Every child needs a dad, even though each of us has a biological father. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we place the highest esteem on the use of the title: Father – as this is how we address our Father in Heaven. Here in mortality, I believe, that sacred designation is earned after one has proven himself a to be a Dad and for most this doesn’t come easy. It’s a lifelong journey of commitment (an inherent covenant), that begins at the birth of a child. This journey then, takes on the rigors of raising the child and continues through adulthood and ultimately till the end of days – never.
“The Lord’s plan of salvation requires that you pass through trials in this mortal life. Those trials seem to be greatest when you reach fatherhood, but be assured—fatherhood, in a sense, is an apprenticeship to godhood.”
~ The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Father Consider Your Ways“, Ensign, June, 2002
As we honor the dads in our lives on Father’s Day, I submit that it is in the doing of those things which “dads” do, that compels us to honor him, as Father.
Here in mortality there is no perfect dad. Not mine; not yours. Little children are oh-so forgiving and tend to love their imperfect dads without guile. I think Heavenly Father planned it this way. What dad doesn’t melt at the love freely offered by his children when surely he often feels undeserving? Pretty much every dad who is present in the lives of his children (both physically and emotionally) and loves them to the best of his ability, and consistently, earns the high honor of father on Father’s Day! I say “young children” and “consistently” – the consistence will ensure that your teens will hang in there with you even after those tough years. Trust me.
To men everywhere who have fathered children or will in the future: your children need you enough that God has proclaimed through latter-day prophets, that you are to be a dad and not just a biological father. (Well, maybe not quite like that.) A close reading of The Family: A Proclamation to the World teaches what I like to call the sacred Dad Doctrine.
THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. 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. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
“The Dad Doctrine”
(Extracted from Family Proclamation)
Have children within the bonds of marriage – as God has ordained.
Honor marital vows with complete fidelity.
Teach your family the Gospel of Jesus Christ and live it.
Practice and teach to your family the principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, and work.
Enjoy wholesome recreational activities together.
Financially provide for the necessities of your family and ensure their physical protection.
Do all things in love and righteousness.
Your wife is co-parent with you, and together you are to accomplish the work of the family; counsel together in all things.
Lastly, let’s not forget the many good men who either through adoption or having become a step-parent, literally “step-up” to the plate and take on this most sacred role for a child, or children, in need.
Dads, we love you and need you. Thanks for all you do to bless our lives.
Happy Father’s Day!
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