5/07/2006

A Blessing, A Blessing...

The inevitable question is starting to rise: When are you having that baby blessed? Which leaves me feeling odd and at-odds with what others' seem so excited and happy to do... The idea of blessing a baby is beautiful, but what actually happens is often so far from beautiful, it leaves me wondering. As a convert, there are some things that still baffle me, and some things that I just don't get. Now, I know I'm bound to offend at least someone with this, but I just don't get the hoopla around how we bless babies. We aren't a church with a lot of pageantry- I'm ok with that for the most part, I would even say I like it most of the time. But when I first joined, going on 3 1/2 years ago, I remember some of the women going on about baby blessings and how beautiful and moving and emotional they were. Well, when I had the opportunity so see my first one, I was, um, underwhelmed. Were these ladies, my friends, experiencing the same thing I just did? Was (am) I an insensitive oaf? It seemed that the Blessing was something shunted in between ward announcements and the Sacrament prayers, kind of haphazard and lacking in anything to set it aside as something special. Just kind of something crammed in where it will fit within the regular Sunday meeting. A group of men gathered, off to the side, in a circle around this tiny baby, and someone (usually, but not always, the dad) says a prayer, sometimes directed at Heavenly Father, sometimes directed at the baby, (is there a right way?) then everyone sits back down and gets on with the day. The Mom never even gets to leave her seat in the pews, and while I know she isn't able to take part in the blessing, she is seldom acknowledged, and remains invisible. That's it. It's over. So my question remains- Am I an insensitive oaf? Are the people who gush about how spiritual a blessing is getting something I am missing? Or are we just collectively pretending/hoping this is a beautiful thing, because we want it to be? Even in a church with so little pageantry, we do have ceremonies that set aside things as special- like our baptisms. They are not fancy, but they are done separately from the main meetings, and can be as personal or plain as the recipient wishes. I wish we could do this with our blessings- set them aside instead of stuffing them into an already full Sacrament meeting. With my boys, we had them blessed quietly in our Bishop's office, but my husband was not yet a member then. Now, he is a Preisthood holder, and it seems there is an expectation of doing what is normal. Can we do a blessing privately? Is it appropriate or sensitive to skip the crowded Sacrament meeting blessing and do something quiet on our own? Is there any doctrine on blessings? Am I the only mother in the world who feels this way?

26 Comments:

Blogger Heather O. said...

Tracy-

We did Jacob's blessing at my cousin's house. At the time, our ward was between buildings, and the only time it worked for us was the week of Stake Conference, so we had neither a Sacrament meeting nor a building to do it in. So, we had a big family party, complete with traditional Mormon food (you know, ham and funeral potatoes!) with all of my extended family who lived in the area, got a cute outfit for Jacob, etc. Boy it was fun! We got the whole thing on tape, and it was really a party.

We have done other things like that with my nieces and nephews. I can't remember what the reason was, but we actually blessed my niece while she was still in the hospital. That was very cool. And my nephew was blessed in my parent's house--I think his blessing coincided with my grandmother's funeral, and it seemed appropriate to celebrate the living at a time when we were mourning she who had passed. So, I think there is a lot of leniency with these things, and I say do whatever you want. That's just me, though!

5/07/2006 03:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

Tracy, we are considering blessing our second baby (due in June) while we are in the Northwest for my sister's wedding this summer. That way, a bunch of our family will get to be there and that would be nice. If we do this, we won't be blessing him in a church. Half of my siblings are not active and wouldn't feel comfortable going to a ward building, and since I'm not from there, I wouldn't feel the need to find the local church to do it at either.

My husband's brother has blessed all of his 3 kids at home with friends and family there. The blessings have been like what Heather descirbed, kind of a family party and very fun! I think all you have to do is make sure someone in the bishoprick knows about the blessing so it can be put in the records.

Do your blessing however you are comfortable!

5/07/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger FrogLegs said...

You do it how you and your husband want to. If I ever get a baby, it won't be blessed at church in sacrament- because for me it's a very private thing... like my issues with mass baptisms they do up here on the first Saturday of the month. :)

5/07/2006 05:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

There was a post about this same topic on either T&S or M* last month. I am too lazy to look it up, but you can.

