Must Bishoprics Be in the Baby’s Blessing Circle?

January 7, 2008 | 48 comments
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Must the bishop be in each baby’s blessing circle?

A reader writes that current church policy states that the bishop is supposed to ensure that the blessing is performed properly but does not specify whether he must actually participate.

Another reader quotes Joseph F. Smith:

“In accordance with the rule of the Church, children born to members of the Church are taken to the monthly fast meetings in the several wards, and are there blessed and named by or under the direction of the bishopric. It is usual on such an occasion for the bishop to call upon the father of the child, if he is present, and if he be an elder in good standing, to take part with the bishopric in the ordinance. This is in every way proper for the blessing so pronounced is in the nature of a father’s blessing. Record of the ordinance so performed in the ward meeting is made by the ward clerk.”

The first sentence makes it sound like the bishop can participate or not at his option, and the next sentence makes it sound like the bishop must participate.

D&C 20:70 is about the only scriptural source we have, and it doesn’t clarify much:

“Every member of the church of Christ having children is to bring them unto the elders before the church, who are to lay their hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ, and bless them in his name”

I don’t see any way of answering the question without answering the further question of what the meaning and purpose is of being in an ordinance circle but not actually performing the ordinance. And, since I’m not a bishop myself, this second question is actually of more interest to me. Why have more than one person participate in the ordinance? It can’t be to act as witnesses, because one could do that just as well outside the circle. It can’t be to add faith to the proceedings, because that can also be done just as well outside the circle.

Peter, James, and John all participated in conferring their authority on Joseph Smith, and though we’re not told why, it probably was because in a way they held the authority collectively as a Presidency. This doesn’t explain why we would want two elders to bless the sick, but it does explain why bishops perhaps should participate in baby blessings. Baby blessings are in part ecclesial–the child is presented to and enrolled in the church–and in part patriarchal. Fathers don’t have ecclesial authority. Bishops do.

P.S. This conversation originally broke out in the comments to a devotional post where it wasn’t appropriate. I apologize that it took me so long to put this post up and that I forgot the names of the readers who wrote in with the information I quote above. Take credit in the comments.

P.P.S. Perhaps my bishop reads T&S (queesy thought). We had the same crew for a baby blessing today as we did last time, but this time he shoved his way in.

48 Responses to Must Bishoprics Be in the Baby’s Blessing Circle?

  1. A. Nonny Mouse on January 7, 2008 at 12:26 am

    Based on my memory of the last time I had access to the church handbook of instructions, and the instructions for how to perform ordinances in a priesthood manual I have, I’m relatively certain that official church policy does not require absolutely that the bishop stand in during baby blessings. I believe it is, in some wards, part of the unwritten order of things.

  2. cchrissyy on January 7, 2008 at 12:32 am

    I don’t think we had a bishopric member. It was only a year ago, you’d think I would remember for sure!

  3. Ray on January 7, 2008 at 12:44 am

    No.

    We are a community as much as a religion, in theory. Very little official action is taken by a single individual.

  4. jeans on January 7, 2008 at 1:20 am

    We blessed one of our babies at home, and the bishop wasn’t there. We just let the clerk know about it and we got an official certificate for it.

  5. mbchristensen on January 7, 2008 at 3:18 am

    I am currently serving as a bishop, and no, it is not required for the bishop of the ward to stand in the circle of a baby blessing. I know many who do (me included). As the \”father of the ward\” I consider it a privilege to do so. I speak to the parents of the baby being blessed before the blessing, go over the steps of the blessing, and ask if it alright if I stand in. It has been three years, and everyone has been kind and gracious to me. In fact in my own experience, the parents are relieved and typically have invited me to stand in before I ask if they are opposed to the notion. I hope this helps to answer the question.

  6. queuno on January 7, 2008 at 5:11 am

    I have blessed three children, all in sacrament meeting, and in our home ward, not in the ward of extended family members where we do not live. Only one of the three was blessed on a Fast Sunday, IIRC; we asked for another Sunday on two occasions to accommodate family members who wanted to travel for the blessing (as we refused to go to extended family’s ward for the blessing, as our children are not from that ward). The bishop at the time stood in on two of the three, at my invitation; the counselors did not stand in the circle. (One of the bishops was very near and dear to our family; the other bishop who stood in was actually invited in by my father-in-law.)

