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President Russell M. Nelson has been addressing us for years as an apostle and prophet. But did you know that the first time he spoke in General Conference was in 1968 while he was the President of the Bonneville Stake?
At the women’s session of General Conference this month, he spoke of the powerful role women play in the Church and at home. In October of 1968, he spoke of the importance of fathers. He started by speaking about order in the home: “Our home is in order when we are always ready for a visit from the Lord, our bishop, or our home teacher, and when there is never a word of disloyalty expressed about our Church leaders.”
He counseled the men to care for the welfare of their wives more than their own: “Do you see that she has opportunity for her self-improvement? … [D]o you know what she wants most from you? Your companionship, your courtesies, and your communication.”
He said it is important for us to exercise our physical bodies. But he asked, “How much better it would be for two hearts and their love affair if we could alter the slogan ‘Run for your life’ to “Walk with your wife.’”
He admonished men to honor their priesthood by leading their families in prayer and by exercising priesthood authority “in gentleness, love, and righteousness.”
Furthermore, he counseled that even as men have fathered the bodies of their children, they must father the faith of their children. They can do this first by helping children to feel secure and loved at home: “Family love is nurtured in home evenings and vacations together.” He also encouraged men to foster patriotism in their children: “As they practice the principles of righteousness, they will grow to leaven the governments of the world with their leadership.” He next suggested fostering faith in God by comparing the amazing creations of man with the even more amazing creations of God. Finally, “we should father their faith in the gospel and in the future. We live in a changing world full of chaos, upheaval, and unrest. As your youth have been taught light and truth in the eternal verities that never change, they will have an anchor to steady them and a standard of reference against which all new hypothesis may be evaluated.”
The insight and wisdom of a future prophet were evident in these inspired words from fifty years ago. The guidance President Nelson offered to men then is still relevant and serves as an important companion message to the one our prophet delivered this month to the women of the Church.