Naming and blessing of children
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (November 2010)|
The naming and blessing of a child in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a non-saving ordinance, usually performed during sacrament meeting soon after a child's birth in fulfillment of the commandment in the Doctrine and Covenants: "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." The purpose of the practice is twofold: to give a baby an official name and to provide an opportunity to give a blessing for the child's spiritual and physical welfare. This practice is usually only performed for infants, though older children may also receive the blessing, and older converts to the Church do not need a comparable blessing.
To offer the blessing, worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holders, often including priesthood leaders, family members and close friends, gather in a circle and hold the child in their arms or place their hands on the child's head if he/she is a little older. One of them, often the child's father, performs the blessing. Typically, this consists of the following:
- Addressing Heavenly Father
- Stating the authority under which the blessing is given
- Giving a name
- Adding a blessing as directed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
The blessing is given under the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood and is closed in the name of Jesus Christ.
After the meeting is concluded, a certificate is provided that details the date of the blessing and who officiated; it is signed by the presiding officer of the ward or branch. A membership record is created for children who receive this blessing and they are counted, not as full members of the Church, but as "children of record." They remain on the Church rolls unless they reach adulthood without being baptized or a request for name removal is processed. They become confirmed members of the Church when they receive the ordinances of baptism and confirmation, normally soon after their eighth birthday.
Cultural aspects 
It is common for this blessing to be an occasion for family members to gather, with some relatives traveling occasionally significant distances. In some families, it is also traditional for the baby or older child to be dressed in white clothing similar to a christening gown, but this is not required.
The practice consists of two basic parts, as referenced by the name. First, naming the child. This is done while addressing Heavenly Father. Many use the phrase, "...and the name he/she shall be known by on the records of the church is..." This has been added more of a tradition by many although the only thing that needs to be stated is giving the child a name. After the name has been given, the person acting as voice then pronounces a priesthood blessing. There is some debate as to whether the person giving the blessing should address the child directly or continue to address Heavenly Father. In the Church Handbook of Instructions, Step 4 states, "Gives words of blessing as Spirit directs." There are no other blessings in the church where the priesthood bearer addresses Heavenly Father instead of the recipient of the blessing.
The steps of a Father's Blessing are as follows: 1. Calls the person by his or her full name. 2. States that he is giving the blessing by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood. 3. Gives a blessing as the Spirit directs. 4. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.
See also 
- D&C 20:70
- Children and Childhood in American Religions isbn 0813546958 Don S. Browning, Bonnie Miller-McLemore - 2009 "There are several central religious practices pertaining to 1 among them naming and blessing of children, baptism, confirmation ing to the priesthood, missionary service, and temple endowments "
- Melvyn Hammarberg The Mormon Quest for Glory: The Religious World of the Latter-Day Saints... - 2013 - Page 35 "As Susan Buhler Taber (19 93:9—20) has shown, the content of the fast and testimony meeting varies from month to month and individual by individual, but routinely includes ordinances like the naming and blessing of children and the .."
- "Handbook 2 - Priesthood Ordinances and Blessings - Administering the Church". LDS.org.