    I’m a circle minimalist when it comes to baby blessings and baptismal confirmations (for confirmations, I let my child provide input). I invite into the circle family and close friends, and maybe the bishop. Never more than 5 or 6 people, tops. I don’t do big productions. This is our family’s moment, and we are grateful that the ward is there to share it with us, but that doesn’t mean I’m inviting them all into the circle. No one has an automatic invitation.

    For my eldest child’s confirmation, we invited the primary teacher (a very good man) into the circle because my child asked, and he indicated afterward that it was a very big moment for him to be asked. I do not typically ask home teachers, counselors, or other random priesthood holders unless they are considered “close personal friends”.

    We have another child’s baptism approaching this year, and we anticipate one or two family members who have planned to travel and one close friend from another ward. Our current bishop will be invited should he choose to attend the baptism (in recent months, he has been delegating the responsibilities to the counselors). Beyond that, our family has no plans to invite anyone else to stand in the circle.

    When we blessed our last child, I believe that in the circle, we had two extended family members, two very close friends (neither from our ward), and the bishop.

  7. queuno on January 7, 2008 at 5:16 am

    To Adam’s PPS, I wouldn’t kick out a bishop that shoved his way in. I haven’t had that experience, so I don’t know what I might say if I preferred he didn’t participate; though, I haven’t had a bishop attempt to invite himself.

    For the blessings/confirmations our current bishop has been a part of, he expressed gratitude that I did ask him, but it was clear he was not going to invite himself. One baby blessing took place the same day as several other blessings, and he was not included in all of them (and I do not believe he was offended by not being included in some of them).

  8. Graham on January 7, 2008 at 10:54 am

    I\’m a Bishop (in Canada if it matters), and I\’d say a Bishop doesn\’t have to be there. I did have an older member (and former Bishop) say to me once that I was supposed to be in \”the circle\”, but I disagreed. I\’m often asked to participate, but if I\’m not, that\’s fine by my. I find it to be a particularly special time for families, and if the Bishop isn\’t included, I can handle that. In fact, when I\’ve blessed my 3 children (1 before I was Bishop, 2 since I was Bishop), it has always just been me and my father.

  9. Adam Greenwood on January 7, 2008 at 11:32 am

    “To Adam’s PPS, I wouldn’t kick out a bishop that shoved his way in”

    I’m sure my Bishop was invited. But with the press of close male relatives, it took a bit of tussling for everyone to squeeze in.

  10. Geoff J on January 7, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Nope.

    I specifically didn’t invite one of my bishops into a circle for a child blessing because I was really annoyed with him at the time. I sort of regretted it later because I loved that guy.

  11. bbell on January 7, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    My exp. has been that if nothing is said to the Bishopric they simply stand up and join the circle.

    It just kind of happens. I have blessed 4 kids and they stood up all 4 times.

  12. Marjorie Conder on January 7, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    I have a different view than some here on large circles. At one of our family confirmations, in addition to the dad performing the ordinance, there were also 2 grandfathers, one great-grandfather, 4 uncles from one side and five from the other–all close and frequently seen persons to the child being confirmed. This crowd doesn’t even assume that you have any friends or a bishop. Who would you cut, and why?

    At a recent AP ordination, in addition to the sort of group mentioned above, three teen-aged priests (cousins), all close associates of the young man being ordained, were also included.

    At our last temple marriage, ten years ago now, the largest sealing room was packed, with parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, siblings and spouses from both sides and I think about four friends and spouses of the couple. The officiator was offended (and let us know) when he looked around for the bishops (and we hadn’t invited either one.) But the room was already packed with close people. Just who would you not include to make room for priesthood leaders?

    It seems odd to me that the Church puts so much emphasis on family (and often large families) and then when those large families actually have large numbers worthy to participate that some want to severely limit the participation, especially to include priesthood leaders who may not be particulary close to the participants.

