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A father, assisted by other men who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, gives his infant child a name and a father's blessing during a sacrament meeting (c. 1975; see D&C 20:70). Fathers may also bless their children at other times of need. Courtesy Doug Martin.
by Victor L. Brown, Jr.
Fathers' blessings are given by the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood following the pattern of the ancient Patriarchs, such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Lehi, Mosiah, Alma 2, and Mormon. All gave blessings to their children. Adam's final blessing upon several of his descendants is described in Doctrine and Covenants 107:53-57. So significant was the ordinance on that occasion that "the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam" (TPJS, p. 38).
For the earthly blessing to be honored in heaven, it is necessary that a father has been baptized, has received the Holy Ghost, and bears the Melchizedek Priesthood. Through these ordinances and covenants, the father may claim the powers of heaven to guide his thoughts and ratify his words. To give such a blessing, the father places his hands upon the head of his child, and assures the child by word and spirit that the blessing, spoken by a loving parent, comes with divine approval and inspiration.
The father may give blessings when requested by his wife or children or when he feels their need. He does not force a blessing on anyone, for that would conflict both with the law of agency and the spirit of love. There is no ideal frequency for such blessings, only as the needs of the person and the whisperings of the Spirit suggest. A father will find performing this sacred ordinance easier if his relationships with his children are gentle and kind. If there is a conflict between father and child, it may be necessary to reconcile it before attempting the blessing.
A father's blessing is both an ordinance authorized by God and an action that draws father and child together even as it reassures a mother, who sees her husband spiritually minister to their child. It is a symbolic and official godlike act of pure love.
(See Basic Beliefs home page; Church Organization and Priesthood Authority home page; Priesthood Organization home page; Priesthood Ordinances home page)
"Fathers Blessings and Patriarchal Blessings." Melchizedek Priesthood Personal Study Guide, p. 43. Salt Lake City, 1988.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, Father's Blessings
Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company
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