Sign in to follow this  
Jrmorse

Baby blessing question for a convert

Recommended Posts

Hello, I hope someone has some experience with this and can give me some insight. My wife and I were baptized a little over 2 years ago and are the only members in our families. We are expecting a little girl next month and so we are discussing the baby blessing...which I am so excited to be able to do. Now I have seen multiple baby blessings and read the Handbook on the topic. Most members I've seen have their male Priesthood holding members come stand in the circle...we don't have any. I realize that I can have friends, fellow ward members, or the bishopric stand in the circle...but we don't want that. We both feel that it should be only family in the circle and since I'm the only one it should be just me holding and blessing her. I've told some LDS friends this and they all have said they have never seen it done that way. One asked their dad (who's a bishop) and he said that's not allowed. I haven't talked to my bishop about it yet but I wanted to see if anyone else has seen this done before I do. Advice? Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have any advice, as I'm nowhere near this part of my life yet, but I would be interested to hear what happens as this is something that will potentially be a problem for me in the future as a convert myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

20.2.2

Instructions for Naming and Blessing a Child
When blessing a baby, Melchizedek Priesthood holders 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. 1. 

    Addresses Heavenly Father.

  2. 2. 

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

  3. 3. 

    Gives the child a name.

  4. 4. 

    Gives words of blessing as the Spirit directs.

  5. 5. 

    Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

Seems like the handbook 2 states "holders".  This would be more than just the individual. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(Disclaimer: I could be wrong here)

 

I think they generally want at least 2 people in the circle (i.e. you and someone else).  It's a "two witness or more" witness thing.  It does have to be a Melchedizck priesthood holder, but not the bishop (bishop didn't bless my daughter's as we did it in a different state).  Also if you want you can have it at home you can (might make the non-member family feel more comfortable).  

 

Generally, run things by your bishop.  If he doesn't have any problem with things, it's a green light.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any ordinance that is recorded by the Church (such as a blessing)  Must have the approval of the Church leader over it (in this case the Bishop)

 

Bishop's being part of the circle is very, very common.  But it is not a requirement unless he makes it one (which he has the authority to do).  Having at least two priesthood holders involved is the way it is done, unless it is simply not possible to have more then one. (which given that a bishop has to approve it is very unlikely)

 

I would say, express your concerns/desires to your Bishop and then follow his counsel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I realize that I can have friends, fellow ward members, or the bishopric stand in the circle...but we don't want that. We both feel that it should be only family in the circle and since I'm the only one it should be just me holding and blessing her.

 

You are thinking about this ordinance wrong. Why do we bless babies, anyway? Is it for the babies? Do they really need a public blessing? In general, no. The baby blessing is (among other things) a way for the baby to be introduced to their ward family. The Saints need to fellowship with other Saints; that is one of the great blessings of Church membership.

 

For my children's baby blessings, in addition to all Priesthood-holding family members who could come -- grandfathers, uncles, great-uncles, you name it -- I always invited the bishop or other presiding authority to stand in the circle (he would have anyway), as well as our home teachers. I often invited certain special friends in the ward, such as previous home teachers, to stand in, too. I didn't want to do the two-row-circle thing, so I didn't go overboard; more family present meant less inviting of others. But I definitely wanted ward as well as family to participate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah really my question is does the bishop have to be there? And if so where is the foundation for that? Handbook?

 

It is not in the handbook.  A member of the bishopric does have to sign the paperwork later though (it's in the ~next section of the handbook).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've only been a member since 2011, but I have never seen a baby blessing with only the father and baby.  I am wondering why you are so adamant about having not having non-family members as part of the circle.  

 

Did you have a similar attitude when you were confirmed after your baptism?  No circle allowed?  I am past the having baby years so won't ever have the baby blessing experience, but if I did, I would feel very blessed to have to have my bishop, home teachers, etc., be part of the circle, just as it was with my confirmation.  The Spirit that emanates from that circle is powerful.

 

Even when there are family members in the circle, there are often non-family members as well. I've never seen one without the bishop, and usually the home teachers, too.  As a convert and having no priesthood-holders in the family, were I in that situation, I would be nothing but grateful for the ability to have my ward family stand in the circle.

 

So, again, I am curious as to why the objection to having non-family members in the circle.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited to fix the typo in the first paragraph so Pam can relax.

Edited by Leah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've only been a member since 2011, but I have never seen a baby blessing with only the father and baby.  I am wondering why you are so adamant about having not having family members as part of the circle.  

 

 

 

As he stated he doesn't have any family members that are members and would be able to participate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like Vot's response - Priesthood is never about what you can do with it as it is about becoming one and doing things together.  A baby blessing is not something you give to you child - it is a gift from G-d and you acting as his apointed servant speaking for him.  I would suggest you take this matter before your Father in heaven and ask him who he would like included in the circle.  I believe this will make the spirit stronger in the circle and make clearer the words you should speak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As he stated he doesn't have any family members that are members and would be able to participate.

 

It was actually a typo.  I meant to write "non-family".   As I am sure the rest of my post indicates, I did comprehend that he is a convert with no family members in the church, and objects to having any one who is not a family member in the circle, and wanting only himself and no one else involved in the blessing because of that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Both of my siblings who have children have had their baby blessings in their home with just the Bishop, and I think in my sister's case their home teacher involved. If we ever have children I will want to do it the same way. Maybe this comes from having moved around very frequently as a child, but having the ward "family" be that deeply involved in my life has never been important to me. The blessing is for the child, and is given by the father (in most cases) rather than the Bishop or some other non-family member so I cannot see what is wrong with having it be a family only or family-mostly affair. This doesn't mean that the child or the parents will be any less-involved in service in the ward than anyone else. The kinds of things that my mother recorded from when I was blessed feel sacred and private to me now, and I feel like we rarely invite mass groups of people into such detailed, personal spiritual times so why must a baby blessing be a public event? It's not exactly a patriarchal blessing by any means, but I feel like I am no less known to my ward for not having the date and time of that event, or details of the blessing itself dispersed. 

