Elder Holland stresses importance of fathers

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    By ALYSHA BAXLEY

    The greatest thing required at the hand of a father is to do all he can do for the happiness and spiritual safety of his children, said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in the Saturday morning session of the 169th General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Elder Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said the relationship between our Heavenly Father and his perfect son Christ exemplifies the beauty of the atonement. He said it is one of the sweetest themes of Christ’s ministry on Earth, and each earthly father should follow the example of our eternal father and develop such a relationship between himself and his children.

    “Jesus’ entire being, his complete purpose and delight, were centered in pleasing his father and obeying his will,” Elder Holland said. “Unlike us, he needed no crisis, no discouraging shift in events to direct his hopes heavenward. He was already instinctively, longingly looking that way.”

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    Elder Holland Sat. a.m

    Elder Holland stressed that beyond children looking to their parents as Christ looked to his father, it is just as important — if not more — for fathers to turn their hearts to their children as Heavenly Father did to Christ.

    It was an equal, great love that allowed the Father and the Son to go through the sacrifice of Christ for the sins of all God’s children, Elder Holland said.

    “I am eternally grateful for a perfect Father and his perfect son,” Elder Holland said, “neither of whom shrank from the bitter cup nor forsook the rest of us who are imperfect, who fall short and stumble, who too often miss the mark.”

    Elder Holland said every father can yearn for and develop this kind of love in himself and work to establish this pure relationship of trust and humility between himself and each son and daughter.

    Quoting a young Laurel he had met with at an earlier time, Elder Holland said the easiest way to begin developing this type relationship with children is to just be there for them.

    “I wish my dad knew how much I need him spiritually and emotionally … I don’t think he knows how much it would mean to me to have him take an active interest in what is going on in my life, to offer to give me a blessing or just spend some time together,” she said.

    Elder Holland said earthly fathers need only follow the example of their own eternal father; walking in his footsteps will lead them to the type of relationship all fathers should yearn for.

    “And, brethren, even when we are not ‘the best of men,’ even in our limitations and inadequacy, we can keep making our way in the right direction because of the encouraging teachings set forth by a Divine Father and demonstrated by a Divine Son,” Elder Holland said. “With a Heavenly Father’s help, we can leave more of a parental legacy than we suppose.”

    Elder Holland urged in his closing remarks that fathers restore their commitment to their children and “be renewed in our task as parents, bolstered by images of this Father and this Son as we embrace our children and stand with them forever.”

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