unfortunately, unlike pants, you can’t just take a temple marriage back to the Church and exchange it for a better fit. I was stuck in a loveless marriage that she ended less than 7 years later when she took our 4-year-old son — the only source of anything good in my life — and moved out of state to live with her parents.

    That was 21 years ago. Nothing in my PB has come to pass since I was directed to follow the prophet instead of adhere to my Blessing. I was never able to finish college and I’ve scrapped by at odd jobs and depended on family members for assistance, never “advancing in the vocation of my choice” as I was promised though I’ve tried to develop dozens and dozens of businesses. And I’ve certainly never come close to getting married again and having a big family, which was my biggest “righteous goal and desire” that I was promised “would be achieved … with joy and satisfaction”.

    I found a missionary companion recently on Facebook. We communicated for the first time since our mission. He said life for him was wonderful with a successful career, a loving wife and wonderful, healthy children. He asked me how my life as been since my return from South America. I told him “Life as been absolutely horrible”. After reading a synopsis of my horrible life he replied, “Wow. You weren’t kidding!” And it all started going horribly when I obeyed the living prophet.

    I’m still loyal to the Church having never denied the restoration through Joseph Smith, though it is too difficult for me to attend any meetings. I can’t sit there and hear about how everyone has been so blessed by a loving Heavenly Father for keeping the commandments and serving in the Church. I’ve kept the commandments and served very well in the Church, yet all I have to show for it is a tiny apartment and a cat. It’s been several years since I’ve attended Church and no one misses me. I’ve had more Jehovah’s Witnesses visit me during my inactivity than members of my Ward.

    I don’t know why my PB is a hoax. I’ve always been a good Mormon and a good person. Drug dealers, prostitutes and downright horrible people have nice homes, nice cars and big families. Maybe they paid more tithing than I did. I don’t buy that excuse that my PB will be fulfilled during the Millenium. It is very specific that the promised blessings would be fulfilled in the current mortality. There’s only one explanation: God lied to me.

    At least I know I can depend on my cat to do what she says. I can’t say that for anyone else on either side of the veil.

    1. To be honest I think why leaders say that “ all that has been
      promised in you patriarchal blessing will be fulfilled in the millennium” is
      because they really can’t think of an explanation for why obvious blessings that
      have been promised for this life don’t come to fruition. So they just say “o
      well it will happen in the millennium” and other none sense like that.  


      If I am told that I “will marry a worthy woman and have
      children” and it does not say in the hereafter then by default it is speaking
      about mortality not the millennium.  And sometimes
      it does say specifically this life and does not happen.


      If certain things were only meant for the millennium that
      was promised in the blessing then why receive it? I thought it was suppose to
      be a “guide for your life” not for life after.

    2. Yeah, so life sucks sometimes, right? Not just you have gone through this type of thing. I’m not sure I understand, though–it seems you didn’t listen to your pb–so why would you believe it was wrong? Get a job in the vocation “OF YOUR CHOICE” (have you decided what that is, or are you still going in circles?) and wisely, according to your resources, GO FOR IT. Maybe if you did, the other promises will come, too. Your life is NOT OVER, and I seriously truly hope you have many good years soon coming.

      Remember these verses:
      3 Nephi 24:13 Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say: What have we spoken against thee?

      14 Ye have said: It is vain to serve God, and what doth it profit that
      we have kept his ordinances and that we have walked mournfully before
      the Lord of Hosts?

      15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.

      16 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the
      Lord hearkened and heard; and a book of remembrance was written before
      him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.

      17 And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I
      make up my jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son
      that serveth him.

      18 Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the
      wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

      Even if no one else does (and I’ve felt that way too)–you are his son, and HE remembers you! And believe me, others do to, even those you can’t see, but you just don’t know it–but you will one day, and you might feel overcome with love when you do. (https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/book-of-mormon-and-other-scriptures-3-nephi-24-comforting-passages-of-scripture-for-the-extremely-discouraged-despondent-and-or-falling-saint-by-grego/)

    3. You poor man. I have similar issues. It is hard to sit in church and hear about everyone’s perfect lives when I am losing my children one after another. I know the church is true, just very confusing at times. Keep your faith. Someday we will understand perfectly and we will be good with it.

    4. Friend, you didn’t pay attention to the wording in your blessing. Your blessing said that you wouldn’t be directed to “the one” you were supposed to marry until AFTER you advanced in your vocation. If you already had a girlfriend before your vocation advanced, then she obviously wasn’t the one your pb was referring to.