 

My parents have friends from years back who they still keep in touch with, and we have stayed with them a few times while visiting on the east coast.  The husband is famous/infamous for his near-perfect memory, but general lack of tact and self-awareness. He loves to quote for me the part from my baby blessing about my future motherhood, and just doesn't seem to get why that isn't funny anymore. I know this is just my situation, but I would so much rather have never had that part of my life broadcasted, even if it was when I was a tiny infant. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Coming from a Catholic background, I looked at the "circle" as my children's godfathers.  So, I picked people who would fill the role of a godfather... a godfather is not the father.  Godfathers are members of the Church (family or not) that you can trust to teach your children gospel principles in your absence.  They are invested in your children's spiritual development.

 

Therefore, as a convert myself, we had my husband give the blessing to my kids and his dad and brother and the bishop and our home teacher (who was one of the most influential in my conversion and who attended our sealing and has become one of our closest friends)  stand in the circle and I wrote their names in the baby book as my children's godfathers.  And until today - 13 years later - these people are who I call for blessings/any other things needing Priesthood authority for my children if my husband happens to be out of town or something like that.  If my husband and I die while the kids are still minors, I left instructions that the kids will stay with my brother (Catholic) but that their godfathers should be given free access to influence them in their spiritual development.

Edited by anatess

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"When ordinances or blessings are performed in sacrament meeting, the bishop ensures that they are performed properly. To avoid embarrassing a priesthood holder, the bishop quietly corrects errors only if essential elements of the ordinance or blessing are incorrect."

https://www.lds.org/handbook/handbook-2-administering-the-church/priesthood-ordinances-and-blessings.p1?lang=eng#20.1.6

 

The Bishop has the responsibility to quietly correct errors that are essential elements of the blessing in a way that will hopefully reduce any embarrassment to the priesthood holder if the blessing is given in a sacrament meeting which explains why most Bishops participate in the blessing circle and typically stand next to the priesthood holder giving the blessing so they have the ability to easily correct any errors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah really my question is does the bishop have to be there? And if so where is the foundation for that? Handbook?

 

It seems to me to be a logical extrapolation.  D&C 20:70 states that children are to be blessed before the church.  This tells me two things.  First, since it's happening in a church meeting, it's going to happen under the direction of whatever priesthood authority presides at the meeting.  And second, even though blessing of children is very much a family rite, there is also a strong communal element to it.  I can understand wanting to keep things "small and simple", but trying to limit the circle to contain only the father strikes me as a little bit contrary to the communal nature of the ordinance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you may be misunderstanding the blessing.   It is because of a revelation in teh D%C that tells members to present their children to the church.  Its effect is solely to put the child on the church rolls and to introduce them to the congregation.   So it is not just about family.    In the last couple of years there was a letter saying that the circle should only contain the father and maybe the grandfather.    Yes there is the law of two witnesses, but witnesses don't typically perform an ordinance they are witnessing.

 

I think the reason that people chose to have more than the father and grandfather is that it is hard for one person to hold the baby for the length of the blessing in teh way that babies are typically held for the blessing witih your hands on their head.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, I hope someone has some experience with this and can give me some insight. My wife and I were baptized a little over 2 years ago and are the only members in our families. We are expecting a little girl next month and so we are discussing the baby blessing...which I am so excited to be able to do. Now I have seen multiple baby blessings and read the Handbook on the topic. Most members I've seen have their male Priesthood holding members come stand in the circle...we don't have any. I realize that I can have friends, fellow ward members, or the bishopric stand in the circle...but we don't want that. We both feel that it should be only family in the circle and since I'm the only one it should be just me holding and blessing her. I've told some LDS friends this and they all have said they have never seen it done that way. One asked their dad (who's a bishop) and he said that's not allowed. I haven't talked to my bishop about it yet but I wanted to see if anyone else has seen this done before I do. Advice? Thanks

 

If you’ll re-read two posts in this thread (estradling's and Daybreak's) you’ll have all the correct info and necessary advice you need. 
 
To reiterate what they said:
1. You must receive approval from the bishop in order to have the ordinance recorded.
2. There is no "requirement" to have more than one man bless and name a child any more than there is a "requirement" to have more than one man anoint and bless a sick person; but that is the way it is done unless circumstances preclude it.
3. One reason it is done that way is because (as Daybreak pointed out) it is wise to have an experienced priesthood holder present who can offer corrections in wording should the need arise, which, I might add, happens regularly.
 
Take estradling's advice--- "express your concerns/desires to your Bishop and then follow his counsel."
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get the idea of not wanting to offend family members who cannot participate by inviting the whole congregation up.  I would recommend having one or two close friends who have the proper priesthood to join you.  I can't imagine this would be upsetting to the bishop.  As a proper ordinance though, I am almost positive it requires a second witness in the circle.  I suppose the bishop is usually in the circle so he can verify that the ordinance is performed correctly, but I can't imagine that is set in stone.  The blessing on the sacrament is overseen by the bishop even though he is not an active participant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this