LDS Church leaders share tales of fatherhood

Published: Thursday, June 13 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

President Thomas S. Monson speaks at the morning session of the 183rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2013.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

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Leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have long stressed the importance of fathers in the family. This Father's Day, read a small collection of stories from church leaders about lessons they have learned from their fathers or their own adventures in fatherhood.

Learn to be compassionate

As a young boy, President Thomas S. Monson often accompanied his father to visit his uncle Elias. Elias was elderly and plagued with crippling arthritis, but he loved to take drives through the city. President Monson remembers seeing his father carry his frail uncle to the car for a weekly ride.

“The drive was brief and the conversation limited, but oh, what a legacy of love!” President Monson recalled. “Father never read to me from the Bible about the good Samaritan. Rather, he took me with him and uncle Elias in that old 1928 Oldsmobile and provided a living lesson I have always remembered.”

— President Thomas S. Monson, "President Thomas S. Monson: In the Footsteps of the Master"

Follow your passions

President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency is the son of the renowned scientist, Henry Eyring. As a scientist, Henry Eyring encouraged his sons to study science, but after his eldest son asked for help on a complex math problem it became clear science was not his son's path.

“My father was at a blackboard we kept in the basement,” President Eyring recalled. “Suddenly he stopped. ‘Hal,’ he said, ‘we were working this same kind of problem a week ago. You don’t seem to understand it any better now than you did then. Haven’t you been working on it?’”

President Eyring admitted he did not.

“You don’t understand,” his father said. “When you walk down the street, when you’re in the shower, when you don’t have to be thinking about anything else, isn’t this what you think about?”

“When I told him no,” President Eyring continued, “my father paused. It was really a very tender and poignant moment, because I knew how much he loved me and how much he wanted me to be a scientist. Then he said, ‘Hal, I think you’d better get out of physics. You ought to find something that you love so much that when you don’t have to think about anything, that’s what you think about.’”

President Eyring went on to get a master's and Ph.D. in business from Harvard and taught at Stanford and Rick's College.

— President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, Ensign September 1995.

Persevere through times of trial

When President Dieter F. Uchtdorf was 11 years old, his family were refugees in West German.

"To this day, I am deeply impressed by the way my family worked after having lost everything following World War II! I remember my father — a civil servant by education and experience — taking on several difficult jobs, among which were coal miner, uranium miner, mechanic and truck driver. He left early in the morning and often returned late at night in order to support our family. ...

"It wasn’t easy, but the work kept us from dwelling too much on the difficulties of our circumstances. Although our situation didn’t change overnight, it did change. That’s the thing about work. If we simply keep at it — steady and constant — things certainly will improve."

— President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, "Two Principles for Any Economy"

Take time to play

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