      Also, you chose to take a general directive from the prophet over words that were given to you specifically and directly from God. That is the difference between a Patriarchal Blessing, and other, more general directives from the prophets. The prophets give general counsel that is good for MOST members, but we are always encouraged to question and ask if it is right for us.

      It is unfortunate that the standard, “You can’t go wrong following the prophet,” answer isn’t always the case, but it is so rare when it isn’t the case, that most people don’t think to question it.

      It is sad that your life went so terribly wrong from that one event, but frankly, life is all about choices and how we choose to react to our life situations. If 21 years ago you decided to give up on everything else in your patriarchal blessing, then of course it hasn’t come true. It is never too late, though. Obviously some parts have past, but you still have time to work on the rest. Don’t give up on God, because I know he will never give up on you.

    5. Blessed are they in which are without much, know ye not this world is the kingdom of the Devil, therefore whosoever loveth his life here shall lose it, but he who loseth his life for sake of Christ shall save it. Let thy trials strengthen ye and be not concerned of being comfortable in a world of Babylon and Mammon that leadeth many down path of destruction unawares. If thou be serving God in righteousness is it enough if thou gets no reward in this world but shall in the eternity’s of Heaven, and what is the greatest motivation to do anything good if not because one loveth to do good and serve God, how many have failed the test by focusing on blessings, Some doctrines given to the church was to test peoples hearts, it is not about what thou can receive in blessings but what thou can do to bless the life of others. They who loveth the things of the world the comforts of life ye serve Mammon and seek to serve God but how canst thou, it is easier for a rich man to go through eye of a needle than to enter the kingdom of God. What does it gain a person to have the whole world at the cost of their souls. The wise follow not blindly but discern if something be truth, for there is truly only One Shepard man can trust in that be the Christ, let any who claimeth to speak for him be tried in spirit and words discerned if they be truth and good this includes prophets.

  55. Ibcorps… There is no god. No evidence. If you were born in islam, you would be muslim, and defend that religion just as strongly, would you not? God is an easy but not evident answer for what we can not explain, how can you take the new or old testament as historical facts? noah and the arc? come on… if you cherry pick the nice bits you are fooling your self, it must be taken in its entirety, i left being a mormon, and i am so happy, my life is more of an enjoyment than a test or waiting period for something that may or may not be there…

    just please. look into it and question it.. if its true, you will be happy that you have strengthened your relgion, if you realise difference, it will be as if your eyes have finally be opened,.. i wish there was a god, how great would it be, but instead of me studying mormon as i was raised, i challenged everything, and came up with an un bias conclusion to what I beleive, not what had been told to me, 

    without sounding disrespectful. kids do beleive in santa untill they are told different, your parents seem sincire and have no reason to lie, but when you explained why its wrong, you begin to realise how silly it seems whether its straight away or in the future, 

    my parents, are full mormons, my step dad is bishop and my mum is happy with the religion.. so i do not cause to offend as i love them very much. 

    just think.. HOW? in a logical sense, forget the world of God and base these things on fact we know about real life, do some research, and watch the episode of derren brown on COLD READING, this can be put on paper. 

    he writes about 5 people individually and passes them there papers, they claim its 90% accurate or 100% to them and are amazed at how close it is to there personallity and past.. they all show eachother the papers.. THEY ARE IDENTICAL, yes, now the girl crying at how emotional she got, is now rather embarressed, this was NOT a magic trick. it was to prove how supseptible we are to these things and how easy we beleive it.. the things were worded in a cleverly way, and seemed to suit people as if they were totally different and as if derren had known them for YEARS.. which he did not.. how it works?he writes these things in such a way that the reader MAKES them about him without realising..

    what if i said.. you have seemed to have had trouble in your life you thought it wouldnt get better, but something happend like youmet someone or saw something and it changed the way you looked at the situation..

    the reader would fill in the blanks and think it meant (for example)

    you have been through medical problems you thought would not heal, but a new medicine was tried and it worked and you looked at the situation with releif…

    so as you sit there, as you read this staring blankly at the screen remembering that believing in this was not as easy as it was sooner or later you will feel this as it becomes stronger to disregarded as nonsense..

