Learn how to better understand and study your patriarchal blessing.
Life is full of uncharted waters: Where should I go to school? What should I study? Should I go on a mission? Whom should I marry? If you were given a personal map to navigate the decisions of life, would you follow it?
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have given us such a map—patriarchal blessings—to give us direction in our lives. Though we can make decisions of our own free will, patriarchal blessings can shed light on what paths will bring the greatest happiness. But simply having a map isn’t enough. We must study, understand, and apply the meaning within the map.
Likewise, as you come to understand the language used in your patriarchal blessing—your own personal guide to life—you will be able to discern who you are in God’s eyes and what you can become. (Read “What Were You Born to Do?”)
Discover Your Lineage
First and foremost, your patriarchal blessing declares your lineage, or the specific tribe of the twelve tribes of Jacob (who was later called Israel) to which you belong. (Watch “Declaration of Lineage in Patriarchal Blessings.”) Though we are not all literal descendants of Jacob, the scriptures teach us that Church members are adopted into the house of Israel (see Abraham 2:10).
Your patriarchal blessing may also describe any related blessings that accompany your particular tribe. For instance, many members of the Church belong to the tribe of Ephraim, a tribe that has the unique responsibility to spread the message of the restored gospel to the world (see Deuteronomy 33:13–17; Doctrine and Covenants 133:26–34).
Find Personal Counsel
Your patriarchal blessing doesn’t simply tell you what to do, but it can offer personalized insights about which paths—if pursued in faith—can help you know when you’re aligning your life with Heavenly Father’s will. As you study your patriarchal blessing and seek to live in a manner that invites the Spirit of the Lord, you can find safety, joy, and direction.
Patriarchal blessings often give warnings to protect us along the way. Some of these admonitions help protect us from Satan’s influence; others might enlighten us on how we can overcome the natural man within us.
Develop Gifts and Talents
Patriarchal blessings can also mention spiritual gifts and talents that the Lord has given you to build up His kingdom. If your blessing mentions a talent that is unfamiliar to you, this could be because you may not yet have had the chance to discover or develop this talent. Through diligent seeking and the help of the Lord, you can grow to embody this talent and many more. (Read “When President Nelson Learned Chinese” for an amazing example of this!)
Seek Promised Blessings
Lastly, our patriarchal blessings reveal Heavenly Father’s promised blessings to us if we remain faithful to Him. There is no guarantee as to when these promises will be fulfilled, but we can know that as long as we obediently live the gospel, they will be fulfilled, whether in this life or the next.
Tips for Study
- Identify counsel, warnings, talents, and promises in your patriarchal blessing. Pray about how they might apply to you in your current stage of life.
- Study your blessing thoroughly and often throughout your life. The same sentence can have multiple meanings to you at different times.
- Remember that a patriarchal blessing doesn’t mention every aspect of your life. Even if an important goal isn’t mentioned in your blessing, it can still be an important thing to strive for.
- Be obedient to the gospel. The blessings in your patriarchal blessing are contingent upon your righteousness.
- Set goals to seek the gifts and develop the talents mentioned in your blessing.
- Reflect on where you are headed in life and where you eventually want to be. How do your goals align with your patriarchal blessing?
- Consider making a copy of your patriarchal blessing to use for study. You can write insights, highlight words that stand out, and note scriptures that relate to your blessing.