Patriarchal Blessing Lesson Using Jelly Beans
This April 22nd is National Jelly Bean Day and a fun opportunity to teach our kids about patriarchal blessings using jelly beans! Of course this lesson can be used any time you need a patriarchal blessing lesson. Nobody is going to hold you to the holiday, even if it is a national one. This lesson would also be fun to use anytime around Easter.
The lesson is mostly targeted towards preteens and teenagers, making it perfect for Primary Activity Days, young men’s or young women’s. This year we used it for Family Home Evening!
Patriarchal Blessing Lesson Plan
Jelly Bean Personality Test
Bring a large bowl of jelly beans and ask members of the class to select one. Tell them to hold on to the jelly bean and not eat it.
Have you ever heard about the “jelly bean personality test?” Supposedly the color of jelly bean you choose says a lot about your personality. Let’s see how accurate it is!
WHITE OR BLACK:
- This individual is highly structured and organized
- Surroundings are neat
- If given an assignment, wants to know how many pages, exact requirements
- Always wants to know the rules
- Memorizes things well
- Can’t stand sloppy, unorganized people
- Deliberates before making decisions
- Not usually outspoken
- Always in a state of transition, whether they are 8 or 80
- Usually smart and innovative, often artistic
- Sometimes confused in making decisions, unsure where they’re supposed to be
- Hard workers
- Exciting to be with – will try anything as long as it’s safe
- Spiritual aspects usually important to them
- They look at things with perspective and respect others’ opinions
- Cheerful and good-natured
- Have the ability to get along well with almost anyone
- They are friendly and have a ready smile
- Usually have a quick wit
- Fluent, often eloquent and profound in speech
- Do not like to be left alone
- Enjoy life and inspire others to reach their highest potential
RED AND PINK:
- Are courageous and their energy seems boundless
- Smile much of the time
- If they see someone not smiling, will ask what the problem is
- Genuinely care about people and become involved in others’ problems
- Highly influenced by others, share their sadness or grief
- Make their decisions with feelings, act on impulses of the heart
- Spend a great deal of time on the phone, usually listening to others
- Sensitive, enthusiastic friends
- Flirty and passionate
- Highly creative and highly excitable
- Have new ideas and are visionaries
- Short attention spans – can’t stay put for long at a time
- Disorganized, often choosing to close doors rather than deal with the organization
- Procrastinators who thrive on chaos, enjoy the challenges of different problems
- Have a problem dealing with highly structured time
- Questioning – when given an assignment, asks why it must be done a certain way, want to do it differently
- Set high standards for themselves and those who work for them
GREEN: NEED TO STAND AND REMAIN STANDING WHILE TRAITS ARE READ
- We always ask green to stand because they love recognition
- These people are seen as leaders, usually in highly visible positions
- They are respecters of authority and tradition
- They are decisive, directed, and focused
- They love black and white jelly bean people to organize their projects for them
How many of you thought the results were accurate? Do you really think that the color of jelly bean you like has anything to do with who you are? Why and why not?
This also made me think of those quizzes you find all over social media. The ones that tell you something about yourself based on your name, photo, or what Disney princess is your favorite.
Why are games like this so popular? I think it is because they make us feel validated and understood. It is nice to hear nice things about yourself even if it is tied to what color jelly bean you like.
Importance of Patriarchal Blessings
But there is someone who knows us and understands us intimately. In a way that is way, way beyond fun little games.
In John 10:14, we learn that the Lord knows us intimately. “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”
This is what makes patriarchal blessings so remarkable. It is amazing to hear from the Lord about your strengths and weaknesses. It is amazing for him to point out a personal path for you.
According to the church’s website, “Every worthy, baptized member is entitled to and should receive a patriarchal blessing, which provides inspired direction from the Lord. Patriarchal blessings include a declaration of a person’s lineage in the house of Israel and contain personal counsel from the Lord. As a person studies his or her patriarchal blessing and follows the counsel it contains, it will provide guidance, comfort, and protection.”
Patriarchal Blessing Quiz
Let’s see how much we know about patriarchal blessings by taking this little true or false quiz that used to be in the Aaronic Priesthood manual. You can hand out jelly beans to those who help read the quotes!
True or False
- One purpose of a patriarchal blessing is to tell you what the Lord expects of you.
- You need to receive only one patriarchal blessing in your life.
- A patriarchal blessing declares your lineage.
- The only difference between a patriarchal blessing and a blessing your father might give you is that they are given by different people.
- Unless the patriarch knows you personally, he cannot give you a very detailed blessing.
- You must be at least nineteen years old to receive a patriarchal blessing.
- You must have a recommend from your bishop to receive a patriarchal blessing.
- Fasting can help prepare you to receive a patriarchal blessing.
- Any of your friends should be able to read your patriarchal blessing if they want to.
- Studying your patriarchal blessing frequently can inspire you to live a better life and to reach your goals in life.
