The LDS (Mormon) church believes that a patriarchal blessing is given to a young person in order to provide inspired direction from God. At first, this sounds like a sweet passing on of encouragement from a specially chosen man. The patriarchal blessing is not supported by Scripture, therefore, God Himself does not encourage this act. The issue is a man-made rule has been created to give authority to a man in the religion who others perceive to be super holy. There are some major holes in this that we will uncover today. I pray that the revealing of the truth will give us the joy in knowing that we do not need to go to an earthly priest, but by the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus, we can go straight to God Himself.
What Does the Patriarchal Blessing Mean in the LDS Church?
To start, we need to define what is a patriarch. Webster’s Dictionary defines patriarch by three different definitions.
1. “One of the scriptural fathers of the human race or of the Hebrew people.”
2. “The oldest member or representative of a group.”
3. “A Mormon of the Melchizedek priesthood empowered to perform the ordinances of the church and pronounce blessings within a stake or prescribed jurisdiction.”
Let’s look at definition three as we study what God says in the Bible and test this theory. The Mormon religion believes that certain men can obtain the Melchizedek priesthood. There is nowhere in the Bible that supports this. In fact, Jesus was the only person who was a descendent of Melchizedek, so unless a person is Jesus, He is not eligible for this position.
Got Questions shares, “In biblical Christianity, the Melchizedek priesthood is an office that applies only to Christ. Melchizedek is introduced in Genesis 14:18 and is described as the king of Salem and “priest of God.” He goes on to shares Hebrews 7:26 calls this priest “exalted” and sinless.”
The first definition from Webster would be describing the Patriarchs from the Bible. They held these titles because God made a covenant with them on behalf of the Jewish people. Ultimately, the Abrahamic covenant was pointing to the coming Savior who was Jesus.
Below are some Facts about the Patriarchal Blessing:
This Is a Works-Based Blessing: A person who is Mormon has to be worthy to receive this blessing. However, as Christians, we know that there is none righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10). Yes, we may live righteous lives through the Holy Spirit, but this is a works-based practice.
The LDS Will only Allow You to Receive This Blessing Once in Your Life: This works-based blessing is a one-shot opportunity for people in the Mormon religion. However, the Christian church teaches grace upon grace (John 1:16). The beauty of being a follower of Jesus is that we gain the spiritual blessing of the Father through Him. Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” In Christ, we are given every spiritual blessing, not because of what we do, but because of what Jesus already did.
The Mormons Take the Abrahamic Covenant out of Context and Misapply a Direct Promise as Their Own: It is vital to understand the context of a promise. Not every promise in the Bible is for everyone who reads it. In the case of the Abrahamic covenant, that was made between God, Abraham, and Abraham’s future descendants. We cannot take our names and insert them in a text to a guarantee that was never given to us directly.
The Patriarch’s Way around Being Held Accountable for the Blessing Is by Saying That the Promise May or May not Be Fulfilled in This Life. This should be very telling that you know a prophecy is true if it comes to be as it was told. Deuteronomy 18:22 clearly says, “When a prophet speaks in the Lord’s name, and the message does not come true or is not fulfilled, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him."
Dr. Roger Barrier from Crosswalk says, “I think it is correct to say that Mormonism is a 'works” type of religion with 14 steps or activities which must be climbed or accomplished in order to reach the highest level of heaven… Christianity, on the other hand, is not a “works” religion. Christianity is based on the concept of grace. Though we aren’t perfect—we’ve sinned and missed God’s standards so many times—God chose to provide a way for us to be made clean in his eyes. We can never do enough to earn or deserve our salvation, so Jesus died in our place, taking on the penalty for our sins. That’s grace. Heaven and eternal life are freely given by grace through faith to all who surrender their lives in repentance and humility to Jesus Christ.”
Was There a Patriarchal Blessing in the Bible?
There were actual patriarchs in the Bible: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God the Father blessed Abraham who blessed Isaac, who was deceived, and blessed Jacob. This was the blessing of the firstborn.
Michael Lawerence from Christianity shares, “In the Abrahamic Covenant, the Lord repeated the covenant promise to three generations, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. All three were promised land, many descendants, and a blessing from the Lord… Now, the fullness and how the blessing of how all the earth is going to be blessed through Abraham doesn't come about, in large measure, until Jesus Christ is born… And once again, we see in the picture of revelation five and revelation seven, that the gospel of Jesus Christ will be successful, it will penetrate all nations, it will penetrate all language groups, it will penetrate all tribes, and a number of men, women, and children will be saved by the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
What Blessings Does God Give to Christians?
What could be better than a patriarchal blessing from a sinful man who may or may not get it right? The blessing of the perfect God whose Word never fails. God gives the blessing for those who accept Jesus as Savior. Ephesians 1 shares many blessings that we receive through Christ. We are chosen, children of God, He loves us, we are redeemed, and we have the blessing of eternal life. He blesses us when we follow His ways. He blesses us just because He can. He blesses us with the community in the people of God. He blesses us with His presence through the promised Holy Spirit. He blesses us with the fruit of the Spirit and spirituals gifts to be used for His kingdom work. The list goes on and on, we receive blessings from the Lord every day.
Why Should We Be Wary of Patriarchal Blessings?
We should be wary of the Patriarchal blessing because it is not supported by the Bible. We are clearly called not to add or subtract from Scripture. This is the great danger of the Mormon religion. They have taken the truth of the Gospel and the Bible and added books and works that are not necessary to be a follower of Jesus. We must be careful of false teachers.
In regard to why Mormonism is not Christianity, Andy Naseli from Crosswalk shares, “The doctrine of God is different. The doctrine of Jesus is different. The doctrine of salvation is different. In all my debates and discussions with Mormons, it's really come down to one thing. That's the focus of authority, the center of authority. For Christians, for evangelicals, we go to the Bible alone. It's sola scriptura to only the scripture. The Mormons have not only the Bible. They have three other books: the book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Plus, they have people, apostles, elders who are still giving revelations.”
Bible Verses about Not Adding or Taking Away from God’s Word:
Deuteronomy 4:2 “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.”
Proverbs 30:5-6 “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.”
Ecclesiastes 3:14 “I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.”
The dangerous concept of the patriarchal blessing is that people are placing false authority on a person instead of embracing the blessings we have through Jesus Christ. We can love others who are in the LDS church. I know Mormon people who are kind and fun to be around; however, we must stand for the truth of Scripture and realize that we are not serving the same God. We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). The Bible is God’s Holy Word and we should not add or take from it. The only one who was in the line of Melchizedek was Jesus Himself. We are imperfect people, not gods. There is only one true God and Jesus is the only way back to Him (John 14:6).
Photo credit: © Getty Images/Lizzie Maher
Emma Danzey’s mission in life is to inspire young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. Emma is a North Carolina resident and green tea enthusiast! She is married to her husband Drew and they serve international college students. She enjoys singing, dancing, trying new recipes, and watching home makeover shows. During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first two writing projects: a Bible study on womanhood and a non-fiction book on singleness. You can visit her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com