    1. Your comments are difficult to understand. If you were active in the LDS church for any period of time, then you had an opportunity to receive a patriarchal blessing. Also, why would you need your bishop’s permission to read the Bible when that is one of the standard works of the church? And in regard to LDS church history, which version did you study, the church’s or the one promoted by the detractors of the church? They are like night and day. Also, where in the Bible can you find the exclamation ” Praise Jesus ?” When people join the church they are baptized for the remission of sin and then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. When they leave the church, they lose the Spirit. And finally, in regards to a testimony, what could be greater than that? Jesus told Peter that his testimony of him ( Jesus ) was revealed from heaven.

      Your post seems a bit deceptive, I think.

      1. My blessing said I would “go to a far away place” for my mission. I was in kansas. I was sent to Tennessee.

        I was also told I would be the means of bringing many into the gospel on the mission. Onley one was baptized and he went inactive right away.

        How can that be reconciled in the millennium when it is a this life specific promise?

        1. Remember Pres. Hinckley’s sharing of his pb? If not, you might want to review it. Unless you’re righteous and dead, and the guy you baptized too, there’s plenty of time… Good luck, God bless!

      2.  Freeman, I don’t think MormonCoffee was trying to quote the bible when s/he said Praise Jesus.  So, it can’t be uttered if it isn’t a quote?  The King James version of the bible is the accepted biblical text of the church, yet the “inspired version” that Joseph Smith claimed to be the true translation of certain passages is incorrect according to the dead sea scrolls – the same mistakes that were in the KJ version were also in the “inspired” version “translations” – If you really knew was true Christianity is about, you would realize that Mormonism is not biblical Christianity – at all.  Of course, Mormonism is MORE inspired; but, the bible specifically warns against secret societies/secret combinations – even the book of mormon warns against these, yet they are performed in the temple almost every day.  I understand that “secret combinations” have a connotation of being for evil purposes, but I think it’s very interesting, especially considering that the temple ceremonies were initiated after the BOM was written and after J.S. was initiated into higher levels of Masonry, interesting as well that they were word for word (and handshake for handshake) identical to Masonry rite ceremonies – this changed before I went through for my endowment in early 2000’s, as I didn’t have to make the motion to slit my throat, disembowel myself, and cut my tongue out as my parents did when they went through in the 70’s to indicate the person’s fate if s/he revealed what s/he learned that day in the secret ceremony.  Funny how God is unchanging, yet His restored keys that were given directly to His spokesman/prophet can change over time.  There is always a way to justify any belief, so I know I won’t change your mind about anything, but personally, I thank God every day that I had the strength to leave the church without guilt or shame.  For the record, I do not consider myself a biblical Christian, but have a great deal of respect and love for Jesus.  I wish more “Christians” truly followed his path.

        1. How did you leave the church without guilt or shame? I can’t get over the thought of losing the spirit. I have felt of it’s truth and it’s power. I know it’s true because it was testified to me. Now I am just so confused and wish it weren’t true. I think about leaving the church, but can’t see around the guilt or shame. Wondering how you were able to do it.

      3. you know that Mormons hold the Book of Mormon and the D&C above the bible. It’s studied way more. Also if you read really read your bible you would be brought to the truth.

        1. Yes we are quite aware of this. We read it because the books were hand picked by God not by a Nicene assembly who decided which books were the best and other that should be “banned”. Yet Mormons are extremely educated in the Bible. If you would really read the Book of Mormon you would know it speaks the same truth the Bible does.

    2. i too was saved and the Lord pullled me out. Mormonism is foul and untrue. JS never saw anything. Especially not Heavenly Father know one can see his face and live. Not even Moses. I also thinks it’s viale and disgusting for Mormons to run around calling other Gentiles when they themselves are Gentiles. A jew is a person who comes from the tribe of Judah specifially. Blood linage. Also Mormons need to stop nobody can be “grafted” into Isreal. You either are an isrealite or your not.

      1. In mans natural state he cannot see the face of God and live but transfigured he can. Transfiguration is what allows men to see God. Joseph and Moses were both transfigured.

    3. I don’t think it was Christ who pulled you out of mormonism. Someone who is quite the opposite did. The devil comes in sheeps clothing sometimes. Life is really fun and easy when you give up accountability to live the “good life.” But sadly that doesnt’t make it right or true for that matter. Good luck to you as your experiences in life will point you back to the true direction.

