JS, Blessing, to , [, NJ], 7 Jan. 1840. Featured version inserted in Patriarchal Blessing Book 1, at p. 147, two pages; unidentified handwriting; CHL. Includes docket.
One leaf, measuring 10½ × 7½ inches (27 × 19 cm). Three of the four sides of the leaf have the square cut of manufactured paper; the bottom side is unevenly cut. Writing appears on the recto and the verso. A docket was inscribed, upside down and in graphite, on the verso. The document was folded twice for filing. The leaf was taped to the endpaper of Patriarchal Blessing Book 1 sometime after the Church Historian’s Office received the document from DeLoss H. Patten on 22 August 1956; Patten donated it on behalf of an Ivins descendant. The custodial history of the document before that time is unknown.
See source note for Blessing from Joseph Smith Sr., 9 Dec. 1834. A notation on the endpaper of Patriarchal Blessing Book 1 indicates that the page on which this blessing was recorded was received from Patten on 22 August 1956. (Patriarchal Blessings, 1:147.)
Patriarchal Blessings, 1833–. CHL. CR 500 2.
On 7 January 1840, JS pronounced a blessing upon , presumably in , New Jersey, or elsewhere in the Delaware River Valley. JS identified this blessing as “a Patriarchal Blessing,” a type of pronouncement typically delivered by a person appointed as a . JS the first patriarch of the in December 1834. According to a later account written by , JS conferred upon his father the “keys of the patriarchal priesthood over the Kingdom of God on earth, even the Church of the Latter Day Saints” at the time of the ordination, but he did not fully explain the responsibilities of the office. The following year, Cowdery stated that a patriarch was expected to bless the fatherless and those whose fathers either were not church members or lived far from their children. Cowdery further referred to JS as “the first patriarch of the church.”
It is unclear why JS gave a patriarchal blessing. No record exists of JS pronouncing patriarchal blessings on other men or women in the eastern during his travels in that region. It is possible that Ivins was the only church member in the area to request a patriarchal blessing from JS or that this is the only surviving transcript for blessings JS gave at that time and place. In any case, this copy of the blessing was recorded by an unidentified scribe.
On 25 October 1831, JS explained to a general conference in Orange, Ohio, that “the order of the High priesthood is that they have power given them to seal up the Saints unto eternal life.” Previously, Joseph Smith Sr. had sealed several church members to eternal life in patriarchal blessings. (Minutes, 25–26 Oct. 1831; see, for example, Joseph Smith Sr., Blessing for John Corrill, 22 Sept. 1835; and Joseph Smith Sr., Blessing for Elias Higbee, 27 Aug. 1835, Patriarchal Blessings, 1:14, 18.)