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Patriarch Extraordinaire

Yesterday one of our daughters chose to receive her patriarchal blessing. While that’s obviously a very personal thing, I just wanted to write a quick note about the experience.

The elderly husband and wife were beyond lovely. They met with our daughter earlier in the week to explain a bit about the blessing process (“Remember, I’m not a fortune teller!”) and to set a date. They go to the temple before each blessing and put the recipient’s name on the prayer roll. They meet before the blessing to welcome those attending, confirm details, answer any questions, and speak personally about the use of blessings in upcoming years.

The thing that probably struck me the most was the great care the patriarch took. He expressed repeatedly how humbled he was to be in that position. Not in the sense of, “It’s humbling to be in such an awesome calling with so much power!” but, rather, “It is an honor to be able to give this blessing to you, because you are so infinitely important.” 

Even in the course of giving the blessing, he took such care (that’s the only word that seems to fit) in what he said and how he expressed it. It was such a wonderful experience.

Discussing it later, I told my daughter one of the things I loved most was that he said so many things I’ve told her all her life. She laughed, thinking it was an “I told you” moment. But it wasn’t at all. Like all people, our children can’t always see themselves clearly. The often don’t see or appreciate their best character traits and blessings. What is “normal” to them is often actually extraordinary. And sometimes having mom tell them how awesome they are doesn’t make such a big impression. (“You’re supposed to think I’m awesome. It’s your job.”)

But when the patriarch — who doesn’t know my daughter at all — said the very same things about her most amazing gifts, it went right to her heart.

Today I am incredibly grateful for a man who takes his solemn responsibility so seriously. My daughter wasn’t just another blessing. She was an individual child of God — and he treated her and her blessing as such.

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Angie Gardner March 4, 2013, 6:17 am

    Thanks for sharing that sweet experience, Alison.

  • Fantine March 4, 2013, 1:14 pm

    What a nice story. I hope we get the same treatment for our next son. (Our daughter’s experience was OK, but not the best.)

  • Tracy Keeney March 9, 2013, 3:37 pm

    How wonderful!!! It’s experiences like that, that help to reaffirm our testimonies– that these men are truly called of God. They aren’t just saying a bunch of generic stuff off the top of their heads, whatever “sounds” nice, but are actually speaking for the Lord. What a wonderful experience for her– and you!

  • Susan March 10, 2013, 10:45 pm

    I *always* get the, “You have to say that. You’re my mom.” LOL What a great experience. It sounds like the patriarch who gave me mine a long time ago. It was such a spiritual experience.
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  • MB March 14, 2013, 8:10 pm

    I’m happy for you.

    And Fantine, do not be sad that your children did not/may not have a similarly lovely experience. My experience with my patriarch was not good. However, the typed copy that I received in the mail a few weeks later has turned out to be a source of wise counsel throughout my life.

    It turned out to be a seminal experience for me as it gave me tangible support for something that I had begun to suspect; that the emotional loveliness of an experience was not a measure of the amount of truth or good that could come from it, and that God worked through imperfect people in spite of their often glaring imperfections and the stumbling blocks they created.

    That has been good for me to know.

  • jennycherie March 15, 2013, 4:29 am

    Alison – so glad your daughter had a wonderful experience. Mine was much the same. I can’t wait for my children to have this experience!

    “the emotional loveliness of an experience was not a measure of the amount of truth or good that could come from it, and that God worked through imperfect people in spite of their often glaring imperfections and the stumbling blocks they created.”

    Fantine – that is brilliant! Thanks for sharing your experience!
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