Sunday morning session: Fathers' role in anchoring families
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Satan, in his carefully designed plan to destroy the family, seeks to diminish the role of fathers, said Elder L. Tom Perry Sunday morning.
"Increased youth violence, youth crimes, greater poverty and economic insecurity, and the failure of increasing numbers of children in our schools offer clear evidence of lack of a positive influence of fathers in the homes," said Elder Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve. "A family needs a father to anchor it."
Speaking on the topic, "Fatherhood, an Eternal Calling," Elder Perry said that to him it appears the cross-hairs of Satan's scope are centered on husbands and fathers.
"Today the media, for example, have been relentless in their attacks ridiculing and demeaning husbands, fathers and their God-given roles."
Given warnings about the future of children on earth and the conditions of the world they live in, fathers and mothers must search their souls to be certain they are following the Lord's direction in building up eternal families, Elder Perry said. The Lord expects certain things of fathers, he added.
The father is the head of his family. "Fatherhood is leadership the most important kind of leadership. It has always been so; it always will be so. Father, with the assistance and counsel and encouragement of your eternal companion, you preside in the home. It is not a matter of whether you are the most worthy or best qualified, but it is a matter of divine appointment."
Elder Perry also told fathers that their leadership in the home must include leading the family in worship.
"Remember, brethren, that in your role as leader of your family, your wife is your companion. . . . There is not a president and vice president in a family. We have co-presidents working together eternally for the good of their family.
"They are united together in word, in deed, and in action, as they lead, guide and direct their family unit. They are on equal footing. They plan and organize the affairs of the family jointly and unanimously as they move forward."
The father is a teacher. Quoting President David O. McKay, Elder Perry said, "When you recognize the importance of teaching your children, you become humble, because at once you realize that this is accomplished by precept and example. You cannot be one thing and effectively teach another. You must live and study and pray for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. You must purify and organize your life so that your example and leadership reflect the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ in your life."
The father is the temporal provider. "President Ezra Taft Benson expressed this clearly: 'The Lord has charged men with the responsibility to provide for their families in such a way that the wife is allowed to fulfill her role as mother in the home. . . . Sometimes the mother works outside of the home at the encouragement, or even insistence, of her husband . . . (for the) conveniences that the extra income can buy."
When this happens, Elder Perry said, the family will suffer.
Fathers, by divine decree, are to head their family units, he added.
"This is a sobering responsibility and the most important one you will ever assume, for it is an eternal responsibility. You place the family in its proper priority. It's the part of your life that will endure beyond the grave."
Concluding, Elder Perry asked the worldwide congregation to heed the voice of the prophets who, from the beginning of time, have warned about the importance of fathers in the home. "May we determine more fully to fulfill our duties and responsibilities that the Lord has given to us as fathers in Zion," he said.