Sunday, June 17, 2018

President Russell M. Nelson on the sacred responsibilities of fathers

President Russell M. Nelson (born Sept 9, 1924) was an internationally-renowned heart surgeon when he was called to serve as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984. He became president of that quorum on July 15, 2015. Following the death of President Monson, he was set apart as president of the Church on January 14, 2018.
"Parents have the primary responsibility for the welfare of their children. (See D&C 68:25–28.) The Church does not replace that parental responsibility. Ideally, the Latter-day Saint family is presided over by a worthy man who holds the priesthood. This patriarchal authority has been honored among the people of God in all dispensations. It is of divine origin, and that union, if sealed by proper authority, will continue throughout eternity. He who is the Father of us all and the source of this authority demands that governance in the home be in love and righteousness. (See D&C 121:41–45.)
"You fathers can help with the dishes, care for a crying baby, and change a diaper. And perhaps some Sunday you could get the children ready for Church, and your wife could sit in the car and honk.
"'Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.' (Eph. 5:25.) With that kind of love, brethren, we will be better husbands and fathers, more loving and spiritual leaders. Happiness at home is most likely to be achieved when practices there are founded upon the teachings of Jesus Christ. (See Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102.) Ours is the responsibility to ensure that we have family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening. Ours is the responsibility to prepare our children to receive the ordinances of salvation and exaltation and the blessings promised to tithe payers. Ours is the privilege to bestow priesthood blessings of healing, comfort, and direction."
- Russell M. Nelson, "Our Sacred Duty to Honor Women," General Conference April 1999
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

While fatherhood, as viewed by the Church, bears certain divinely assigned roles and responsibilities to preside in righteousness and govern in love, it does not excuse a man from other aspects of being a part of a family. With his typical wit and insight, President Nelson expands the role of a father:

President Nelson quotes from Paul's letter to the Ephesians to describe what a man's love for his wife should represent; he should be willing to give himself for her and to her, even as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it. That kind of single-focused devotion is so critical; it's the foundation of happiness, rare in today's society. We need to rediscover that level of commitment and love.

And then we add the commitment to obedience taught in the Family Proclamation to ensure our homes are "founded upon the teachings of Jesus Christ." And so a father has the privilege and responsibility to lead his family in those sacred principles and practices. President Nelson's message is a clear call for all men to "rise up" and become the kind of father that God would have us be!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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