  13. J. Stapley on January 7, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    I’m not sure it is appropriate to appeal to historical precedent, as there were so many divergent practices with regards to baby blessings. A while back I threw >a href=”http://www.splendidsun.com/wp/baby-blessings/”>together some of the refs., though it is only a small fraction. There was a time when a fathers generally didn’t participate.

    While historical practice does illuminate various possibilities, current practice is a function modern Church policy. There is no rule that a Bishop must be in the circle, no more than there is a such a rule for a Bishopric member to be in the circle when confirming and extending the Holy Ghost. Still, it is general practice for them to do so.

  14. rd on January 7, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    In a bishopric. Our default differs from bbell’s described default. We participate only if invited. No biggie.

  15. Bro. Jones on January 7, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    #4 said: “We blessed one of our babies at home, and the bishop wasn’t there. We just let the clerk know about it and we got an official certificate for it.”

    Hey, I like that idea. Think I’ll do that when Bro. Jones Jr. comes along. I don’t have any family in the Church besides my wife, and I don’t really have any compunction to have 30 friends from various local wards form a huge circle around us at Church (or risk hurt feelings by only inviting 5 friends) when we can just do this in privacy.

  16. Eugene V. Debs on January 7, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    A Bishop/Branch President is presiding (if no one from the Stake Presidency is there). So, if the father giving the blessing makes a mistake–e.g., not stating priesthood authority–it is the Bishop/BP’s responsiblity to correct dad. Just like the presiding authority would need to correct an improperly spoken sacrament prayer. It’s much more tactful to make the correction when standing at dad’s shoulder. Harder to do if you have to gallop across the choir loft and climb down the steps.

    Since the Bishop/BP/Stake Presidency member is presiding, he can stand in the circle if he feels it is necessary. Dad does not “own” the circle any more than the priests “own” the sacrament table.

  17. john f. on January 7, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    No.

    The bishop needs to be aware/approve/authorize the blessing but it doesn’t even have to be during church and can be done entirely without the bishop or a member of the bishopric present.

    When we blessed my third child there was a family reunion in town so we got the blessing authorized by the bishop but then held the blessing at the Church on a week night with members of extended family from the family reunion in attendance. We invited the bishop out of courtesy but he didn’t come.

  18. Heidi on January 7, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Bro. Jones:

    My husband and I want to bless the rest of our children at home, since blessing our son at 9 a.m. church was more stressful than we thought it would be (given all the family staying at our house, lack of sleep from night-feedings, etc., etc.).

    But our understanding is that a member of the Bishopric does need to attend. At least, that\’s what they did when my husband was recently in a Bishopric. So, we would need to let them know ahead of time so they could plan accordingly.

  19. Matt Evans on January 7, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    There’s no need for the bishop or anyone else to participate. They participate to expand the child’s social network. It’s the same reason babies are typically blessed in congregations rather than closets — social purposes only.

  20. Ken on January 7, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    I’ve also had the experience of uninvited bishopric counselors squeezing into an already-big circle. What can you do?

    I hope this doesn’t cause much of a threadjack, but it also involves bishops’ oversight of baby blessings. Fathers in our stake now get a big talking-to about how baby blessings should not be given to the baby in the second person, but need to address Heavenly Father throughout. I think the handbook is ambiguous on the subject, and the resulting blessings tend to sound both awkward and less intimate. I’m curious–is this change being made in other areas, or do we just have an area authority/stake president/whatever with a pet peeve?

  21. Keri Brooks on January 7, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    This may be slightly off-topic, but it’s something I’ve been wondering about. I’ve only seen blessings in Sacrament meeting for infants. Is this ordinance available to older children who were not blessed as infants, such as in the case of a convert family, or an adoption?

  22. jrl on January 7, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    #21 – yes, children can be blessed up to age 8. I think that is policy… At least on my mission, I blessed a couple of girls that were younger than eight, both daughters of a new convert.

