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Baby Blessing At Home

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I have been trying to do some web searching on performing the name and blessing at home of our daughter. We have asked our bishopbric if we can perform this at home and they said it is only for those who have children out of wedlock. This isn't the case for us as we were married and sealed in the temple several years ago.

I know several families in our ward that have done their baby blessing at home, and have seen several posts on here of folks who have.

Has anyone ever encountered resistance from the bishopbric in doing this at home and how were you able to overcome this?

I wanted to say that there was a letter or announcement from the church a couple years back saying it was ok to do this at home. I haven't found this online though.

Any thoughts or resources that could help, would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

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Well, I can't give any "official" word on it but a baby blessing is not an ordinance. It is simply a father's priesthood blessing. The naming part is just paperwork, even though in the blessing we use the line about "the name s/he shall be known in the records of the church." I don't see any reason why it couldn't happen at home if that were more convenient. There might be a problem if you're doing it during church, thus pulling people away from the meetings but other than that...

I only know of one that happened in the home though. My cousin is inactive and his wife is Catholic. When my aunt and uncle went to visit for the first time, they asked if it would be all right if he blessed the baby. They didn't ask anyone for permission although my uncle is a bishop.

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I'm blessing my daughter next week, and we actually flirted with the idea of just doing it at home--we could schedule it at a time convenient to everyone, would be able to record the blessing (which you're not supposed to do in Sacrament Meeting, though my wife does it anyways), could have as many people in the circle as we want, etc). Ultimately, though, we decided to stick with the text of D&C 20:70, which lays down the pattern of doing the ordinance before the Church--we didn't even discuss a home-blessing with our bishop.

I can see exceptions where there are health issues, where you just can't get the people you want there during the hours the church meets, or maybe where there's really bad blood with a lot of the ward or something like that. But we didn't see any situation like that arising in our particular case. Your results, of course, may vary. ;)

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Well, I can't give any "official" word on it but a baby blessing is not an ordinance. It is simply a father's priesthood blessing.

It is most definitely an ordinance. A father's blessing is an ordinance. They are just not saving ordinances.

...would be able to record the blessing (which you're not supposed to do in Sacrament Meeting, though my wife does it anyways)...

We recorded our daughter's blessing. We have a voice recorder, and my husband pressed record, stuck it in his suit pocket, then took our daughter from me and went up to the front of the chapel. Later that evening, he transcribed the blessing (word for word) and then deleted the audio file. Kosher? Probably not quite.

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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. (D&C 20:70).

The general leadership of the Church decided somewhere along the line that the best way for us to be following this revelation is to bless children in Sacrament meeting. Instruction is given to make every effort to prevent embarrassment--it is my understanding that the specific exception of children born out of wedlock is derived from a desire to not embarrass a single or teenage mother, etc. Blessings performed in a home must be done with a member of the bishopric present.

I haven't seen any letters from the First Presidency that make any adjustment to this part of the CHI since it was published in 2006.

The ordinance for naming and blessing children in not "just a father's blessing," although it has many parallels. It is the designated process by which children's names are to be recorded in the Church so that their parents may be held accountable for their upbringing. Also, by bringing the child before the elders of the Church, the child is identified so that the Church, and specifically the ward, will receive the child into fellowship and accept responsibility to support the parents in the child's upbringing. Also, a father's blessing doesn't require the authorization of the bishop. The naming and blessing of a child is invalid without the bishop's authorization.

So, unfortunately for you, your bishop is spot on in what he's saying. Perhaps it seems unfair that other bishops are letting people do it at home, but in those cases either a) the bishop isn't following policies handed down by the First Presidency, or b) there are other circumstances of which we are not aware that justify the decision. Either way, you can't go wrong sustaining your bishop in sticking to policy.

Edited by MarginOfError

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And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.

For this shall be a law unto the ainhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized.

And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands.

And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.

D&C 68

This is one of those things where the records on earth are supposed to be compared to the records in heaven. At least that's what they tell us clerks.

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I totally understand that I'll be accountable to my heavenly parents for how I raise my/our children. But aren't all parents, regardless of whether a baby is properly blessed?

I was just curious, and still am, as the quote you provided sounds like parents are to be held accountable in their stakes now. I'm not trying to argue...I've just never considered this angle before.

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Well, yeah, we are accountable for how we raise our children now. Are we teaching them correct principles now? Are we preparing them for baptism now? Are we teaching them the scriptures now?

But you also ought to remember that some of this is administrative. To some extent, the naming and blessing of a child is vaguely related to baptism. After a person is baptized and confirmed, their name is included in the records of the Church, and we accept them into fellowship in the Church. Being admitted into full fellowship doesn't just happen. But with children, since they've made no covenant of their own, the agreement to accept the child into fellowship is made between the parents and the elders of the Church.

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Well, yeah, we are accountable for how we raise our children now. Are we teaching them correct principles now? Are we preparing them for baptism now? Are we teaching them the scriptures now?

