Throughout the years, general authorities have emphasized the role fathers should have in the lives of their family members. These four general conference addresses from various general authorities give advice about the duties of being a father and how to be a good father in the world today.
In April 2016 general conference, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave an address on the role of fathers. Some duties of fatherhood include putting family first, presiding over the family and loving their family through service.
As a 12-year-old, Elder Christofferson’s father ran for city council. Elder Christofferson and his brothers went door-to-door with flyers to encourage people to vote for their father. It seemed that every person Elder Christofferson talked to had something kind to say about his father. A great pride for his father rose up inside of him and though his father was clearly not perfect, he was an amazing example for him to follow.
Speaking to fathers Elder Christofferson said: “Let us lay aside the exaggerated notions of individualism and autonomy in today’s culture and think first of the happiness and well-being of others. Surely, despite our inadequacies, our Heavenly Father will magnify us and cause our simple efforts to bear fruit.”
Elder L. Tom Perry gave an October 2014 General Conference address about building families. He focused a portion of his message on the role fathers have in building eternal families.
He included six duties fathers should carry out for their families:
- Fathers should give blessings and perform sacred ordinances (such as baptism) for their children.
- Fathers should be personally involved in leading family in prayers, scripture study and family home evening.
- Fathers should be involved in planning vacations and outings for the entire family.
- Fathers should hold one-on-one visits with their children and teach them gospel principles.
- Fathers should teach children the value of work and help them set worthy goals.
- Fathers should set an example of faithful gospel service.
“Please remember, brethren,” he said, “your sacred calling as a father in Israel —your most important calling in time and eternity — a calling from which you are never released.”
In an address from April 2015 General Conference, Sister Linda K. Burton, then-Relief Society general president, spoke on the effect a worthy priesthood holding husband and father has on his home.
“I am convinced that a husband is never more attractive to his wife than when he is serving in his God-given roles as a worthy priesthood holder — most important in the home.”
Sister Burton emphasized the power worthy priesthood holders have when she quoted from President Boyd K. Packer: “You have the power of the priesthood directly from the Lord to protect your home. There will be times when all that stands as a shield between your family and the adversary’s mischief will be that power.”
Larry M. Gibson, former first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, gave an address on fatherhood in April 2015 General Conference in which he spoke of an experience he had with his son.
Gibson and his two sons did a 50/20, a 50 mile walk in 20 hours. When they returned home they were exhausted. Gibson checked on one of his sons while he was resting and asked if he was all right. His son expressed it was the hardest thing he’d ever done and he would never do it again unless his future son wanted to do it.
Expressing his love for this son, Gibson emphasized that his son would be a better father than he could ever be because his son understood the role of a father long before being one.
Gibson said:“Every day you are teaching your children what it means to be a father. You are laying a foundation for the next generation. Your sons will learn how to be husbands and fathers by observing the way you fulfill these roles.”