  23. Russell Arben Fox on January 7, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    As long as we’re talking about some of the oddities involved in baby blessings, let me throw out that I’ve known a family which blessed their newborn baby twice–once in the ward, and once at home, with the bishop’s approval. They had some members of their extended family who couldn’t be trusted to be in the same room together and not get nasty with each others, and so for the sake of family peace, they just repeated the ritual at a later hour. Not the way I would have done it, but interesting nonetheless.

  24. mondo cool on January 7, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Okay, who out there has access to a CHI, and what does it say?

    [Ed.: Please refrain from quoting or linking the church handbook. I'm satisfied that it does not expressly say that bishops need or need not participate in the blessing, and we can leave it at that.]

  25. CS Eric on January 7, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    I have given a blessing at home. The grandmother wasn’t able to leave the house, so we did it in her front room. The bishop was there, but I don’t remember him standing in the circle.

    Ken,

    All the instructions I have ever seen say that you take the child, address Heavenly Father as if in prayer, and then give a blessing. It seems needlessly complicated to give the blessing other than to the child. What is that stake president thinking? Either you are giving the blessing or you are not. If you are addressing Heavenly Father throughout, what is the point of even having the kid there? You can pray about him/her any time, without the ceremony of standing in a circle, holding the poor child. Let the baby stay in its mother’s arms, where he or she is much more comfortable.

  26. Kevinf on January 7, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    I’d have to go to the stake office to get to the CHI, but I am sure that it is not required for a bishop to actually stand in the circle. On occasions, with a large circle, when I was a bishop, I sometimes would stand slightly behind the person blessing the baby and hold the microphone from outside the circle, to avoid too much crush. In our ward with our current bishop, the bishopric will all stand in when there are few others to stand in with the father, and the counselors usually will not if the crowd is large.

    Note: Blessing of children is not a required ordinance, so if it doesn’t happen, it’s not a big deal. I have seen children as old as 3, I believe, given a name and blessing in church.

    Many years ago, Life Magazine had a special issue about religion, and had a picture of a father and other family members in a large circle performing this ordinance, shot from directly above the infant. It was not only quite moving, but the circle of family was noted for it’s symbolic value as a cultural milestone. Not sure today, we’d see that kind of picture in a non-church publication.

  27. A. Nonny Mouse on January 7, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Ken, Elder Bruce Hafen came to my stake and during a priesthood training said (not an exact quote, “When you give a blessing, you bless the person. You don’t ask Heavenly Father for blessings for the person, that’s a prayer. A blessing is different. You act on behalf of Heavenly Father and pronounce blessings on the person.”

    I think you have an area authority/etc. with a pet peeve.

  28. ddb on January 7, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Based on my reading of the handbook of instructions, I would glean the following points:

    1. It is a church ordinance, rather than a Father’s Blessing, and as such it is under the direction of the Bishop(ric). However, as in other ordinances over which they preside, the Bishop or Bishopric is not required to stand in the circle.
    2. Participation in the blessing is limited to worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holders, and it is the Bishop’s responsibility to validate who may participate. Priesthood leaders should discuss the arrangements with the family in advance and work to preserve the sacred nature of the blessing, accommodate the desires of the family, and make every reasonable effort to avoid embarrassment or offense to individuals or families. Good teaching, planning, and preparation should make it a special event for all involved.
    3. Children are normally blessed during fast and testimony meeting, although there may be exceptions.
    4. In certain circumstances the Bishop may authorize Melchizedek Priesthood holders to bless the child in the home, with a member of the bishopric presiding.
    5. In an emergency situation due to critical illness the blessing can be done in a hospital or home without prior authorization. This action should then be reported to the bishopric.
    6. Older children (under 8) can be blessed with those in the circle placing hands on the child’s head.
    7. The initial portion of the blessing should address Heavenly Father, but the latter part of the blessing is a priesthood blessing under the direction of the spirit as in other ordinances or being set apart for a calling.

  29. Lon on January 7, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Just wanted to chime in and agree with #16. During my time as Bishop, I had to twice correct the father during the blessing. The first time, I was in the circle, was able to have the young man holding the mic, lower it, correct the father, who then proceeded along. I asked my wife (and a few others including the infant’s mother) after the fact, and none of them had noticed that anything had happened. They assumed the father had been momentarily overcome with emotion and unable to speak.

