Sunday, May 30, 2021

Elder Eldred G. Smith on patriarchal blessings and anchors

Eldred G. Smith was born January 9, 1907. He served as "Patriarch to the Church" from 1947 to 1979, during which time he was sustained as a prophet, seer, and revelator along with the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. He was then released and designated an emeritus general authority; he was not replaced as presiding patriarch. Elder Smith passed away on April 4, 2013 at age 106.
"A patriarchal blessing is much like an anchor to a ship. It is referred to at times as an anchor for your soul, to keep you from being buffeted around. You know what an anchor is to a ship? When the winds rise and the waves come, they drop anchor and that keeps the ship from drifting off course. Well, that is what we need sometimes; is an anchor we can drop in times of emergency, in times of trial, to keep us from drifting off course. 
"Sit down and read your patriarchal blessing, or read a blessing given to you by your father, at a time when you are disturbed, distressed, discouraged and not satisfied with your life. To read your patriarchal blessing sometimes gives you courage and brings you back to where you started from and gets you in the right groove again. It gets your mind set on the proper goals, keeps you from drifting off to one side and going down skid row. It can give you a little extra courage some times when you need it the most." 
- Eldred G. Smith, "Lectures on Theology: Last Message Series," Salt Lake Institute of Religion, April 30, 1971, pp. 6-7 
A man who is said to have given over 20,000 patriarchal blessings during his life is a good source for counsel on the strength and gifts those blessings can provide.

Most of us in today's world are pretty unfamiliar with the sea, and the challenges of ocean travel. We know an anchor is supposed to help keep a ship in one place; but this imagery of how critical the anchor is in the midst of a raging storm, to keep a ship from being blown far off course, is a grand one. The application to patriarchal blessings (and other Priesthood blessings) should make us hunger for that strength, particularly in times when we might personally be "disturbed, distressed, discouraged and not satisfied."

Perhaps Elder Smith had Paul's counsel to the Hebrews in mind, wherein he reminded them that there is "consolation" and "refuge" in the hope made available to us through Jesus, "which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast...." (see Hebrews 6:18-20).  Certainly a patriarchal blessing provides a link between us and Him who is "a high priest forever" and the most sure anchor we could have. We should read and remember our blessings more frequently!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
January 9, 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment

// Customization to close archive widget on first view - DK 3/15