Reporting to Father

By President N. Eldon Tanner

1st Counselor in the First Presidency

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    One day my father, who was bishop of our ward, left my brother and me to do some work. We thought he would be gone for a long time doing his church work. But he returned sooner than we had expected and found us riding calves.

    When he called us over, I will never forget how he looked at me and said, “My boy, I thought I could depend on you!”

    That was a great lesson, a severe punishment, to me. I decided then that neither he nor anyone else would ever have reason to say that again to me as long as I lived.

    I remember so well how my father would talk to the Lord when he used to call us together for family prayer. He didn’t just say a few words and then send us off to the fields. Instead he knelt with us and told the Lord about some of our weaknesses and some of our problems where we had failed.

    “Eldon didn’t do exactly what he should have done today. We are sorry that he made this mistake. Kindly forgive him, and we feel sure, Heavenly Father, that he will try to do what is right. Let thy Spirit be with him and bless him so that he can be a good boy.”

    In the mornings Father used to pray, “Let thy blessings attend us as we go about our duties so that we may do what is right and return tonight to make a report.” This always gave us greater strength to meet and overcome temptations for we knew that we would be reporting to the Lord at night.

    I am going to report to the Lord tonight, I used to think. And this thought helped me to live a better life during the day.

    I am grateful that my father taught me to pray and to be dependable. Today when my family and I kneel together, we know we are praying to a personal God who is interested in us, who will hear and answer our prayers, and who has given us the gospel that can lead to eternal life.