On my mission, I was trained by a member who was famous for his blessings how to “hot read“, although at the time I thought it was just how to give a good blessing.
Since then, I’ve wondered if these things were taught en large to the partriarchs of the church. I did find evidence of such:
Q: These interviews are important. In some instances while I was a stake president, applicants became very disturbed about the patriarch’s interview and felt he was entitled to inspiration from the Lord. If there is anything to receiving inspiration, it seems to me that a patriarch should be careful of the questions he asks so he does not mislead them. Many times they came to me disturbed about the questions asked by the patriarch.
A: You don’t need to question his morality. You can question about his family. If you know all about him, perhaps you don’t need to interview him.
So you see, the patriarchs were instructed to gather information by interview and from the bishop about the candidate before performing the blessing. People felt the interviews were too invasive some times and this is dealing with that issue, but regardless, the more they already knew about someone, the less they needed to probe before giving a blessing.
Q: It seems a patriarch might be influenced by some of the answers to the questions.
A: He should be influenced. For instance, a man comes in for a blessing; he comes from the bishop who has given him a recommend for the blessing. That does not prevent the patriarch from asking him about his family or his ancestry. It does not prevent the patriarch from asking, if he holds the priesthood. There are many questions that the patriarch can ask. He doesn’t have to quiz him regarding his conduct.
Source: DIGEST OF THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE PATRIARCHS OF THE CHURCH WITH THE GENERAL AUTHORITIES HELD IN THE BARRATT HALL, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11, 1958, AT 8:00 A.M.