I have thought long and hard about this article. In my mind, I began writing it months ago, but for various reasons it did not come together or progress well. Okay… To be honest… I had a problem with the article I could not seem to address—but more on that later.
Father’s Day is this week. I have always looked forward to this holiday. It gave me an opportunity to recognize my dad and tell him how much I love him. Though my father passed away more than a decade ago, I have been given the tender mercy of becoming a father and grandfather. That blessing gets better every day as I see my family grow and prosper, even through hardship.
Though I cannot share the joy of my family with my father today, I have many memories of the happiness and satisfaction he received from family. His commendations were frequent and sincere.
I miss him greatly, as all in the family do. And that leads to my reservation for writing this article. Like a sustaining kindness, we as a family have been given a tender mercy: the prophet Russell M Nelson, whose character and qualities remind me of my dad. His words and teachings about using the proper name of the Church and the emphasis on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ all remind me of Dad. So perhaps that was my hesitation for writing this article.
This realization came years prior to President Nelson serving in the position of prophet of the Church. I guess that I first realized this when he was called to the Quorum of the Twelve back in 1984. Now that he is president and prophet, some may feel it pretentious to compare my father to him. Maybe so, but I don’t think President Nelson would feel that way. I think he would say, “I am honored”—and my father would feel likewise.
I supposed that others might consider me proud or prideful to say that the prophet of God on Earth reminds me of my father. But then I realized that claim is not at all pretentious, especially when the truth is that hopefully our earthly fathers remind us of our Father in Heaven—the eternal “Father of heaven and earth.” It’s because of people like my dad, President Nelson, and countless other respectable men whom I love and admire that I anticipate a grand reunion when I return to my Father in Heaven and rekindle my specific memories of Him again.
We all have the good fortune of knowing more about our Father in Heaven as we learn about and come to love and adore the Savior Jesus Christ. He said many times that He and His Father are One. The Savior even applies the title and is sometimes referred to as the Father.
I supposed that if we want to come to know the Father, we need to learn about and know the Son. That is not just my idea. The Savior himself taught this principle to His disciples:
“If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. … He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:7,9).
When I had questions, I could always go to my father for advice and direction. That’s what fathers do. This is not unlike Philip, who was one day meeting with the Lord and asked to see the Father. The Savior’s response (as illustrated in the quote above) teaches us that He and His Father are one.
Christ specifically said to the brother of Jared:
“Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son.” (Ether 3:14)
Elder Robert D. Hales eloquently taught from the scriptures that “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
“When He came to the people on the American continent, His Father introduced Him, saying, ‘Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name.’ When Jesus descended among the people at the temple, He introduced Himself, saying: ‘Behold, I am Jesus Christ. … I have … glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world.’ When He taught His doctrine, He explained:
‘It is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me.’
‘Verily … the Father and I are one.'”
(Robert D. Hales, “Eternal Life—to Know Our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ,” October 2014)
Elder Hales then asks if we see a pattern in these scriptures that testifies of the Father and the Son as distinct individuals and beings. He explains that they are not one because they are the same person, but because they are unified in purpose, equally dedicated to bringing to pass their work and glory.
The scripture are full of examples and descriptions of the Father and the Son so that we might come to love and adore them. I always admired my father for showing respect and appreciation for the Savior.
Our Heavenly Father is not unknowable. He is not distant and unreachable. I expect that He is fun, caring, attentive, and uplifting… Just like my dad.
That knowledge doesn’t always compute until our loved ones (specifically our fathers) are gone—so tell them now that you love them.
Don’t hold back. Tell them now why you are grateful for them and their example.
Happy Father’s Day!
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.