Like Father, Like Son


When Dad changed in a big way, so did my feelings for him.

When I was young, my mother was the only member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in our family. Each Sunday she would go to church alone because my dad wanted his children to go to the Methodist Church. But my dad didn’t go to church at all.

Things changed in 1989. I was baptized, and within two months, my dad was baptized as well. He later became my bishop.

It was an amazing change for my dad, and I remember it very well. I now want to be like him. Here’s why.

Before my dad became a Church member, he was doing all the bad things of the world. He drank all the time. I saw my dad drunk. I saw him smoke. He just stayed home and watched TV. We weren’t very happy.

It’s totally different now. He’s very calm, and he talks to me about incorporating the teachings of the gospel into my life. Every night before we have our evening prayers, he talks to all of us about the gospel and its importance.

Before, we used to try to have evening prayers, but my dad wouldn’t participate. He didn’t seem to care. But now he makes it a priority that we all gather together each night to thank Heavenly Father.

It’s been great to see the changes in my family that the Church has brought. I know if my dad had gone on as he was before—smoking and drinking—I might have followed his example and felt that those were things I should do. And he couldn’t have told me to stop because he was doing them too.

But he’s a member of the Church, and because he lived that other life, he knows that it won’t bring me happiness.

My dad also stresses that since I’m the oldest son, my younger brothers and younger sister are looking up to me. He says they will follow me and I need to be a good example so they will follow me in righteousness. That’s what I’m trying to do.

It’s been a real blessing to me to have a father who honors the priesthood. He always talks to me about the priesthood before I give a talk or bless the sacrament. He reminds me that I’m a priesthood holder and that I should be thankful for the priesthood because not all men have it.

So many teenagers here in Western Samoa drink and smoke and do things they shouldn’t. My dad’s example is like a protection to me.

With my dad leading the way, it’s so much easier to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. And for that I’m grateful.

[photos] Photography by Laury Livsey and Lana Leishman