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Jumping the Gun with the Online Patriarchal Blessing Announcement

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 22, 2008

By now you’ve probably heard — maybe received a couple of breathless emails — about the Church’s plans to make patriarchal blessings available via the internet. There will probably not be a flurry of emails retracting that announcement, although such would be appropriate.

The announcement has been pulled from the lds.org website. It was premature, possibly a misunderstanding on someone’s part, or perhaps even the understandable human desire to be the first to tell something important. Blessings are not yet available online, nor has any date been announced when they will be available online.

The Church does plan on eventually making electronic scans of patriarchal blessings available to members via the internet. Eventually. They are working toward that goal now, and have scanned part, but by no means all, of the three million-plus blessings on file in the Church Historian’s Office. Nor have they completed work on any website for you to request these blessings, including the necessary security procedures to preserve the sacred nature of these blessings.

The premature announcement has resulted in a flood of telephone calls to the Church Office Building. I understand (gossip alert:) that some of the calls have been from people wanting to request blessings, but that the majority of calls have been from people expressing concern that just any ol’ anybody could read their personal, private, sacred blessings.

No. They can’t. And they won’t. Don’t call. Please. Not yet.

If you do want to request a copy of your patriarchal blessing, you can still do it in the old fashioned way: You can visit the Church History Library if you happen to be in Salt Lake City (the door to the library is in the lobby next to the huge “Christ commissioning the apostles” mural). Or you can write (no telephone or email orders, just written ones) to Patriarchal Blessings, Church History Library, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 50 East North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150.

You may request your own blessing, that of your spouse, those of your descendants, and those of your deceased ancestors — direct line ancestors only, not aunts and uncles. The only people who can request your blessing are you, your spouse, your parents, and your grandparents. No ex-girlfriends, no nosy ward members.

State your name and mailing address (including your maiden name if you are a married woman), your birthdate, and whatever information you know that will help the missionaries find your blessing: the name of your patriarch, the stake where you got your blessing, the approximate date. If you are looking for anyone else’s blessing, state your relationship to that person.

There is no charge for these copies. Please request no more than four at a time; wait until you receive those, then ask for any others you might want.

We’ll all enjoy the ease and speed of being able to request blessings via the internet. That is still a blessing of the not-too-distant future, though.



10 Comments »

  1. My favorite story about patriarchal blessings is about the guy (a California Mormon, I believe) who decided to test the accuracy of his blessing, and surreptitiously went to another patriarch and asked for a blessing. When delivered, it was EXACTLY THE SAME!

    Comment by Steve Evans — October 22, 2008 @ 3:26 pm

  2. Thanks for the update. This got me wondering, is there any way I can request that my parents not be able to get a copy of my patriarchal blessing? (At least as long as I’m still living.) They are active church members, but they weren’t when I received my blessing. There is some stuff about them in my blessing that I would prefer they not read. (It’s nothing unflattering, just stuff that was meant for me and not for them.)

    Comment by Keri — October 22, 2008 @ 3:33 pm

  3. Ooooh, Steve, I think you should write that up in email AND SEND IT TO EVERYBODY YOU KNOW!!

    Keri, there’s no apparatus in place to record a request like that. Right now, they don’t even have a way to record a correction in the spelling of a name.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 22, 2008 @ 4:00 pm

  4. Regarding Steve’s uplifting anecdote–I heard that the new blessing even contained the same grammatical and spelling errors as the first! And it is a little known fact that it was Snoop Dog’s blessing!

    Comment by DavidH — October 22, 2008 @ 4:42 pm

  5. Sorry, DavidH, you were caught by the spam filter for some reason. And you left off the part about the patriarch being Steve Martin.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 22, 2008 @ 6:50 pm

  6. Thank you, Ardis, for your last statement in #3. This explains why after several decades and requests the keepers of the blessings haven’t been able to coreect the spelling on my late mother’s first name. This even after I made a personal visit to the C.H.O. with the request. My poor mother must now go through the remainder of time, and possibly all eternity with her name spelled incorrectly. (Not to mention what that error does to the pronunciation of her name. No wonder she hasn’t appeared to me demanding that her Temple work be done. She is likely still miffed about the restored Church holding all of the relevatory keys not being able to correct a simple error.) Perhaps the millennial Church computers will be able to rectify this mistake.

    Steve, I heard a similar legend except that the second Patriarch said, “Thus saith the Lord, please refer all inquiries to your original Stake Patriarch. Amen.”

    Comment by Velikiye Kniaz — October 22, 2008 @ 7:03 pm

  7. Regarding the “test” blessing:

    I was raised in a small, rural town in fruit and cattle country. My patriarch probably would have uttered a few choice and very descriptive words while telling the person to repent. I like that response, personally.

    Comment by Ray — October 22, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

  8. Steve, funnily that happened to my Mom (who has both copies). The first Patriarch turned out to have dementia and so they did a second blessing. It obviously wasn’t word for word exact but it was pretty similar.

    Comment by Clark — October 22, 2008 @ 9:52 pm

  9. I had two blessings, one right after another. The recorder didn’t work on the first one.

    The second blessing was almost word for word (and it wasn’t a stock prayer), with two exceptions: one relatively negative “promise” was removed and anothegtivr relatively negative “promise” was altered to a neutral/favorable promise.

    I refer to my blessing. It’s led me through some difficult times in some profound ways.

    Comment by queuno — October 23, 2008 @ 10:00 pm

  10. My wife received two blessings, about 15 years apart. Not much the same between the two. The second was much shorter.

    Comment by CS Eric — October 23, 2008 @ 10:26 pm

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