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Patriarchal blessings mark life's paths

- Make an appointment with your bishop

- Seek his advice, follow his counsel- Solicit the blessings of heaven

In his first general conference address as a General Authority, Elder Richard D. Allred said Saturday afternoon that it is "a natural thing for you to wonder what is the purpose of your life and where it will take you."

Elder Allred, who was sustained to the Second Quorum of the Seventy last April, spoke on the topic of patriarchal blessings.

"The Bible cites that patriarchs, under inspiration and by the laying on of hands, revealed to certain persons the will of the Lord and what life had in store for them," Elder Allred said.

He attested that there are patriarchs in this day, that the heavens are not closed, that revelation has not ceased and that there is communication between the Lord and His children.

"I testify to you that today the heavens are open and since the spring of the year 1820, when the boy Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. saw the Father and the Son and received an answer to his sincere prayer, there has always been one of the Lord's anointed here on earth through whom the Lord has and does reveal His word."

Elder Allred went on to say that patriarchs are charged with the duty of blessing members of the Church. From Information and Suggestions for Patriarchs, he read: "Patriarchal blessings contemplate an inspired declaration of the lineage of the recipient. A patriarchal blessing also includes an inspired and prophetic statement of the life possibilities and mission of the recipient. It may include such blessings, promises, advice, admonitions, and warnings as the patriarch may be prompted to give. It should always be made clear that the realization of all promised blessings is conditioned upon faithfulness and the Lord's will."

Every worthy member, Elder Allred explained, is entitled to and should receive a patriarchal blessing, the recommend for which is issued by a member's bishop.

"You may feel that you are unimportant, too old, and that the Lord has no blessing for you, or perhaps you have sinned and even though you have repented, consider yourself unworthy of a blessing or to receive a blessing. If this is so, I suggest that you make an appointment with your bishop, seek his advice, follow his counsel, and actively and humbly solicit the blessings of heaven."

Testifying that the blessings are inspired and are personal revelations to the recipient, Elder Allred added: "Patriarchal blessings are a guideline, or similar to a road map, that indicates the paths that may be traveled and destinations that may be reached if we stay within those paths. They may bring comfort and joy and encouragement when we have a need to look and to listen and to feel of the contents of these blessings; so that we may go forward on life's journey, not alone, but with the accompanying spirit of our Heavenly Father."