Well, we're raising our children now (of course; tomorrow they'll be grown), but are we held accountable, administratively, now? That's what I'm wondering, and if the answer is yes, then how?

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Well, we're raising our children now (of course; tomorrow they'll be grown), but are we held accountable, administratively, now? That's what I'm wondering, and if the answer is yes, then how?

Administratively now? Probably not. It won't keep you from receiving a calling, from getting a temple recommend. But when we stand before Christ and the final judgment, we will be held accountable as to whether we taught our children gospel principles.

This was to fathers but could apply to both:

Father, you are accountable to the Lord for what you have and what you are. In the future you will surely stand before Him. What will be your report concerning your family? Will you be able to report that your home was a place of love, a bit of heaven? That daily family prayer and secret prayer were fostered? That it was a house of fasting? That in family home evenings and at other times you and your wife taught your children the basic principles of the gospel?

Will you be able to report that you created an environment in your home to build faith in a living God, to encourage learning, to teach order, obedience, and sacrifice? That you often shared your testimony of the reality of your Father in Heaven, of the truthfulness of the restored gospel with your wife and children? Will you be able to report that you followed the living prophets? That your home was where your tender children could feel protected and safe, and where they felt the love and acceptance and warmth [from] you and their mother?

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Well, we're raising our children now (of course; tomorrow they'll be grown), but are we held accountable, administratively, now? That's what I'm wondering, and if the answer is yes, then how?

Well, here's an example. There is a family in my ward where the parents are adamant that the children should make their own decisions. The father felt like he was forced to go to church growing up, and swore he wouldn't do that to their kids. So somewhere between age 8 and 10, the parents started to let the kids decide if they would go to church or not; if they would go to seminary; etc etc. The result is they now have two teenage children living at home who rarely come to church, or any church activity, one who has only ever attended seminary when it's convenient to get up that early......

I know the current bishop has stepped in and told the parents that they're not living up to their responsibility to teach their children the gospel. They may not be losing temple recommends or callings because of it*, but they are being held accountable by their priesthood leaders.

*Although they may not be losing callings, they certainly don't get considered for some callings, such as youth leaders, or teachers for the Marriage and Family Relations course. They simply aren't considered for callings where we want to have good examples of parenthood.

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My father blessed my cousin's baby at home. My Dad also blessed my sister's twins on the beach. Our neighbor just blessed their grandchild at home last Sunday. My other sister's baby was blessed at the hospital. I know of other neighbors and friends over the years who have done the blessing at home or elsewhere.

As has been previously stated a name/blessing is not an ordinance. In our ward, unless requested, the clerk doesn't even do a certificate for those blessed in Sacrament Meeting. Also as previously stated it's a father's blessing.

My grandson has not been blessed. He's 27 months old. At first his mother had custody and refused to talk to us. Last summer she messed up for the last time and DCFS took the kids. When my son received custody of his son we asked he would like his son blessed. He said no. I was heartbroken, but then remembered its not an ordinance. My son is not opposed to his son being administered to for illness. (We have a lot of work to do with my son)

There are many good reasons for blessing babies at home. One of wish is that a baby's immune system is not fully matured. Being out and around/handled by lots of people can put the newborn at risk. Because it was highly encouraged to bless babies at church when I was having my children 30 years ago, my babies weren't blessed until they were 3 months old or older.

The church doesn't have a position on this that I could find. I believe it tradition and personal feelings that guide bishop's in these decisions. However, unless you have a compelling reason (such as illness) it is always a good idea to obey council from your bishop. Even if he wrong you will be blessed for your obedience.

EDIT: When my son received custody the ward clerk contacted us and my grandson has as a record in the church. Its called a "child of record." This is the record made when child is blessed. I find it interesting that if a child has to be blessed to become a "child of record" that it could be done without. I know this subject has been discussed at the Stake and Area level and that our ward is doing things as counciled by the Stake President.

Edited by applepansy
addition

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As has been previously stated a name/blessing is not an ordinance.

As previously stated, yes, it is. It is a priesthood ordinance. It is just not a saving ordinance.

In our ward, unless requested, the clerk doesn't even do a certificate for those blessed in Sacrament Meeting.

Then your ward clerk isn't doing his job properly.

I was heartbroken, but then remembered its not an ordinance.

Not a saving ordinance.

There are many good reasons for blessing babies at home. One of wish is that a baby's immune system is not fully matured. Being out and around/handled by lots of people can put the newborn at risk. Because it was highly encouraged to bless babies at church when I was having my children 30 years ago, my babies weren't blessed until they were 3 months old or older.

Many babies aren't blessed until that age. In fact, children can be blessed up until the age of accountability. I've seen 5 year olds blessed in sacrament meeting.

EDIT: When my son received custody the ward clerk contacted us and my grandson has as a record in the church. Its called a "child of record." This is the record made when child is blessed. I find it interesting that if a child has to be blessed to become a "child of record" that it could be done without. I know this subject has been discussed at the Stake and Area level and that our ward is doing things as counciled by the Stake President.

