“What are the requirements in preparing for a patriarchal blessing?” New Era, Apr. 1972, 11
Above all, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, in the plan of salvation, and in the mission we have therein to fulfill, as well as full activity and fellowship in the Church and obedience to all the laws of the Church. Everyone who desires to be called a Saint of the latter days wishes to learn from a patriarch what the Lord wants of him. He is also perhaps inspired with the wish to learn what the Lord may give him according to his faithfulness or what he may expect of the Lord.
Perhaps an experience is the best explanation. A very promising young girl wanted to know what the Lord expected from her. She was one of the active forces in the MIA, a somewhat autocratic young lady. She came from six hundred miles away for the sole purpose of receiving her patriarchal blessing and learning what the Lord expected her to do. Because the blessing had to be translated first into the French language, she was forced to wait longer for it. She became impatient and asked me in a letter to inform her what the special message of her blessing was. Thereupon I consoled her with the answer: patience is the special message. After receipt of the translation she wrote to me again that she could not find the special message in her blessing. So I had to answer her that she should read the blessing again carefully and she would find some things therein that, if she would follow them, would make someone aware of her who would then tell her what she should do. Two years later she informed me that she was traveling to the temple to receive her endowments. She had been called on a mission to Scotland and wanted to see me again before leaving. In the meantime she had been responsible for several baptisms, her parents were attending meetings, her mother was trying to keep the Word of Wisdom, and her sister had been baptized.
Was something special contained in her blessing? Was her patience rewarded? Certainly. And this was only the beginning of a long, successful life. How and for what should one prepare oneself? We should not prepare ourselves for something just because another has received it. What the Lord expects of us is found in the example of Nathaniel (John 1:45–47), and therewith the readiness to do everything that may be expected for the fulfillment of the blessing given and to avoid everything that would detract from it.
The Saints are called the chosen people. Through the restored church of Jesus Christ and the powers given to us through the priesthood, to which the patriarchal blessing belongs, we carry great responsibilities. We are those who should ask what the Lord especially expects from us. We are those who should save Israel, build the temples, do the missionary work, prepare for the return of our Savior, and stand under the blessings of the fathers.
I recommend that everyone read Paul’s epistle to the Romans and pay close attention to the messages in chapters nine through eleven. Here you can learn about God’s sovereignty over all people and his promises to the house of Israel and the gentiles. After reading Romans you should better understand the parable of the marriage of the king’s son in Matthew 22:1–14 [Matt. 22:1–14]. Reading and gaining an understanding of these scriptures will help to prepare you for a patriarchal blessing. In addition, talk with your bishop or branch president. He should be able to help you to prepare mentally and spiritually for a blessing, as well as inform you as to what else is necessary.