Monday, April 18, 2016

D. Todd Christofferson on the crucial role of fathers

Elder D. Todd Christofferson (b. January 24, 1945) was called to the Seventy in 1993, and as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2008.
"As a Church, we believe in fathers. We believe in 'the ideal of the man who puts his family first' (Blankenhorn, Fatherless America, 5). We believe that 'by divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families' ('The Family: A Proclamation to the World,' Ensign, Nov. 2010, 129). We believe that in their complementary family duties, 'fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners' (ibid.). We believe that far from being superfluous, fathers are unique and irreplaceable....
"The perfect, divine expression of fatherhood is our Heavenly Father. His character and attributes include abundant goodness and perfect love. His work and glory are the development, happiness, and eternal life of His children (see Moses 1:39), Fathers in this fallen world can claim nothing comparable to the Majesty on High, but at their best, they are striving to emulate Him, and they indeed labor in His work. They are honored with a remarkable and sobering trust.
"For men, fatherhood exposes us to our own weaknesses and our need to improve. Fatherhood requires sacrifice, but it is a source of incomparable satisfaction, even joy. Again, the ultimate model is our Heavenly Father, who so loved us, His spirit children, that He gave us His Only Begotten Son for our salvation and exaltation (see John 3:16). ...
"Perhaps the most essential of a father’s work is to turn the hearts of his children to their Heavenly Father. If by his example as well as his words a father can demonstrate what fidelity to God looks like in day-to-day living, that father will have given his children the key to peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come. (See D&C 59:23; Moses 6:59.) A father who reads scripture to and with his children acquaints them with the voice of the Lord. (See D&C 18:34–36.)"
- D. Todd Christofferson, “Fathers,” General Conference, April 2016, Sunday morning session
Click here to read the full talk

Elder Christofferson's message to fathers declared the Church's doctrine and position on fathers clearly, in the midst of a time when too many man are forgetting their God-given duty or neglecting to be the kind of leader and role model in the home that the Lord invites them to be. That fathers are considered "superfluous" in homes and families is a tragic and dangerous path; instead, they should be considered "unique and irreplaceable."

I love the encouragement to look to Heavenly Father for the example of perfect fatherhood. There is much we men could learn from that kind of reflection. As they attempt to follow and emulate the divine example, fathers on this earth truly are "honored with a remarkable and sobering trust."

I especially appreciated this encouragement to provide the kind of spiritual leadership in the home that would make a powerful difference in ways we can only begin to glimpse:

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