From what I understand, you can bless your baby where/when you wish. Just speak with your Bishop about it. When we bless our first (due in August) we are planning to do it in Sacrament meeting the Sunday after Thanksgiving in my parents home ward (we will be visiting from out of state). So, not a fast sunday and not even our home ward, but going to do it anyway. I like the idea of doing it a church as a way to share the experience with others. If you do it at home, totally fine. Have a little party (we will after sacrament meeting). It's totally a personal decision.

We decided on Thanksgiving 'cuz it's a time when people most often don't have to work so my siblings from out of state would have a greater chance of being able to attend.

Some blessings are beautiful, some - a tad long winded. As far as addressing HF or the baby...I'd don't think it matters. Just do what feels right. There is no set way (like baptisms) for blessings.

5/07/2006 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

You know, I was a little hesitant to ask these questions, for fear of offending, but I'm glad I did now.

I think I might feel differently if we had any extended family that beleive as we do; alas, we do not. So for us this is already a solitary, personal time. Thanks for giving me the feedback that it's ok to do it as we feel is right.

5/07/2006 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Actually, the beginning of the blessing IS set. The wording, anyways. Ask your Bishop to know for sure. Because both HF and the baby are addressed. And even though it may not be "as" important as Baptism, it is still a Priesthood Blessing and shouldn't be taken lightly.

If you do a private blessing, a member of a Bishopric should be there.

Private vs public --ah, the debate! Doesn't really matter. All 3 of mine were in church and we had a big party afterwards with food and family and friends. My cousin had 3 of her 4 blessed at home with the same party.

Yeah, just do what feels right.

5/07/2006 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Tracy, My first was blessed at church and very stressful for me and Hubby (he is not LDS), The second was done at my mom's house at a time that many family members could come. We had a much fuller house, 30 to 40 at the home blessing and it was so lovely. We also were able to start and end when we wanted to ( like after the baby was fed and happy so there was no crying). I also know that a Bishopric member does not have to be there. They do want to know who will be giving the blessing, but it is nice to ask if they would like to join you. The at home blessing was much more comfortable for my husbands non-LDS family. My next one is going to be blessed at home too.

I also had my brother in-law talk about why we bless babies and read a scripture before the blessing, which was very nice.

5/07/2006 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger Starfoxy said...

The ward I'm currently in has the mother 'stand and be recognized' immediately after the blessing. The person conducting the meeting asks the mother to stand, congratulates her and then inserts optional words on the hard work of motherhood and how much they appreicate her efforts. It embarrassed me when I had to stand at my baby's blessing, but I am grateful that they put an effort into making sure the mother isn't invisible.
Re; the proper format for baby blessings, the Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood part B has a section on how to perform all public priesthood ordinances in detail, including baby-blessings. The chapter can be read here.

5/08/2006 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Maralise said...

Tracy-
I blessed my first in church, my second at home. I enjoyed the at-home blessing so much more. I felt like it was a private moment between my husband, our baby, and me (and yes, at the at-home blessing, I actually felt involved. I'm not sure why, it just felt more like a "family" moment instead of a "ward" moment, I guess). If I have another child, I would work with the bishop so that we could bless him/her at home. The other nice thing about that choice is that there is no pressure for the party afterwards if you don't want one.

Good luck Tracy. I really don't think there is a right and wrong answer here. I just think you need to do what works for your family.

5/08/2006 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...

Tracy, I wonder if your youth has something to do with your feelings.

Because I wasn't too impressed when I was young, (although, an aside, my first husband and I, who drank like fishes, made sure our baby was blessed) at baby blessings.

Now, though, I love babies. So I get all jazzed at blessings. It's all about perspective, I think.

5/09/2006 09:43:00 PM  
Anonymous mrs k said...

Interesting questions...I've never personally known anyone to bless a baby outside of church, but it's very reassuring to hear that this is ok, and seemingly done fairly often. I will certainaly propose this whenever we finally get pregnant and have our babies. We have lots of family and friends that would be more likely to share this event with us if it did not take place during a church meeting. A whole world of ideas has opened up to me!

5/10/2006 03:14:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

Oh, we have lots of people who bless their babies elsewhere. It all depends on circumstances. The important part is the priesthood holders, not the place.