  56. I was told that I “will have your OWN family of children to bless and honor your marriage,” and have been infertile for 9 years (not my husband, so I can’t blame him for choosing to do something that disrupted my PB).  It has been a difficult thing to swallow since my most divine role was ingrained in me as wife and mother by my family and church leaders.  I tried to trust in my PB, but when you’re doing everything you can (full tithe and fast offerings, going to the temple every day, attending all church meetings and activities, and reading the scriptures, and above all trying to exemplify Christ), it becomes quite discouraging to not see a fulfillment of  the blessing.   My grandmother’s PB said she would die “in the blink of an eye, without pain or suffering, during the second coming of Christ.”  She was the kindest, most spiritual person I knew, yet she suffered for many weeks in the hospital before she died, and as far as I can tell, Christ hasn’t returned to the earth yet.  I have noticed that the newer PB’s I hear/see are much more general or vague than the old ones.  It leaves more room for interpretation and less room for vital errors.  And, YES, Rico, patriarchs are human, but in the moment they are giving a blessing to someone, they are supposed to be speaking for God.  Does that mean that the prophet’s words on the pulpit at general conference, and the specific words he utters can also be open to the mistakes of his mortality?  What happened to him being God’s spokesperson?

    1. Liberty, Only you can interpret your blessing. But I will tell you that I have a dear friend who was literally in the exact same situation you are. Her blessing said she’d have her OWN children and she is infertile. Upon discovering her infertility, she felt that her blessing wasnt fulfilled. Now she has adopted 3 wonderful children, and she says she truly feels they are her OWN, even if not biologically. Remember that our blessings don’t always mean what we initially think they do. I wish you all the best, God bless.

    2. Are you doing everything you can to keep your body healthy? No sugar? No gmos? No canola oil or soy? Plenty of vegetables and fruits grown in fertile soil and picked when ripe- not green picked? Eating grass fed/ hormone free meat? Avoiding energy drinks? Getting plenty of healthy fats? Exercising regularly? You were provided a physical body. Faith without works is dead.

  57. For me, my PB makes very clear what my vocation was suppose to be and that I would be very successful at it. Yet, despite multiple attempts, I have been unable to be accepted into the program that I need to pursue it. I have to agree with Liberty–what happened to having a direct spokesperson? The PB is suppose to be your “road map to mortality”–not vauge promises.

    1. What other options do you see than being accepted into the program? do you really NEED that program to pursue that vocation? Just asking…

    2. Unless the man who is acting as the Patriarch is a Holy and righteous man highly devoted to God and his heart is on Heaven and not on the world, and if he has long fasted 3-7 days before doing the blessing focusing his focus on obtaining the blessing putting of the cares of life, unless these conditions are done the Patriarch will be subject to human error more so and even under such conditions can still make mistakes, for unless it is also combined with a Urim and Thummim it can not be 100% from the Father. Therefore discern all things and seek ye revelation about any blessings to confirm it has been properly inspired and is wholly correct, for some parts could be inspired and other parts not so or the whole thing could be uninspired. The wise do not follow without discerning what it is they follow, lest they follow and fall into a pit, was it not said by past leaders to learn to seek revelation and discern all things including what they spoke, yet of this generation few truly discern and seem to assume that all things spoken by leaders cometh from God, such be not the case but at times they can be inspired but also at times do act on their own ideas and thoughts.

  58. Not sure how many who have revived this thread have heard the podcast episode we did on Patriarchal Blessings. Here is the link: 

    It raises the issues of failed blessings, for sure, but really offers a wonderfully rich entry point into new ways of thinking about what they are and are not. Richard Bushman, a Mormon author and historian and a patriarch shares what it’s like for him when he puts his hands on someone’s head to give a patriarchal blessing, and how he thinks PBs are like prophecy (but how we so often misunderstand what prophecy is in the first place). Jared Anderson adds a lot, including some wildly interesting stuff on lineage. I also loved our discussion there on the whole “valiant in the pre-Earth life” angle.
    Hope you’ll give it a listen!

