One of the hard lessons humans learn is that in life, our will does not always line up with what God would have us do. This truth is made manifest in many ways, but one of the most prominent ways is when promises made in Priesthood blessings do not come true. Why does this happen? Aren’t Priesthood blessings from God? If the speaker is in tune with the Spirit, why do they promise things that don’t come true?
Patriarchal Blessing v Priesthood Blessing
First, let’s differentiate between a Priesthood blessing and a Patriarchal Blessing. The Church defines a priesthood blessing as, “A blessing given by a Melchizedek Priesthood holder, by the laying on of hands and by inspiration, to one who is sick or otherwise in need of special counsel, comfort, or healing.” On the other hand, a patriarchal blessing is given by someone who is ordained as a Patriarch and who has the power to declare lineage and give guidance for the lives of those receiving the blessing.
When a Priesthood holder gives a PRIESTHOOD blessing, they feel guided by the Spirit to say certain things. However, the Priesthood holder does NOT know the future. The Priesthood holder does NOT know what is going to happen to that individual. Seeing a glimpse into the future is not what a priesthood blessing entails; That would be a patriarchal blessing. That being said, patriarchal blessings are predicated on the individual’s obedience and are therefore not exact predictions of the future.
Why Does This Happen?
President Oaks’ Experience
Even the apostles and their families are not exempt from unfulfilled blessings. When Elder Oaks was young, his father fell extremely ill with tuberculosis and was sent to the hospital. During the six months he spent in the hospital, he received many priesthood blessings. Again and again, prominent priesthood leaders, including a member of the Twelve Apostles, gave priesthood blessings that promised Brother Oaks healing. The blessings pronounced by others did the same, but alas, Brother Oaks only got worse. Finally, 10 days before he died, the doctors advised the Oaks family that they had done all they could to save Brother Oaks, but that he would surely die.
After his passing, the Oaks family healed not only from their father’s passing but also from the “empty” promises made by worthy priesthood holders. Elder Oaks, now an adult, said while reflecting on the situation, “Faith, no matter how strong it is, cannot produce a result contrary to the will of him whose power it is. The exercise of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is always subject to the order of heaven, to the goodness and will and wisdom and timing of the Lord.” He continued,
“Even the servants of the Lord, exercising His divine power in a circumstance where there is sufficient faith to be healed, cannot give a priesthood blessing that will cause a person to be healed if that healing is not the will of the Lord.”
Sometimes, it is really hard to understand why certain blessings aren’t fulfilled. But we know that God loves us and He has a plan for each one of us. His plan is a lot bigger and better than we can imagine because He always sees the bigger picture. Sometimes it’s hard to accept things like someone dying because we faithfully asked God to stop it from happening. But He knows a lot more than we do. He knows what is waiting for us. Therefore, He will let things happen that we may not want because it’s part of His plan for us.
Have you ever had something said in a blessing that didn’t come true?