5/10/2006 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tracy,
We have had most of our kids blessed in the church. Our second was blessed in our home. My dad was out of the state and we waited till he got home. Then, most of my husband's family was inactive and we wanted them to come, so held it at home.
I think that baby blessings are wonderful - regardless of where they are. My first son's was fairly short and simply stated blessing. It was my hubby's first and he was nervous. The rest were much more relaxed for both of us. I think that if you are close to the baby/family having the blessing, it can be a very beautiful and spiritual thing. Like everything of the spirit, you get what you put in. The times when I have been distracted and/or thinking negatively it is just a bunch of words. It really is the same as listening to testimony meeting. You have to really listen and be in the proper frame of mind to feel the spirit.
Baby blessings are for the purpose of naming the baby and giving them a blessing. Whether it is a big deal or not is a family choice. My nephew married a girl from Peru. She just puts regular clothes on the baby and the blessing is the main focus. There is no party afterwards, no special anything - just the special memory of the baby's blessing. They do take a photo with the baby for the baby book. At the other end...My sister's baby was blessed yesterday. It was a beautiful blessing and I listened very carefully to the words. I loved it. We all stayed for all the meetings and had a lovely time visiting their ward. Afterwards, we went to her place for a huge family pot luck. It was nice, but a little hectic, a lot of work and a late night. She was stressed about the potluck, late for church, and ended up with a monumental clean up job after the party because most of us had kids in seminary early & needed to get home.

3/05/2007 11:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's probably late to be doing this but my family is in town for the Thanksgiving holiday and thought it would be nice if we blessed both my brothers baby who is 4 months and my baby who is 1 month old on the same Sunday. Now my dad will/would be performing both blessings because my husband is not LDS and both me and my brother have been inactive since we were 18. Now the night before we were to have the blessing my husband decides to look up online as to what the blessing entails and now doesn't want to do it. We tried explaning that the babies name goes down on the official records as having had a blessing but that he wouldn't be a member untill/when he was babtized. My husband is extremely against any religion, but was willing to go along with a blessing as it seemed there was no harm done and that it would mean something to my family. What he's finding online is that the official record that goes down allows children to Say that they are a member of the church even before they are baptized and that they are "considered" a member untill they are an adult and are removed from the records when they are an adult and haven't been baptized yet.

My dilema of course is that I would like to get him blessed because of what it means to my family, but I don't want my husband to be uncomfortable with the whole process. I had my mom try to explain it because like I said I became inactive when I was 18 and now I have no clue what to tell my husband to assure him that the blessing doesn't make him a member and it's just a nice thing to do. I need to know if that is actually a lie and he really is a member untill he's 18 - Or if the blessing can be done as "Just a nice thing" for my family. Can I get a blessing without it going on record at the church I guess is the main question here.

Unfortunately it looks as if it's not going to happen tomorrow if my husband is against it, but I would still like to find out the answers and perhaps still get him blessed at a future date without all the drama. I'll probably see if I can discuss this with others in my families ward, but I would like more of an unbiased opinion from people I don't know so there's no personal feelings getting in the way. Thank you for yout time and I hope you can clarify this for us.

11/25/2007 03:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have been going back and forth as to having our son blessed at home or at church. My husband can not at the moment bless our baby. So we will have his father do it. In our large family it is custom to bless the baby at church and then have a reception afterward. Because we have lots family at different levels of "active " this way they can all be apart. I love what was said about mothers and am going to ask that that be addressed in the speech at the reception. This was a great post. thanks for helping me with the decision!

7/28/2008 12:35:00 AM  
Blogger mrcolj said...

I came to this page as part of my morning preparation before blessing my 3rd child today. So, to you readers: baby blessings are like anything else church related--"you receive no blessing until after the trial of your faith" and "we know that it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do" both mean church is designed to be agonizing for those who aren't prepared to feel the spirit that day. For most of us, that's most weeks. But you put your time in, read your lessons, do all you can do, etc.; and then you will have wonderful experiences. Everything about a blessing is dry and non-chalant, like everything else in Mormonism. But that's the necessary rollercoaster to make the heights high. So I have no idea what to say today, no idea if I did all that I can do, and everything's falling out of place right now--but that's just the point, and you wouldn't have it any other way.

3/01/2009 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just in case you and your husband wish for backup sakes. http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,13-1-1-7,00.html
this talks about all the blessings. good luck.

5/12/2009 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger T. Nathaniel Heaton said...

