Latter-day Prophets Speak: Righteous Fathers in the Home


Brigham Young (1801–77)

Second President of the Church

“Let the husband and father learn to bend his will to the will of his God, and then instruct his [wife] and children in this lesson of self-government by his example as well as by precept, and his neighbors also, showing them how to be brave and steadfast, in subduing the rebellious and sinful disposition. Such a course as this will eventually subdue that unhallowed influence which works upon the human heart” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1954], 198).

Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918)

Sixth President of the Church

“Brethren, there is too little religious devotion, love, and fear of God, in the home; too much worldliness, selfishness, indifference, and lack of reverence in the family, or it never would exist so abundantly on the outside. Then, the home is what needs reforming. Try today, and tomorrow, to make a change in your home. … Do not let your children out to specialists in these things, but teach them by your own precept and example, by your own fireside. Be a specialist yourself in the truth” (“Worship in the Home,” Improvement Era, Dec. 1903, 138).

Harold B. Lee (1899–1973)

Eleventh President of the Church

“A father may have to discipline his child, but he should never do it in anger. He must show forth an increase of love thereafter, lest that one so reproved were to esteem him to be an enemy (see D&C 121:43). The Lord forbid the feeling of a child that his father or mother is an enemy” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, ed. Clyde J. Williams [1996], 279).

Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985)

Twelfth President of the Church

“A child leaving to go away to school or on a mission, a wife suffering stress, a family member being married or desiring guidance in making an important decision—all these are situations in which the father, in exercise of his patriarchal responsibility, can bless his family” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 506).

Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994)

Thirteenth President of the Church

“Fatherhood is not a matter of station or wealth; it is a matter of desire, diligence, and determination to see one’s family exalted in the celestial kingdom. If that prize is lost, nothing else really matters” (“Great Things Required of Their Fathers,” Ensign, May 1981, 36).

Howard W. Hunter (1907–95)

Fourteenth President of the Church

“Effective family leadership, brethren, requires both quantity and quality time. The teaching and governance of the family must not be left to your wife alone, to society, to school, or even the Church. … We encourage you, brethren, to remember that priesthood is a righteous authority only. Earn the respect and confidence of your children through your loving relationship with them. … Tell your children you love them” (“Being a Righteous Husband and Father,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 50–51).

Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–)

Fifteenth President of the Church

“Let us deal in kindness and with appreciation with those for whom the Lord will hold us accountable. I never get over the depth of meaning of the words President McKay often quoted: ‘The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother’” [see Richard Evans’ Quote Book (1971), 11] (“Reach Out in Love and Kindness,” Ensign, Nov. 1982, 77).