  59. I don’t know anyone — ANYONE whose PB has come to pass. To believe any human being who says they are speaking for God is ludicrous. Sitting in sacrament meeting one Sunday (shortly after I was ordained into the priesthood), I had an epiphany. I don’t know why; I don’t know what prompted it. What I know is that without a shadow of a doubt, I stopped believing in the teachings of the church. My thought that Sunday morning was this is “a bunch of hooey.” For the next eight years I struggled to believe. I read the scriptures praying for guidance and understanding; I continued to move up in the priesthood; I served in the Sunday School; I gave talks when asked; I was a visiting home teacher. Three days before I was to receive my PB I came out so to speak to my parents and told them I would no longer pretend to be a part of the LDS church because that made me a hypocrite. For the next 30+ years, I continued to struggled to believe. (I’m once again ron.) I kept asking myself what if. During my spiritual journey, I continued to study the scriptures, (I’m once again reading the Book of Mormon.) I attended church periodically, but to no avail. Today, I am a loving, caring, spiritual man. I believe in a higher power — God yes. And I believe we all have the spirit within us. For you to say we lose the Holy Spirit when we leave the church is not only wrong, I believe it’s sinful. You don’t have any proof of that. The Holy Spirit resides in me today tenfold compared to when I was a Mormon. You don’t have to be Mormon to have the Holy Spirit reside in you. One of the most amazing, righteous, spiritual human beings to ever walk this earth was Gandhi, and he was not even a Christian let alone a Mormon. It’s amazing to me how active members find a way to justify everything when confronted about obvious errors. However, it’s because they are all brainwashed. If the LDS church isn’t a cult, it’s close facsimile. I have seen intelligent individuals become nothing more than puppets to the church when they join. One last comment. Bishops are supposedly called to serve That, too, is a bunch of hooey. The Bishop in our Ward when I was growing up was NOT a righteous or spiritual man. Struggling as I did, I had more of a testimony for the Gospel than he did.

    1. Dear Brother Barrel, we often forget that we need to have Faith for these blessings to come to pass. Faith without work is dead. It seems to be common among lds members who loose their way to still expect their blessings for eternity. remember that if you do not follow christ then you have no promise

  60. Very interesting way to write about ones blessing. To see if it has ‘failed’ someone.

    I love my blessing and try to read it everyday. I have a copy in my journal, scriptures, and pocketbook. I received it ten years ago when i was 31, and although i continue to have trials in my life I have faith in my blessing, and in the Savior to know that it will come to pass. And so far…it has.

    I strive my best to live a life as a faithful, and good member, neighbor, daughter, mother, sister, and wife. No one is perfect, but i know that if I seriously do what is right that my blessing will be true.

    It is up to us on how we view it, and the faith that we have. It’s sad for those who may see it as a fail, but pray your heart out and read it again, and again…and again.

    It is given to us for a reason, and believe me when I write this…I was new to the ward in which I got my blessing in, and had no clue who the patriarch was. EVERYTHING he said was so true. The Lord truly knew what I had gone through in my life to come at this point in receiving my blessing. All I have to say is, “WOW”! I love my blessing, and will never doubt it.

    No matter the trials I have had, and continue to have-NEVER doubt it.

    My firstborns blessing is even more amazing! She is 17, and everything that is written is up to her on how she lives her life. She continues to learn as my husband and I teach her. She loves her blessing, and knows that it’s a guide to her life. She knows that she will have trials throughout. We accentuate positivity in our blessings. No matter what happens in the future.

    Even in the most trying of times, i will always have faith. I use to be one of those people who expected something to happen overnight. Not anymore. No more instant gratification. I see my blessing as a timetable too, and that has helped.

    I have too much faith to worry about my blessing be a fail. Not worth the stress, and worry. Certainly not a good reason to no longer believe in God, or the LDS religion. I’m too strong to let anyone hurt or damage my testimony.

    God bless those who struggle with their blessing in not coming to pass.

  61. I am 57 years old and single. I was promised a young man would come into my life and that my mission was to be a mother. At the age of 26, tired of waiting for the young man to come into my life, I married the wrong guy – an infertile guy and I knew he was wrong when I married him. After trying to save the marriage for over 20 years I divorce him. I wasn’t willing to go by the Lord’s timetable and decided to take matters into my hands. I have strived to live the gospel and in time I hope to have the blessing of eternal marriage and offspring. I am willing to wait 500 or more years for it.

  62. I was wondering if a person could get a patriarchal blessing redone due to the fact that a patriarch was doing some inappropriate things with the sisters in the church? And it doesn’t feel to have the spirit within the patriarchal blessing? And if so how do I go about doing it?

    1. You can get a second patriarchal blessing. Just ask your bishop or branch president. In the case you describe, another one should certainly be done.

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