News Story

Faith Influences Vision of Fatherhood

Canadian fathers who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints explain how their faith in Jesus Christ shapes their understanding of manhood and fatherhood.

Tom Stringham of Toronto, Ontario, says the gospel teaches him “what it is to be a human, what it means to be a man and how men and women are meant to relate to each other.” Stringham explains that the gospel pushes him to focus on his responsibilities as a husband and father rather than on expectations of what his spouse and children owe him.

President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency has taught: “Our Savior gave Himself in unselfish service. He taught that each of us should follow Him by denying ourselves of selfish interests in order to serve others” (“Unselfish Service,” Apr. 2009 general conference).

Rob Clendenning of Toronto, Ontario, converted to the Church while blending a family of three biological children and two stepchildren. Through his newfound faith in Jesus Christ, he has gained an understanding of the eternal nature of fatherhood. He says he has discovered the “sacred, enduring and timeless relationship between the past and the future.” He adds that because the scriptures and stories told in the Church are “echoes of fathers before us,” he has learned how “fatherhood can be a role that men can aspire to … and pass along.”

Al Landingin of Nova Scotia sees fatherhood as a sacred responsibility to care for, support and love his children. He describes his two young sons, AJ and Abrams, as his “anchor and inspiration to pursue daily and to aim eagerly to be worthy of being with them even in the eternities.”

“Fatherhood requires sacrifice,” explained Elder D. Todd Christopherson in 2016. “It is a source of incomparable satisfaction, even joy” (“Fathers,” Apr. 2016 general conference).

Mike Quatrale of Etobicoke, Ontario, a busy professional, reflects on the great responsibility of fatherhood: “Children come with their own special needs and challenges. My faith in and understanding of Jesus Christ shows me His example of unconditional love and patience and teaches me to be a better father.”

Diego Mendieta, also of Etobicoke, relishes his relationship with his children. Mendieta says, “Being a parent requires a lot, but it gives you so much in return. It is priceless to be with my kids. There is something so meaningful that happens when they tell you they love you or give you a hug. I love that, and when it comes from them, I get more back than what I give.”

God is the perfect model of a loving father. He has entrusted men with the sacred duty of fatherhood.

Elder Alain L. Allard, North America Northeast Area Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, adds this Father’s Day message:

“All fathers may receive divine help as they work to care for the well-being of their family. This help will come sometimes in simple ways and other times in significant fashion. I remember one of these simple ways. Having to run some errands, I took our youngest daughter, then five years old, with me. As I sat her in her childseat she asked me a question I was not expecting from a little being: ‘Dad, why do we need to be good persons?’ Surprised by her question, I asked her to let me think about it, and I would answer her later. How do you answer that question for a five-year-old?

“After we finished our tasks and we were walking hand in hand to our car, she followed up with me: ‘Dad, have you thought about my question?’ I answered with a two-fold response that quickly came to mind. First, I explained we want to be good and do the right thing because God asked us to do so. He is counting on us to help Him help other people. Secondly, when we are good people, it makes us feel happy. These simple answers appeared to satisfy her. I believe our Father in Heaven really cares about us and wants to bless all fathers in our roles, and He does.

“I extend blessings to all fathers as we strive to care for our families spiritually and temporally. May we receive courage to endure any difficulties life brings and persevere on our path to be good persons.”

Fathers play a crucial role in the lives of their children. As Father’s Day provides an opportunity to honour all those who seek to fulfill the divine trust of fatherhood, take time to celebrate the fathers in your life.

Contributed by Fashion Chavez Rabe

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