    The other instance, the family specifically asked me not to stand in the circle. Not wanting to cause waves, I consented. There was an error in language, which I had to get up, cross the stand, tap the father on the shoulder, correct the language, return to my seat and the blessing went on. Needless to say, that one every single person in the building noticed.

  30. JKC on January 7, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    Lon, why didn’t you just let him finish and then ask him to do it at home later? Wouldn’t that have saved him some embarrassment?

  31. Lon on January 7, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    Perhaps. But then the incorrect wording would stand as officially approved. The only real alternative would have been to let him finish, then announced from the pulpit that there was some issue and that it was going to be corrected at home.

    We make the Priests redo the sacrament blessing when they don’t say it right. We redo a baptism when we get it wrong. I know. I had to redo my daughter’s (while I was Bishop, mind you). I got so nervous I messed the language up. (I actually started saying the baptismal prayer for a proxy baptism.) Was corrected by the member of the Stake High Council present. Re-did it properly. I’ve been in a temple ceremony were a section had to be redone due to wording errors.

    I did my very best to make sure and not call him out for his error. Later, from the stand, admitted my own mistakes in performing ordinances to the congregation and chalked it up to the nervousness of performing a public ordinance combined with the emotion of doing something so laden with emotion.

  32. Lon on January 7, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    I ought to add that people do notice the wording and performance of ordinances. I had a grandmother once come up to me after a baptism of a young person from my ward. She insisted that the child’s toe had come above the water and the ordinance needed to be redone. I hadn’t noticed anything. Both of the witnesses (family members) said she had been completely dunked. The father said it had been dunked. The child said they had gone completely under. The grandmother was convinced she was right and was worried that the child would suffer for our mistakes. Her son quoted the articles of faith and pointed out that if we had made a mistake (all of us), there is no way the child would be held responsible. We are all trying to do our best. The Church has policy and procedures in place to help that happen more often than not. But when we all do our best, and still fall short, I doubt the Lord is going to hold anyone responsible.

  33. MCQ on January 8, 2008 at 5:46 am

    “We make the Priests redo the sacrament blessing when they don’t say it right. We redo a baptism when we get it wrong.”

    Um, Lon, those are examples of ordinances that have to be performed word for word as written. Even there, there is some leeway for minor stumbles. What on earth is so important that would require you to interrupt the blessing of a an infant by a father? He called on Baal instead of God? Short of that, let it go, man.

    “Both of the witnesses (family members) said she had been completely dunked.”

    There’s a reason why there are official witnesses. If grandma’s not one, her opinion is irrelevant.

  34. Floyd the Wonderdog on January 8, 2008 at 8:30 am

    Don’t bounce the baby, for goodness sake. It only makes them cry.

  35. JM on January 8, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    re:33

    Although a baby blessing is not said word for word, there are elements that require specific wording. If these are said wrong, it needs to be done correctly.

    In general, I wonder how a presiding officer can preside from half way across the chapel? The root meaning of preside is to be in control. It seems like any reasonable person would understand that to preside over a baby blessing, the presiding authority would need to be at least in close proximity to the one giving the blessing.

  36. MCQ on January 8, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    JM: I beg to differ. The priesthood manual states that these elements are the only requirements for giving a child a name and a blessing:

    When blessing a baby, brethren gather in a circle and place their hands under the baby. When blessing an older child, brethren place their hands lightly on the child’s head. The person who gives the blessing:

    1. Addresses Heavenly Father.

    2. States that the blessing is performed by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

    3. Gives the child a name.

    4. Gives a priesthood blessing as the Spirit directs.

    5. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

    Lesson 5: Performing Priesthood Ordinances, Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part B, 41

    What specific wording is required here? You are simply required to address God and state that you are acting by authority of the Melkizedek Priesthood. Even those elements can be (and often are) said differently by different people.

    When you preside at a meeting, does that mean you have to always be standing at the podium? Isn’t it enough to be in the same room?