D&C 20:73

10/08/2009 10:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm about to be a new mom and I've been thinking about the baby blessing and what it means to me now and what it's meant to me in the past. I grew up in the church so I didn't think to much of it, but now that I'm older and have found my eternal companion and we are having our first child, I have come to see the baby blessing as a moment of sending the child into the world with the love of both fathers; when both temporal and spiritual fathers are able to come together, in a way, for the first time to give their child a rightful start in this bleak world. Have you seen the look on a new fathers' face when everyone just said "Amen"? It's priceless. I've seen many raise their child to the congregation as if saying, "Take this Satan!"

I don't think your insensitive. It could be the ward you're in, or the area. I've lived in the same small ward my whole life in a town where I'm defiantly a minority and that might make the difference in experiences.

Your baby is yours and a blessing in any form is sacred and meant not to be paraded like mardi gras. Don't let others pressure you into sticking with the norm. Most place, just being LDS is keeping from being the norm anyways.

2/21/2010 09:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Sean M. Cox said...

I've seen a lot of comments from people suggesting that there is some virtue behind having the blessing done as a private thing and/or that the difference between public and private blessings is merely superficial.

I think this largely misses the point. The scriptural mandate for these blessings comes from D&C 69:20 which states:

"Every member of the church of Christ having children is to bring them unto the elders before the church, who are to lay their hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ, and bless them in his name. "

While the purpose of this commandment isn't made explicit, it would seem to me that there is likely a two-fold (at least) purpose of invoking priesthood power for the welfare of the child and introducing the child to the ward family (which builds unity and can invoke the good will of the ward on the child's behalf). Private blessings would not fulfill the latter purpose, and regardless of what one imagines to be the purpose, private blessings are expressly not what the Lord mandated.

Applying the "ox-in-the-mire" principle, we can see why they sometimes happen, but the difference is not superficial.

5/02/2010 01:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Sean M. Cox said...

*** D&C 20:70 (not 69:20... transposed the numbers from the first verse highlighted in my search results)

5/02/2010 01:12:00 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

We blessed our first two children at home because we didn't like the idea of taking half the ward away from Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society meetings after sacrament so they could come to an open house. We recently moved to a new ward, and we blessed our new baby in sacrament because our bishop told us he preferred that.

If you're looking for an outfit for your child, have a look at these boy blessing outfits and LDS blessing dresses. I keep my kid's blessing outfits around for them to have when they grow up.

9/09/2010 01:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Kris said...

All of my children have been blessed at my Grandparents house, outside of the regular church meeting. It turns it into a very special thing. There is no need to bless the child in sacrament meeting. I've found that blessing the child outside of regular church meetings is 1000 fold more spiritual, especially if you are able to do it outside. That way everyone is able to focus on welcoming the child into the world, and it is a family celebration to welcome and bless that child. I hope that this helps, there is no need what-so-ever to do it crammed in sacrament meeting. Just ask your bishop for permission to bless somewhere else. Good luck.

10/24/2010 05:52:00 AM  
Blogger Rachael Taylor said...

You don't know me, I was just googling boy baby blessing outfits and got your blog so I read it.

I understand where you're coming from. I grew up in the church and as a child attended many people's blessing that I do not remember or didn't even know. When I was really young I actually hated blessings because I hated keeping my eyes closed that long.

I'm not sure the what is supposed to happen, but I do know if you would like you can do blessing outside of sacrament meeting. My cousin just blessed their baby at their oldest son's birthday party.

However, I personally enjoy the sacrament meeting blessing. It is a simple thing and to me that is what makes it so beautiful. It's not a whole production that takes weeks to prepare, but a simple blessing from Heavenly father to this new baby in the world. Also in my family the mother usually ends up giving her testimony later during the meeting. Then after the sacrament meeting we go to the parent's house and have a lunch/dinner depending on the time of the meeting.

5/09/2011 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Ed Klopfenstein said...

We actually got some very good advice from Laura at teensytots.com about how to celebrate our child's blessing. Yes, they have clothes, but if you contact her, she'll sit down and explain the process and give some nice pointers. For instance, she told us about family and why this is a difficult subject for in-laws, as we found, because it's a religious ceremony that they may not support. Anyway, just some advice.

4/04/2013 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger Ed Klopfenstein said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/04/2013 04:41:00 PM  

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