A child of record is any child who is on the records of the Church but has not yet reached the age of accountability. A record can be created without the blessing, but that often creates an administrative problem, because a certificate and record are supposed to be created when the blessing happens. If a record has already been created, you have double records, which is a nightmare for the clerk to clean up.

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To back up what Wingers has said, this is from lds.org

Naming and Blessing Children

Under the direction of the presiding authority, brethren who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood may participate in the ordinance of naming and blessing children (see D&C 20:70). 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 on the child's head. The person who gives the blessing:

  • Addresses our Heavenly Father.
  • States that the ordinance is performed by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
  • Gives the child a name.
  • Adds words of blessing as the Spirit directs.
  • Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

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I'm an old curmudgeon who has lived a long life; I've held a lot of callings and have a long memory. Church policy has swung back and forth on this issue--and other issues--during my life time. There have been times parents have been encouraged to have babies blessed at home. There have been times it has been discouraged.

There have been times a father who is a non-member or a non-Melchizedek priesthood holder was permitted (even encouraged) to hold the baby while the child was being blessed. At other times this has not been allowed.

It reminds me of the Church's position on marriages being performed in the chapel. At times it has been permitted and other times not allowed.

------------

Having been both a membership clerk and a Bishop I can tell you many stories of somebody blessing a child at home and forgetting to take the proper steps to have the blessing recorded. Or of children who had to be blessed again because when the child was blessed at home the ordinance was performed by a father, grandfather, etc. who did not hold the Melchizedek priesthood. (I even know of a case where the blessing was given by a mother who was an ardent feminist.)

For these reasons I think it is preferable to have children blessed in Sacrament Meeting. BTW, the Bishop is supposed to authorize a child receiving a blessing that will created a Church record before the ordinance is performed, be it in a Sacrament Meeting or at home. Sadly, this is often ignored when a baby is blessed at home--resulting in the problems I listed above.

Edited by Daniel2020

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My nephew was blessed at home. His dad is a convert and was terrified to do the blessing in Sacrament meeting. I cannot wait until my hubby blesses our baby (once he born). I love Sundays when a baby is blessed...plus it reminds me that the mother even had the baby.

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As previously stated, yes, it is. It is a priesthood ordinance. It is just not a saving ordinance.

Then your ward clerk isn't doing his job properly.

Not a saving ordinance.

Many babies aren't blessed until that age. In fact, children can be blessed up until the age of accountability. I've seen 5 year olds blessed in sacrament meeting.

A child of record is any child who is on the records of the Church but has not yet reached the age of accountability. A record can be created without the blessing, but that often creates an administrative problem, because a certificate and record are supposed to be created when the blessing happens. If a record has already been created, you have double records, which is a nightmare for the clerk to clean up.

Wingnut, with all due respect I'll take my husband's word for it over yours. He as in the bishopric with this was changed in our Stake. It is not an ordinance and no record is kept any longer.

Check the bishopric handbook. The baby blessings it NOT and ordinance, Its just a record. Its just a father's patriarchal blessing and a a record. If the record is created then even if the child is blessed at a furture date there is not need to duplicate the record.

Whatever your ward and Stake does is under the direction of that Bishop and Stake President, its their call.

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To back up what Wingers has said, this is from lds.org

Thank you Pam. Whatever you want to call it, the church no longer keeps a record of the baby blessing. This was changed when my husband was in the bishpric. I asked my husband for clarification...The directive came from the 1st Presidency. If you ask the ward clerk for your membership record it no longer has your blessing date on it.

That's all I'm saying on this thread.

:)

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If you ask the ward clerk for your membership record it no longer has your blessing date on it.

It doesn't have a record of every time you've partaken of the sacrament, either, but it's still an ordinance. An ordinance is a blessing performed by the power of the priesthood. Your membership record wouldn't have your blessing date on it if your blessing has been superseded by the saving ordinance of baptism anyway. My husband is currently the ward clerk, and "with all due respect, I'll take his word over yours."

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Baby Drama! lol

I didn't realize that sometimes babies were blessed at home due to the mom's marital status. I always assumed it was because of health of baby and/or mom. When my eldest daughter was blessed no one even mentioned the idea that she could have been blessed at home (yeah, she was about 16 months old when her parents married. I don't recommend doing things that way :P ). It was very nice, and Elder David B. Haight was in attendance too!

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I was just talking to my dad who is a ward clerk and he was looking over my shoulder at some of these responses. As far as the blessing being performed at home and the record not done properly for a 'child of record', it's still not a big deal. He mentioned a couple of kids that he came across last month. They had just moved into the ward and the family was trying to get them set up in Primary. No record could be found, the mother replied "they've never been blessed" and so my dad went into the office with the parents and the children were added. End of problem. Took all of 5 minutes.

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