  37. Lon on January 8, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    In the specific example I am using the father skipped the giving of a name and went straight into the blessing.

  38. Lon on January 8, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    I should add that in the example where I was in the circle, the father forgot to name the priesthood authority.

  39. Alison Moore Smith on January 8, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    I believe it is, in some wards, part of the unwritten order of things.

    Am I the only one who thinks this really just means, “I can call whatever I want doctrine and you can’t stop me”?

  40. Ray on January 8, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    #39 – Nope.

  41. Virgil Zetterlind on January 8, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    Long-time reader, 1st time commenter. Some thoughts from my own experience regarding whether to address Heavenly Father, the infant, or both during a \’Baby\’ Blessing (#20 and #25).

    My MTC branch presidency (\’94 timeframe) devoted an entire lesson to blessings and the salient point that has stayed with me was the notion that when the recipient of a blessing is in a position to understand the words being said, it should be addressed to the person, when they are not, the blessing can appropriately be addressed to Heavenly Father in their behalf.

    Baby blessings were used as one of the prime examples where this notion plays out – since the instructions are clear about addressing Heavenly Father at the outset.

    Where the issue arises with baby blessings is in the nearly universal practice shifting to the infant as \’target\’ of the prayer after giving the name. In essence this creates 2 ordinances, with one ordinance improperly terminated (the giving of the name) and one ordinance improperly initiated (the giving of the blessing) rather than providing a unified whole. Unless, one sticks to voicing the blessing to a single recipient (either Heavenly Father or the infant, but not both) such that all the elements – authority, name, blessing, closure – tie together.

    At one level, this is linguistic nit-picking, but it goes to a larger question of understanding the meaning and reality of ordinances and not just \’how it\’s done\’ within LDS culture. It seems \’odd\’ to address only Heavenly Father, mainly because most of our other personal ordinances are individually directed.

    One could argue, that the most appropriate remedy would be to alter the blessing instructions such that the infant is the recipient throughout. Of course, this creates the somewhat ironic instance of calling someone by name in order to \’give them a name\’ – but it would square the ordinance with the normal pattern of other blessings. The other remedy would be to definitively split the ordinance into two – give the name addressing Heavenly Father and properly close in the name of Christ, then immediately bless the child – properly invoking authority and closing. I had a friend do it this way a few years ago, but to me this solves one issue at the expense complicating an otherwise simple ordinance.

    When I was EQ president, I would usually raise this issue at least once each year during during an \’ordinance review\’ quorum lesson as it fodder for a good discussion. As a father, I\’ve stuck to addressing the entire ordinance to Heavenly Father as this is what seems most logical to my understanding, but I find joy in every infant blessing given from the heart.

    - Virgil

  42. Ray on January 8, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    #41 – I don’t see the issue. I open by addressing the Father by telling Him I am taking this child in my arms (or whatever) and *giving* her a name and a blessing. I tell Him her name. Then I proceed to do what I’ve said I am going to do – give her a name and a blessing. Since I am *giving* it to her, I address her as the recipient. As I said, I don’t see the issue.

  43. Alan L on January 9, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    By way of information: ref. CHI, book 1, 2006, sec 5

    …(ordinances) should be authorized by the presiding authority….
    …the bishop corrects errors only if essential elements are incorrect…..
    …those who participate…usually limited to p/leaders, close family & associates…
    … when several brethren participate…(the handbooks never define several, frequently, usually etc.)
    …inviting large numbers….to participate is discouraged….(they don\’t define \”large\”)
    …children normally s/b blessed during f/t meeting in home ward… (doesn\’t define \”normally\”)
    … when blessing… M/P holders gather… (no mention of Bishop)
    … gives child a blessing…(is it addressed to the child?)

    And just because:
    I serve in a bishopric in Mexico. A month ago when my Bishop blessed his child (in f/t meeting) he invited me to participate and the 2 of us performed the ordinance. His father, a member of our ward and our stake patriarch, was in the congregation but was not invited. A few months ago he blessed a child in f/t meeting by himself.

