Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mormon Messages: Fathers And Sons, Latter-Day Saint Perspectives On Father's Day

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints considers the father to be the patriarch or "president" of the family. But although he rules over his kids, he rules alongside his wife. The mother is a "queen" rather than a subject, even though only men get the Priesthood. But with the "extra" status as president of the family comes extra responsibilities and accountability, as spelled out in Doctrine & Covenants 121:36-37:

36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

Thus if a man uses his Priesthood or patriarchy to abuse his family, the "extra" advantages are immediately cancelled and he is left to his own strength until such time as he makes it right and brings himself back into harmony with the Holy Spirit.

The video embedded below, from the Mormon Messages Channel, documents a boy's struggle to re-kindle his flagging relationship with his father. The father is actually the boy's stepfather; because he and the boy had different interests, they grew apart. But after hearing counsel from M. Russell Ballard, he took action to restore the relationship with his father -- and his father also took some helpful steps:

Elder Ballard urged youth to take three steps to optimize their relationships with their fathers:

(1). Trust your father.
(2). Take an interest in your father's life.
(3). Ask your father for advice.

This is actually part of an address delivered by Elder Ballard at the priesthood session of the 179th Semiannual General Conference held in October 2009. Read the full transcript HERE.

Other less-official LDS perspectives on Father's Day are posted on the Bloggernacle. Some of the more pertinent accounts:

-- Father’s Day: Don’t Men Have Anything Better to Do?, Mormon Mentality. Cites a myriad of statistics from Rasmussen Reports on how people observe Father's Day

-- Father’s Day Reflections, Mormon Matters. Hawkgrrrl opines about Father's Day through the perspective of "kokology", a Japanese parlour game of self-discovery in which you are presented with various scenarios that reveal your deeper-held feelings about whatever the scenario truly represents. Not really into such esoteric pursuits as kokology, but the post may be of interest to some readers.

-- My Father’s Day Sermon, Feminist Mormon Housewives. This is a most insightful post. Reece Dixon, a self-described "feminist" who remains faithful to the LDS Church, presented the text of a Father's Day talk she delivered at her local ward. This post is extremely valuable because it is presented from the perspective of someone who had a abusive relationship with her father earlier in life. Celebrations of Father's Day can rankle in the souls of those who were abused by their fathers; Dixon finds a reasonably diplomatic way to deal with it.

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