“Who should give father’s blessings to children with no qualified father in the home?” Ensign, Feb. 1979, 41
Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone, First Quorum of the Seventy Before we consider this question we should ask, are father’s blessings essential? I have never had a father’s blessing; my wife has never had a father’s blessing, although her father was an active member of the Church. Father’s blessings are highly desirable, and a worthy father has a patriarchal right to give such blessings. However, there are many homes that do not have a worthy father in the home, due to the reason of divorce, death, family abandonment, or some other situation. Our family was not complete after my mother and father were divorced. Therefore, I did not seek a father’s blessing. It was not essential to my activity in the Church.
There are other means of obtaining priesthood blessings and administrations. Every active member of the Church can be administered to by worthy elders. The same order that governs welfare needs and counseling in the Church also operates for priesthood blessings. Worthy priesthood holders within the immediate or extended family should be called to bless or administer to sick family members. If no one in the immediate or extended family can give the blessing, the home teacher should be invited to perform this sacred ordinance. This order of the Church provides for every member.
We would do well to realize that every worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holder can give blessings. We sometimes consider calling upon the bishop or stake president, stake patriarch or other prominent priesthood leader to give blessings because we feel they are more faithful or have greater faith. This need not be the case—indeed is often not the case. Worthy and faithful home teachers are able through their faith and prayers to receive the same inspiration that might come through priesthood leaders.
It seems proper to me that no one except a worthy father has the right to give a father’s blessing. Although this thought may hurt a little and cause some longing, the Lord did not leave those in such conditions without blessings. Every member of this church can receive a special blessing or a comfort blessing from a righteous priesthood holder. The person giving the blessing will be entitled to revelation and inspiration for the person he is blessing.
Often, when members are ordained into the priesthood or set apart to various callings, the bishop, stake president, or other presiding priesthood leader has an opportunity to give such blessings as the Spirit dictates. We have been instructed that such blessings and administrations are not to be taken down in shorthand or tape recorded. But the person receiving the blessing may desire to write in his journal the special directions and instructions that were pronounced.
I have given my children father’s blessings before their missions, prior to temple marriage, and at other sacred and needed times. It is a privilege that those with worthy priesthood fathers in the home may request. To the rest of us who do not live under such conditions, the same blessings are available through family members, home teachers, or other servants of the Lord. Even though they may not be from earthly fathers, they will give equal comfort because they come from another father, our Heavenly Father.