- You cannot always tell how your patriarchal blessing will be fulfilled.)
- Your patriarchal blessing will come to pass regardless of what you do.
1. One purpose of a patriarchal blessing is to tell you what the Lord expects of you. (True.)
Elder LeGrand Richards stated: “If we understand where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going, then we are more likely to reach the desired port. That is really the purpose of a patriarchal blessing, to be able to interpret and reveal to us, through the inspiration of the Almighty, why we are here and what is expected of us” (“Patriarchal Blessings,” New Era, Feb. 1977, p. 4).
Not only does a patriarchal blessing promise us blessings, it also identifies our talents and potential, and gives us prophetic counsel, warning, and guidance.
2. You need to receive only one patriarchal blessing in your life. (True.)
In 1947, the First Presidency wrote to all stake presidents that “all such blessings are recorded and generally one such blessing should be adequate for each person’s life” (in Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], p. 558).
3. A patriarchal blessing declares your lineage. (True.)
Lineage means “descent in a line from a common progenitor” (Daniel H. Ludlow, “The House of Israel,” Ensign, Jan. 1991, p. 52).
Read and discuss Abraham 2:9-10. Explain that as members of the Church we have the right to receive all the blessings of the gospel if we live worthily. Only the literal descendants of Abraham have this right by birth. However, some members of the Church who are not directly descended from Abraham are adopted into a tribe of Israel because they have accepted the true gospel (see Galatians 3:26-29).
4. The only difference between a patriarchal blessing and a blessing your father might give you is that they are given by different people. (False.)
President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: “A faithful father who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood may bless his own children, and that would be a patriarchal (father’s) blessing. Such a blessing could be recorded in the family records, but it would not be preserved in the archives of the Church. Every father who is true to this priesthood is a patriarch over his own house. In addition, children may receive a blessing by an ordained patriarch. A father blessing his own child could, if he received the inspiration to do so, declare the lineage of the child” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-56], 3:172).
Explain that a father would usually not declare lineage, although he has that right if he is inspired to do so, while an ordained patriarch nearly always declares lineage. Also, only the blessing given by the ordained patriarch will be recorded by the Church. When each Aaronic Priesthood holder receives his patriarchal blessing, he will receive his own written copy of it. Should he ever lose it, he can get another copy from the Church’s Historical Department.
5. Unless the patriarch knows you personally, he cannot give you a very detailed blessing. (False.)
Explain that patriarchal blessings come from the Lord, not from the patriarch. Elder LeGrand Richards told the following story to illustrate this point.
“I was visiting a patriarch a while ago. He told about a blessing he gave to a woman who came to him from one of the missions. Among other things he told her that her progenitors had made a great contribution to the bringing forth of the gospel in these latter days. And after the blessing was given she said, ‘I’m afraid you made a mistake this time. I am a convert to the Church; I am the first one of my family to join the Church.’
” ‘Well,’ the patriarch said, ‘I don’t know anything about it. All I know is that I felt prompted to say that to you.’ And when he told me the story, she had just been in the genealogical library and had found that some of her relatives-her grandparents or her great-grandparents-had made great sacrifices in the early days of the Church. … She found that she was descended from some of the early pioneers. The patriarch did not know of it himself. He had spoken by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost” (“Patriarchal Blessings,” p. 6).
6. You must be at least nineteen years old to receive a patriarchal blessing. (False, but you should have one before you enter the mission field.)
President Ezra Taft Benson counseled young men to get their patriarchal blessings while still in the Aaronic Priesthood:
“I would encourage you brethren of the Aaronic Priesthood to receive a patriarchal blessing. Study it carefully and regard it as personal scripture to you-for that is what it is. A patriarchal blessing is the inspired and prophetic statement of your life’s mission together with blessings, cautions, and admonitions as the patriarch may be prompted to give. Young men, receive your patriarchal blessing under the influence of fasting and prayer, and then read it regularly that you may know God’s will for you” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, p. 56; or Ensign, May 1986, pp. 43-44).
7. You must have a recommend from your bishop to receive a patriarchal blessing. (True.)
When a person feels that he is ready to receive a patriarchal blessing, he should talk with his bishop or branch president.
8. Fasting can help prepare you to receive a patriarchal blessing. (True.)
“Those who seek patriarchal blessings … should seek them with an earnest prayerful desire to become, through the blessings, more completely happy in their lives, and more perfectly serviceable in the work of the Lord. … The unclean or disobedient person should cleanse himself, and learn obedience before going to the patriarch” (John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1943], 1:75).
Share any stories about personal preparation for patriarchal blessings.
What else can each of us do to prepare to receive a patriarchal blessing? (Answers might include studying the gospel to strengthen our desire to receive the Lord’s blessings and to understand better what we must do to receive them, praying that both we and the patriarch may be in tune with the Holy Spirit, striving to keep the commandments so that we will be worthy of whatever blessings the Lord has in store for us.)