  44. Darren on January 11, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    If you didn’t notice that until the child has been officially given a name the priesthood holder addresses the Father. Only after the child has a name is the blessing of the priesthood pronounced upon the individual.
    There is order in the priesthood. When a bishop gives the father consent to conduct the ordinance in the case of the blessing being done at home then the father may and does preside. The bishop does not have to be present. I believe it is the responsibility of the father who holds the priesthood to learn his duty and to carry out the ordinances of the gospel as instructed. The basic priesthood manuals contain the proper instruction.

  45. Talon on January 14, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Just blessed our son at my parents house over the holidays. No bishopric members in attendance. When I asked my Bishop about logistics he said “all you need is my permission, and you have it, just tell us when you get back and we’ll print you out a certificate.”

    Out of courtesy we asked the local Bishop if they wanted to send a rep anyways, and they declined saying it wasn’t neccessary.

    All went well, with no Angels with firey swords appearing to rebuke any incorrect use of language.

    Personally I thought blessing at home was much better as we were able to plan it around our son’s sleeping habits.

  46. queuno on January 15, 2008 at 12:19 am

    There was a question about how many family members you should have in a temple wedding and/or a circle, and how do you remove in order to let in a leader?

    In our case, my wife and I specifically did NOT invite all worthy family members to our temple wedding. We had arranged with the temple to have our wedding in an upper room of the SLC temple, requiring an all-white wedding. (This was our present to ourselves to make up for having to be married in SLC in the first place.) Those rooms off the celestial room are very small.

    We simply announced that we were inviting only immediate family and gave our parents a couple of discretionary picks. We had her parents, my parents, one of my siblings, one of her siblings and a spouse, three friends, and a stake president her parents invited. The sealer was a former bishop.

    I still have relatives who don’t speak to me. But I think that’s a decent test for how much your extended Utah Mormon family loves you — if they still speak to you after you don’t invite them to your wedding. (Ah heck, they’ve got another 50 cousins’ weddings to go to.)

  47. steve on January 16, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Let me ask you all a question. Do you believe that your babies were created from God? If you do, than do agree that God is perfect? If you do then do you not believe that your babies are created from perfection. Then isn\’t it really a way for a father and other men to put their two cents on what they want for their children? My point is a blessing, a baptism, etc. are ways for men to feel that they are contributing or that they are worthy to invoke power from God. Anyone can speak directly to God and become one with the Universes power. These steps that we do in order to feel that something \”official\” has been done is simply that….mechanics, jumping through hoops, steps etc. \”Be\” one with God.

  48. Joe on February 26, 2008 at 1:20 am

    Blessing of Child–Response to # 20, 25, 41

    My stake president recently instructed us at gen. pr. meeting to begin by addressing the father and to continue throughout to address the father, not switching over to bless the child directly. On my mission we were taught differently. I have access to the handbook and it is ambiguous. It could easily be interpreted either way. In elders quorum training, the stake also hammered the point again that we are addressing our father in heaven throughout. I don\’t know where the authority comes from…they would say its logic: start by addressing father in heaven you must keep consistent. But, equally compelling is that it is a two ordinance combo–address father, give a name and once the child has a name to be called by, proceed to bless the child. This has been a hot topic in my quorum over the last few weeks. I have asked for more clarification but doubt it will be forthcoming because it seems a personal preference of the stake/area presidency. We will follow their instruction because it does not really make a difference. Both ways are equally and arguably correct, so I dont sweat the small stuff. If a new stake president comes in and changes, so be it. Most ordinances have changed over time.

    I note–the Handbook does not follow the pure D&C version where I lay my hands on my child and state \”in the name of jesus christ\” and to also close in the name of jesus christ. here the authority would not be the MP, but similar to baptism–just in the name of jesus christ. Most blessings say they should be given in the name of jesus christ, by authority of the priesthood…the name of jesus christ is done through the closing, BUT this ordinance is peculiar…we are to Lay hands in the Name of Jesus Christ AND to bless the child in his name as well. Seems like a doctrinal conundrum.

    Ken–perhaps we are in the same stake! Wouldnt that be interesting.

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