I heard over the weekend from a friend who wanted to hold her baby while her husband blessed him. She would not be, or even appear to be, participating in the ordinance itself in any way. She simply wanted to cradle the child while it was blessed, like any mother would do during a sick baby blessing and anointing by priesthood holders. She and her husband told the bishop of their plans to bless the baby at home at an extended family gathering, and for her to hold him. Up the chain the news went, to stake president and area authority. The message came back down the chain that she was not to be allowed to do this.
She did not feel peace or the Spirit confirming this instruction at all, but in order to avoid causing any problems with her leaders, they redid the blessing in their ward Sacrament Meeting.
“We did two blessings (the one that meant the most to us at home, and one for the records at church). I didn’t want to do the one at church because I feel it delegitimized the one we did at home. We didn’t want to ruffle any feathers.”
Here’s my thought experiment: Close your eyes. Imagine a small throng of Heavenly host, including generations of my friend and her baby’s ancestors, looking down on these events with interest and love. Imagine the kindly great-great-great-grandmothers’ faces. Imagine that special sparkle in the faded color of a great-great-uncle’s eyes, like I remember seeing in my doting grandfather’s eyes near the end of his life when his grandchildren were the most dear sight in all the world. Imagine saints who made unimaginable earthly sacrifices, and a throng who have all embraced every good thing in that heavenly realm where they now reside.
Now imagine that crowd shouting “Hosanna!” and embracing each other in jubilation and relief when the decree came down the chain from area authority to stake president to bishop to that dear mother and her husband. “Truth has prevailed again in the town of Lindon, UT!” they sing. “The error and shadows of a baby being held by his mother during a priesthood blessing flee from the glorious light of this policy and the Love of our Savior!”
Can any of us imagine this? Then why are we doing this?