9. Any of your friends should be able to read your patriarchal blessing if they want to. (False.)
Patriarchal blessings are personal and sacred. They should be kept in a safe place and not passed around or discussed too freely. They are meant for our own benefit. However, we may wish to share them with members of our family at appropriate times, as we are directed by the Spirit.
10. Studying your patriarchal blessing frequently can inspire you to live a better life and to reach your goals in life. (True.)
“Studying your patriarchal blessing frequently, especially in times of decision or trial or depression, will quickly remind you and give you the vision of who you really are and what your relationship with God is, and especially what his will for you is. It can comfort you when you feel unloved and unworthy and inadequate or forgotten. It can point you toward your own special purpose in life” (Elaine A. Cannon, “Season of Awakening,” New Era, July 1981, p. 10).
President Spencer W. Kimball said: “You who have your blessings, do you read them frequently? Do you pray about them to get an interpretation, or is it folded up and put in a trunk and a safe place? Make a copy of it, and put it in your pocket, and read it frequently” (in Conference Report, Korea Area Conference 1975, p. 39).
11. You cannot always tell how your patriarchal blessing will be fulfilled. (True.)
President Kimball related how he learned this lesson in the following story:
“When I was eleven years old, my father took me to the patriarch, and he gave me … some promises that if I would prove faithful would come to pass. He said, ‘You … will preach the gospel to many people, but more especially to the Lamanites. And you will see them rise and be organized.’ I was only eleven years old. How would he know what was going to befall me? He just felt the Spirit from on high, and he let his voice express the thoughts that the Lord had placed in his heart.
“When I was nineteen years old, … I was called to the Swiss-German Mission, but as I read my patriarchal blessing, I realized that there were no Indians in Switzerland or in Germany, and I came back to the United States because of the First World War. There were many places where I could have preached the gospel to Indians. There were probably 60,000,000 Indians in America. But I was sent to Missouri. … I spent two and a half years in Missouri and went home without seeing a single Indian. Being a rather human person, I said to myself, ‘I guess the patriarch must have made a mistake.’ And then I went to work at home after I was married and my family began to come. There weren’t any Indians there. … And then I was called to be one of the Twelve Apostles and to move to Salt Lake City. And again I wondered. I was now forty-eight years old. I had never preached to any Indians.
“But soon after I came to Salt Lake City, the President of the Church invited me into his office and asked me to serve on the committee for the Lamanites. And a little later he called me again and said, ‘I want you to be the chairman of the Indian program.’ At last my patriarchal blessing was to be fulfilled.
“The patriarch didn’t say how long it would be, so I just needed to wait and magnify my calling. … Perhaps none of the brethren have visited more or preached to more Indians than I have in all of America. Now I am not boasting. I am just telling you that the blessings of the patriarch will be fulfilled if we do our duty, no matter how hard they are, for nothing is too hard for the Lord” (in Conference Report, Korea Area Conference 1975, p. 39).
12. Your patriarchal blessing will come to pass regardless of what you do. (False.)
Explain that the blessings a patriarch gives are conditional. They come to us on conditions of our obedience to God and his laws. As with most blessings from the Lord, we must live worthily to receive them.
Elder Carlos E. Asay used the following analogy to describe a patriarchal blessing:
“When a stake patriarch places his hand upon your head, gives you a blessing, and inspires you with pronounced prophecies and promises, an exciting beginning has been made. It is left to you to keep those prophecies and promises riveted in your mind-regarding them as attainable goals-and proceed forward with righteous living and faithful service so that you might draw claim upon the related blessings.
“By way of illustration, the patriarch stands with you at the starter’s gate. He envisions for you the race that lies ahead. With the aid of his special gifts, he outlines the rules of the contest, he describes the challenges that will be faced, and he cites the laurels that may be won. However, you, the runner, must stay in the marked lane, abide the rules, cover the course, and cross the finish line if you expect to receive the victor’s prize” (“Write Your Own Blessing,” New Era, Oct. 1981, p. 4).
Conclusion and Testimony
In the April 2020 General Conference, Sister Laudy Ruth Kaouk shared about patriarchal blessings in her talk “How the Priesthood Blesses Youth.”
“I have learned to turn to my patriarchal blessing whenever I feel sad or lonely. My blessing helps me to see my potential and the specific plan God has for me. It comforts me and helps me to see beyond my earthly perspective. It reminds me of my gifts and of the blessings I will receive if I live worthily. It also helps me to remember and feel at peace that God will provide answers and open doors for me at exactly the right moment when I need it most.
Patriarchal blessings help prepare us to return to live with our Heavenly Father. I know patriarchal blessings come from God and can help us turn our weaknesses into strengths. These are not messages from fortune-tellers; these blessings tell us what we need to hear. They are like a Liahona for each one of us. When we put God first and have faith in Him, He will lead us through our own wilderness.”
Share you own testimony of how your patriarchal blessing has blessed your life.