Sunday, May 29, 2011

Patriarchal Blessings and Me

I joined the church when I was 17.

I got my patriarchal blessing when, I think, I was 19. Maybe 18. At the time I was living by myself, working a crap job for crap pay.  In fact, I had to cancel the first appointment to get my patriarchal blessing because I couldn't afford the gas to drive out to his house.

When the next appointment came up, I got in my ratty little car and drove out to his house, where we chatted for a little bit before the momentous blessing took place.  He told me that if I lost my copy of the blessing, Salt Lake could give me another copy.  He also said that if something happened to the copy on file in Salt Lake, then I could get a recommend to get another blessing.  But he cautioned me not to be frivolous.  He told me about someone who didn't like her patriarchal blessing, and kept pestering and pestering until finally she got permission to get another blessing.  But when the patriarch put his hands on her head, he was quiet for a few minutes, and then said, "I'm sorry. There's nothing here."  Ooooh.  That meant if I were greedy then God would take away my blessings!!  (Much to my shame, I will admit that I believed this.)

He counseled me to keep in mind the things I most wanted to know.  Hey! I was a 19-year-old girl. Maybe 18. All I wanted to know was if I would get married.

So he gave me the blessing, and I blissfully drove home, thinking over what I could remember of it and eagerly anticipating receiving the transcribed copy in the mail. I was going to get married! In the temple! I was going to have children!

So the typewritten copy of my blessing duly arrived in the mail, and I committed large portions of it to memory.  Marriage would come in the temple to a priesthood holder who would hold my heart in his hands and keep it there warm and safe.  I was to be a teacher, a teacher of men and women throughout the universe.  The power of my teaching would come through my progeny.  Genealogy was one of the missions placed upon my head.  There would be callings and challenges, but if I were obedient, I would grow to meet them. Don't get angry and don't hold grudges. And Satan's very aware of my powers, so be careful not to mislead others off the path that is so difficult (the typist spelled it "diffucult," and I had great difficulty with that because I have a testimony of proper spelling).

Fast forward to a college psychology class. We were watching a film where students had been given a personalized horoscope.  They all read their horoscopes, and were impressed with how accurate their horoscopes were. Then they were instructed to pass their horoscope to the person in front of them (the person in the front taking their horoscopes to the person who was in the back of the row) and read them. Yep, you guessed it--the new horoscopes were just as accurate as the originals were.

No, it did not then occur to me to place patriarchal blessings in the same category. Because after all, the patriarch was ordained and called of God, and the priesthood power he exerted meant that my patriarchal blessing really was unique to me.

Now, some years later, and I'm actually using my brain without the warm glow cast by unwavering belief and faith in LDS, Inc.  And I look at my blessing, and say, yeah, right. 

  1. I did not get married in the temple.  My husband and I did get sealed several years later.
  2. I do not have children.
  3. I am not a teacher.  And I rarely got the opportunity to teach even at church, because I was usually called to play piano instead.
  4. I have done a little genealogy, but find it interesting to just learn about my ancestors. I'm not intensely interested in it, and I haven't felt guilty about it.
  5. The advice not to hold grudges is good advice in general.
The only one that still gets me is the caution to be careful, and not mislead others off the path that is so diffucult [sic].  That little niggling voice that says, "What if you're wrong? What if all this really is the One True Church?"  I mean, I don't want to mislead anyone.

But I'm not here to mislead anyone. I'm expressing my thoughts and feelings in this blog because it's safe.  A few readers know who I am in real life.  I can't come out of the Apostate closet yet because I haven't told my mother and I don't know if I ever can.  She's more than a little batshit crazy, and she would be devastated at my leaving the church. She'd probably be able to handle it if I were attending some church, any church, but since I don't even know right now what I believe about God, I'm not ready to start going to church just yet.

So even if you don't know who I am, know that I'm a pretty decent person. I have a bizarre sense of humour. I'm relearning how to think critically. I love movies. I love books. I love dogs. I have a thing for shoes and handbags.  I'm dressing up as Bellatrix Lestrange for the last Harry Potter movie. I can cuss in several different languages. I'm a great cook. I love to teach, even if I'm not a teacher. I have an opinion on everything, but won't normally express said opinions unless I know you really well. I love the theatre, both as a [mediocre but enthusiastic] actor and as an audience member. I like to take long baths with Lush bath bombs or bubble bars, a glass of wine, and a good book. [If it's a book by a British author, I mentally read it with a British accent.  If it's one of the Harry Potter books, I mentally read it with different voices for the different characters. Yes, I'm aware that this makes me sad and pathetic. But hey! I have a good time!]   I frequently make terrible jokes that crack me up, even if no one else laughs.  I have been known to carry on an entire conversation where my lines all come from movies, books, plays, or song lyrics. I insist that "quote" is a verb; "quotation" is a noun; and I once wrote a very short story wherein I strangled two of my sisters for using the words incorrectly.

In other words, I'm a complete dork. And I'm not trying to lead you astray.


  1. Your college horoscope story reminds me of the time my roommate came back from Winter break with a pack of Tarot cards. Naturally, just as soon as he and I discovered how powerful they were at making you think they were relevant, we were headed to the bars, where we used "Can I read your fortune" as an excuse to meet girls.

  2. "(the typist spelled it "diffucult," and I had great difficulty with that because I have a testimony of proper spelling)"

    Hilarious. I also have a testimony of proper grammar. The early versions of the Book of Mormon where people seen stuff and come up to wherever just about done me in.

  3. Your patriarchal blessing sounds suspiciously just like mine!?!?!?! I was 12 when I got mine. Our youth leaders set up appointments for us and we all lined up outside the bishop's office waiting our turn. I was upset, because I didn't feel ready for it. It was so much more important to my parents than me. When the transcript arrived, my mom took it and put it in her filing cabinet. To this day, I've not read it. That is perfectly okay with me.

  4. I have a testimony of spelling as well! My "blessing" had tons of typos and it pissed me off.


    I cut it up and threw it away, along with my Triple Comb.