Joseph Smith’s Patriarchal Blessing

The patriarchal blessing that Joseph Smith received from his father helps us understand that no matter who you are or what you’re called to do, your most important title will always be “child of God.”

Joseph Smith Jr. was a prophet, seer, and revelator; a religious and political leader; and a translator of ancient scripture. But most importantly, he was the son of both a loving earthly father and a loving Heavenly Father.

The Joseph Smith Papers has published the patriarchal blessing that Joseph Smith received from his father. The blessing, given on December 9, 1834, and recorded in Patriarchal Blessing Book 1, includes both a father’s blessing and a patriarchal blessing.

Joseph Smith Sr. addressed Joseph Jr. not as a patriarch addressing a prophet, but as an earthly father addressing his son. He begins by addressing “Joseph, my son.” Then he refers to Joseph’s childhood and youth and praises him for being an “obedient son” who respects and obeys “the commands of thy father and the reproofs of thy mother.” Then he addresses the “marvelous work and a wonder” that the Lord had called Joseph Jr. to do.

The blessing Joseph Smith received from his father shows how well Heavenly Father knows each of us and how willing he is to help us succeed. Many of the specific blessings pronounced upon Joseph addressed the work that God had called him to do. The Lord told Joseph, “Thousands and tens of thousands shall come to a knowledge of the truth through thy ministry.” Although this promise may not have been fulfilled before Joseph was martyred, it has certainly come to pass as millions of people around the world have sustained Joseph Smith as a prophet and joined the Church.

Whether or not we have earthly parents who guide us as Joseph’s father and mother did, we—like Joseph—have the constant love and support of our Heavenly Parents. Our Heavenly Father knows us individually; he knows our strengths and weaknesses, our quirks, and our eternal destinies. Whatever else we may accomplish in this life, we will always be his sons and daughters. Then one day the Lord may say to us, as he said to Joseph in his patriarchal blessing: “And now, my son [or daughter], what more shall I say? . . . Thou shalt rejoice . . . in the Celestial Kingdom.”

Read the full text of the patriarchal blessings Joseph Smith Sr. gave to his son Joseph Smith Jr. and to Joseph’s wife Emma.

Source: The Joseph Smith Papers
—Emily Hales

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Find more insights

Learn about the similarities between our earthly and Heavenly Father.

Explore some tips at on ways to strengthen your personal relationship with Heavenly Father.

Watch a video “I Am a Child of God” on the Mormon Channel.

Read what “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” says about the role of fathers “to preside over their families in love and righteousness.”

Watch a short video about Joseph Smith’s First Vision of the Father and the Son.

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  1. My patriarchal blessing has been a wonderful guide and a constant reminder of how well my Father in Heaven knows me. I’m also so grateful for my earthly parents who show me some small part of what my Father in Heaven feels about me. He always finds ways to teach us, some methods more direct, and some more by example.

  2. It’s so amazing that the Church published these. I can’t imagine how special it was for Joseph Smith to receive these blessings from his father. My patriarchal blessing is a treasure to me. How great is it that we can receive counsel that is specific to each of us individually?

  3. Patriarchal blessings are wonderful! It’s incredible to see how much Heavenly Father loves all of his children and how even when we are not doing as well as we want to be doing, we can still accomplish amazing things with the help of the Lord. Sometimes those things aren’t obvious, but the Lord’s plan for us always brings blessings for ourselves and those around us,

  4. This is so cool. I should definitely read my patriarchal blessing more often. Sometimes I worry that it’s wrong, that I missed some opportunities and they no longer apply, but that’s not the right way to think. Things happen when they’re supposed to.

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