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How do you explain blessings to non-members?

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have had knowledge of the priesthood power throughout my life; knowledge but maybe not a full understanding.

In my family, we didn’t ask for blessings often as we grew up. It wasn’t until I went to college that I started to learn what an incredible gift the priesthood is to a family or individuals. During nights of illness or when my children are worried and afraid, I typically think first of making sure they know that they can ask for a blessing if they wish. It’s hard to fathom raising a family without this precious gift in our home.

For the many people around the world who don’t know what it means to receive a priesthood blessing, it probably looks or sounds a bit strange. They might wonder what all those men are doing dressed up and pressing on the head of the person who is seated. It could seem strange if not taught about the priesthood beforehand. Should we not give a little background first?

Hear His Voice

Heavenly Father has not left us alone. He doesn’t toss us on to the earth and wish us luck, but He put several things in place for us to be able to hear His voice and follow His path. The first is that through the Savior Jesus Christ, the plan of happiness was made possible. We know that we live here to gain experience, to learn how to choose what is right or best for ourselves and our families and ultimately to return to His presence by choice. 

Second, He gave us the Holy Ghost. All men, women, and children on the earth can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost. It is there to teach us truths, to lead us to Christ and to help us throughout this mortal journey. Once a person is baptized and confirmed a member of Christ’s church through proper authority, the Holy Ghost is given as a constant companion throughout life. If we remain faithful and continue doing our best, we will have his guidance and companionship at all times.

Power

The third thing He has given us is the priesthood power. Worthy males who hold the priesthood are authorized to use the power on behalf of mankind. Just like the accounts recorded in the scriptures when the Savior laid his hands on a person to heal or ordain them to a task, so does a priesthood holder in our day with the accompaniment of the Holy Ghost. (see Mark 6:5)

A priesthood blessing is not magical, you don’t wave a wand and make things happen. It is the delivery of the blessings and comfort that the Lord feels a person is in need of during trying times. He inspires the priesthood holders to speak the words of encouragement or comfort that can carry them through the challenge. Sometimes He sees fit to bless with immediate healing, sometimes it is a blessing of additional strength to get through the task or a deeper sense of His nearness as we endure. Whatever a person goes through, Heavenly Father wants His children to know that they are loved and that He has not left them alone. Through the power of Jesus Christ, they can be strengthened and helped through any situation. To bring to pass the promises spoken, faith is required. That faith may simply be trusting completely and believing He will do what He says, other times it might mean that you work as hard as you can, and you are ultimately blessed with the thing you sought. The words spoken might sound like a prayer but this time, the words are from the Lord to you.

President James E. Faust commented, “A priesthood blessing is sacred. It can be a holy and inspired statement of our wants and needs. If we are in tune spiritually, we can receive a confirming witness of the truth of the promised blessings. Priesthood blessings can help us in the small and great decisions of our lives.”1

Priesthood blessings are a beautiful way to receive help when we are in need of our loving Father’s assistance whatever we go through.

1 “Priesthood Blessings,” President James E. Faust, October 1995

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