In the July 2012 edition of the Ensign, there is an article by Elder Dallen H Oaks. http://www.lds.org/liahona/2012/07/the-importance-of-priesthood-blessings?lang=eng&query=blessings+comfort
In the article, he talks about the different kinds of priesthood blessings. For this post, I would like to focus on Blessings of Comfort or Counsel. The article describes them this way:
“Persons desiring guidance in an important decision can receive a priesthood blessing. Persons who need extra spiritual power to overcome a personal challenge can receive a blessing. Priesthood blessings are often requested from fathers before children leave home for various purposes, such as school, service in the military, or a long trip.
Blessings given in circumstances such as I have just described are sometimes called blessings of comfort or counsel. They are usually given by fathers or husbands or other elders in the family. They can be recorded and kept in family records for the personal spiritual guidance of the persons blessed.”
Part of the article is also very specific that blessings of comfort or counsel, should be requested by the individual receiving the blessing. So, I am curious about your experiences with blessings of this type. Since many people who were raised in the church are likely to have had a number of these blessings, I am curious which of these statements fit your experience:
I have never had a blessing of the kind described above.
I have received the kind of blessing described above, I found it helpful in making a decision.
I have received the kind of blessing described above, I found it brought me peace and acceptance of a situation.
I have received the kind of blessing described above, I found it brought me strength during a difficult trial.
I have received the kind of blessing described above, I found that there were specific things promised me that happened.
I have received the kind of blessing described above, I found the blessing to be non-specific but still helpful with a coming school year, decision, or endeavor in my life.
I have received the kind of blessing described above, I found that there were specific things promised to me that did not happen.
I have received the kind of blessing described above, I found that the contents of the blessing brought guilt or feelings of discomfort.
I have received the kind of blessing described above, I found the blessing to be non-specific and unhelpful with whatever I was struggling with.
Every (or almost every) blessing I received was at my request.
Some of the blessings I received were not at my request.
All of the blessings I received were not at my request.
All of the blessings I received were inspired, and I felt increased influence of the Lord as a result.
Some of the blessings I received were inspired, and most of them brought an increase in faith.
Some of the blessings I received were inspired, but most of them did not bring an increase in faith.
Most of the blessings I received were not inspired and did not have much impact on my testimony.
Most of the blessings I received were not inspired and negatively impacted my testimony.
Some or all of the blessings I received brought feelings of unrighteous dominion and decreased my faith.
Some or all of the blessings I received brought feelings of unrighteous dominion and led to me completely losing my faith.
I tried to include the variety of experiences I or friends have had, but I am sure I missed some questions. What would you have added to the list?
I realize that many people will have had a variety of experiences that fall into several categories, so I doubt that many people will have only one answer. I can say that I have both had blessings that brought feelings of unrighteous dominion and impacted my testimony in a negative way. I have also had profoundly strengthening blessings, that gave me hope in the middle of difficult trials, and the specific promises of the blessings which happened afterwards, to be an important part of my testimony as an adult.
I am curious about specific experiences that were definitive in your life. For me, during a particularly difficult period with a husband (who I am no longer married to), I requested a blessing from my step-father. The specific information about the needs of my children, and the supports that I should look for as I moved forward to protect myself, were extremely helpful. The fact that my mother took notes while the blessing was being given, and I had those notes to go back to, helped me to keep the promises of the blessing in the forefront of my mind. I have never had an actual recording of a blessing, but until I read this article, I hadn’t realized it was considered appropriate to do so. It is something that I will think about, and consider in the future when I am requesting a blessing.
So, what is your experience(s) with receiving blessings of comfort or counsel? Have they ever helped you, or did they feel like words that were just being said?
Have you ever recorded a blessing either with a recorder of with someone taking notes? If you did, were recorded blessings more helpful than blessings which you did not have recordings for?
Do you find blessings that are specific or more generalized more helpful?
If you have had a blessing that felt like it was simply a priesthood member exercising unrighteous dominion, did you request that/those blessing(s)?
While the main thrust of this post is to talk about experiences receiving blessings, but for those who have given them, at some point,is there anything that you do to prepare for giving this type of blessing, and if you have done specific preparation, do you find it makes a difference in the kind of blessings you give? Were there blessings you gave that you did not feel came from God?