Archives for posts with tag: patriarchal blessing

The following was posted as a comment on a blog I was reading the other day about Mormon Folklore stories:

“My favorite was doing interviews with fellow students concerning stories they’d heard. From at least 2 people I got the story of the old lady who converted to the church who went to get her patriarchal blessing. In that blessing she was told that she would have joined the church many years earlier if a certian young man had been worthy and gone on his mission. Not two weeks after I turned in my paper our stake president in stake conference told the EXACT same story as a lesson to us and that he knew it was true becuase he knew so and so who knew the so and so, etc…!!!”

A friend told me the following story:

Supposedly, according to the folktale, a young man with Down Syndrome lived next to his next-door neighbor who also happened to be the stake patriarch. On a regular basis, the young man would ask the patriarch when he could get his patriarchal blessing. Currently, the Church says that those with Down Syndrome are not accountable and thus do not need to receive the saving ordinance of baptism (like our policy with young children), and thusly, they also do not get patriarchal blessings. However, this patriarch, after years of asking, decided to ask the stake president if it would be appropriate for him to give this young man a patriarchal blessing. The stake president felt impressed to give the okay, and so an appointment was arranged.

As the patriarch blessed this young man with Down Syndrome, the blessing said that he had been one of the most valiant children of God during the War in Heaven. After God pronounced Satan’s fall from His presence, this young man was one of the devil’s escorts down to Earth. Because of this, Satan has especial interest in corrupting this choice spirit of God. In order to protect him from Satan’s concentrated efforts, he sent him to earth with Down Syndrome as a shield and protection from the devil’s temptations, barbs, and fiery darts. After the blessing was finished, the young man stood up and hugged his parents. He thanked them for their love and support, and especially that they did not abort him, even though they knew during the pregnancy that he would be born with Down Syndrome. For those brief, few minutes, he could talk clearly without any problem, but soon afterwards, he reverted back to his Down Syndrome condition, and could not remember the experience. However, the parents thanked the Lord for this special opportunity in understanding the mortal circumstances surrounding their son.

I have since heard several variations on this — mostly differences in why God had to protect that particular child from especially dangerous temptation. It seems that this folktale gains great strength and vigor because it attempts to explain and justify the unexplainable, namely, why God allows some children to be born with disabilities. At the moment, the Church has no official stance, but no doubt this question still presses upon the minds of many LDS parents, and thus this folktale attempts to fill the vacuum.

Um Samwael wrote in:

When I was fifteen, a friend of mine told me that her family friend who was my age had something really weird in his patriarchal blessing. It said he would be called on a mission but would be recalled to the States to serve his country in the next World War. His younger brother’s blessing said that he would serve in the military but would be unable to serve a proselyting mission. Since those guys are supposedly 27 and 26 now, and the United States has yet to institute the draft for WWIII, I’m guessing they served regular old missions.

Um Samwael wrote in:

Someone told me that you’re not supposed to read your patriarchal blessing out loud because Satan can hear, but he can’t read. (I don’t buy into this theory, however.)

I had also heard this rumor before. In fact, on my mission, some missionaries refused to pray out loud in fear that Satan would be able to hear them and thwart their plans for the day. Finally, my mission president said that on no terms could Satan overhear what we pray for in hopes of dashing them against the floors of hell and that prayer is a protected channel between God and His children. It was only after he encouraged missionaries to pray out loud often that some of the missionaries I knew felt comfortable with it again.