In the April 1993 General Conference, Elder James E. Faust of the Quorum of the Twelve delivered a talk on fatherhood entitled, ‘Father, Come Home.’ In it, he expounds upon the importance of fathers in the lives of their children, both temporally and spiritually.
Elder Faust begins by affirming his belief of the sanctity of womanhood and the divine role of motherhood. As he speaks of fathers, it is apparent he does not wish anyone to misunderstand his feelings on their opposites. “The influence of a mother in the lives of her children is beyond calculation,” he states. But “it is useless to debate which parent is most important.” Both are necessities for their children’s development.
He then speaks of the disintegration in the home. Studies have revealed that many of the behavioral problems in society, such as crime, poverty, and drug abuse, relate strongly to whether or not a father is present in the home. A father is needed to provide not only physical support, but also emotional and spiritual care.
President Faust refers to several scriptures in the Doctrine and Covenants that refer to the claim wives and children have upon the father. A father helps to develop his child’s spiritual welfare. He speaks of the priesthood and the blessings it brings, then states that “(h)olding the priesthood means following the example of Christ and seeking to emulate his example of fatherhood. It means constant concern and caring for one’s own flesh and blood.” In holding the priesthood, husbands and fathers are to cherish their wives and children.
He then discusses covenant breaking, or divorce. While he refuses to state what might constitute “just cause” for divorce, he quite adamantly states what is not: ‘mental distress,’ ‘personality differences,’ ‘falling out of love’ or ‘having grown apart’ are not reasons for abandoning ones family. Husbands and wives should strive to grow together.
President Faust provides an interesting point on the coming of Elijah. Usually, we think of him in terms of temple sealings, but the scriptures state that he will turn the hearts of children and fathers towards one another. “This sealing power thus reveals itself in family relationships, in attributes and virtues developed in a nurturing environment, and in loving service. These are the cords that bind families together, and the priesthood advances their development.”
This was a wonderful talk on fatherhood, and the role fathers play in their families. We often hear accolades of women and motherhood, and sometimes I think that fathers get a shorter stick. But President Faust reminds us that fathers are equally important in their children’s lives, and teach them a great deal. In my life, I know my children watch and learn from their father, and I am grateful that he is a righteous priesthood holder they can look up to.