Traditions of the Fathers

“Traditions of the Fathers,” Eternal Marriage Student Manual (2003), 337–41


Selected Teachings

Elder Marion D. Hanks

“The first definition of ‘tradition’ in a modern dictionary is: ‘The knowledge, doctrines, customs, practices, etc., transmitted from generation to generation. …’” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1968, 116).

Maintaining Righteous Traditions

Exodus 20:12

“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

1 Nephi 1:1

“I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father.”

1 Nephi 3:19

“And behold, it is wisdom in God that we should obtain these records, that we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers.”

1 Nephi 5:21

“And we had obtained the records which the Lord had commanded us, and searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us, insomuch that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children.”

2 Nephi 25:26

“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”

Enos 1:1, 3

“Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it. …

“Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.”

Doctrine and Covenants 68:25

“And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.”

Doctrine and Covenants 93:40

“But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.”

Examples of False Traditions

1 Peter 1:18

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers.”

Mosiah 10:12

“They were a wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, believing in the tradition of their fathers.”

Mosiah 26:1

“Now it came to pass that there were many of the rising generation that … did not believe the tradition of their fathers.”

Alma 9:8

“Behold, O ye wicked and perverse generation, how have ye forgotten the tradition of your fathers; yea, how soon ye have forgotten the commandments of God.”

Alma 60:32

“It is the tradition of their fathers that has caused their hatred.”

Doctrine and Covenants 93:39

“And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.”

President Ezra Taft Benson

“The ‘tradition of their fathers’ refers, of course, to the bad examples and teachings of fathers” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1981, 47; or Ensign, May 1981, 35).

Overcoming False Traditions

Matthew 10:37

“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

Mosiah 25:12

“And it came to pass that those who were the children of Amulon and his brethren, … were displeased with the conduct of their fathers, and they would no longer be called by the names of their fathers, therefore they took upon themselves the name of Nephi, that they might be called the children of Nephi.”

Alma 3:11

“And it came to pass that whosoever would not believe in the tradition of the Lamanites, but believed those records which were brought out of the land of Jerusalem, and also in the tradition of their fathers, which were correct, who believed in the commandments of God and kept them, were called the Nephites.”

Alma 37:9

“Yea, I say unto you, were it not for these things that these records do contain, which are on these plates, Ammon and his brethren could not have convinced so many thousands of the Lamanites of the incorrect tradition of their fathers; yea, these records and their words brought them unto repentance.”

Helaman 15:4

“But behold my brethren, the Lamanites hath he hated because their deeds have been evil continually, and this because of the iniquity of the tradition of their fathers. But behold, salvation hath come unto them through the preaching of the Nephites; and for this intent hath the Lord prolonged their days.”

Elder Boyd K. Packer

“To you adults who repeat the pattern of neglect and abuse you endured as little children, believing that you are entrapped in a cycle of behavior from which there is no escape, I say:

“It is contrary to the order of heaven for any soul to be locked into compulsive, immoral behavior with no way out!

“It is consistent with the workings of the adversary to deceive you into believing that you are.

“I gratefully acknowledge that transgressions, even those which affect little children, yield to sincere repentance. I testify with all my soul that the doctrine of repentance is true and has a miraculous, liberating effect upon behavior.

“To you innocent ones who have not transgressed, but were abused as little children and still carry an undeserved burden of guilt, I say:

“Learn true doctrine—repentance and forgiveness; lay that burden of guilt down!

“For we are all children of the same Heavenly Father. May not each of his children, of any age, claim the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and in so doing, through complete repentance, be cleansed and renewed to childlike innocence?” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 21–22; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 18).