Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Church HIstory Library Is Full of History About Families

The Church History Library In Salt Lake City is a resource many overlook. I have found the personal life story of a grandfather available to read on microfilm, a relative in an 1842 Church census in Nauvoo, and most excitingly I just received a copy of Elisha Craguns Patriarchal blessing.
Lobby of LDS Church History Library: Note the Temple Location to the right.
My research leads me to believe that Elisha was a fairly wealthy land and slave owner. It appears to me that he gave that all up, probably selling all of his property. Elisha had met two missionaries, one the brother of two of my Porter Ancestors (John President Porter and Lyman Wight Porter). He was baptized by another ancestor in Indiana, Henry Mower.  His wife, Mary Polly Osborne, child of a well to do family died a year and a half after his joining the Mormons. Three days later his  21 year old Abigail died, assumingly of the same disease that took Mary Polly.
Less than three years later he was given a Patriarchal Blessing in Nauvoo by John Smith, Patriarch.
RE: Patriarchs, On Dec. 18th, 1833, Joseph Smith Jr., "first elder and first patriarch of the Church" gave patriarchal blessings to family members and Oliver Cowdry. He set apart his father Joseph Smith Senior as a "Patriarch, and President of the high Priesthood." During this meeting, Joseph Smith reported a vision of Adam giving patriarchal blessings to his descendants (often referred to as the Patriarchs of the the Old Testament). The vision indicated Adam's descendants were also High Priests who gathered together in Missouri near the Garden of Eden three days before Adam's death.

In the Latter Day Saint tradition, a patriarch gives a "patriarchal blessing" by placing his hands on the recipient's head and pronounces their "linage," usually one of the twelve tribes of Israel. An optional blessing follows which approximates a personalized prophecy telling of future events usually dependent on the recipient's worthiness.

Each member of the Church is entitled to a Patriarchal blessing by a Patriarch.

Not only does Elijah's blessing state where he was born, it names his mother as Elsy. Much of his blessing blesses him through trials of those persecuting the church. It makes note he forsake all, which I see as possibly all he gave up in Indiana as well as what the church members endured in Nauvoo and other trials following. Elisha and his posterity received great promises in this blessing. I am so glad to have found it.

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