Elder Tuttle’s talk at the October 1973 General Conference makes good reading. The Role of Fathers, it is called.

It is wonderful to read unvarnished truths from a time when the enemy camp we live in wasn’t quite so hostile to their free expression.

Properly organized in the Church, the father is the patriarch of an eternal family unit. Heaven, to us, will be simply an extension of an ideal home.

Read the whole thing, of course, but I particularly recommend the discussion on how the man and the woman combine their different strengths to make their home a celestial haven:

The father is the protector of the home. He guards it against the intrusion of evil from without. Formerly he protected his home with weapons and shuttered windows. Today the task is more complex. Barred doors and windows protect only against the intrusion of a corporeal creature. It is not an easy thing to protect one’s family against intrusions of evil into the minds and spirits of family members. These influences can and do flow freely into the home. Satan can subtly beguile the children of men in ways we have already mentioned in this conference. He need not break down the door.
. . .
It is an unwise father who carries to his family his daily business cares. They disturb the peace existing there. He should leave his worries at the office and enter his home with the spirit of peace in his heart and with the love of God burning within him. If there is friction, his presence should soothe it. If there is turmoil, he should resolve it.

I have a friend, a businessman in this city, who does special ordinance work in the temple. One day I passed him on the street and asked where he was going. “I’m going to the temple. Inside those thick walls, in the quiet serenity of that lovely building,” he said, “I find peace.” Then he added, “There is only one other place in the world where I can find peace—in my own home.” What a compliment to his wife! What a compliment to his children! What a credit to him. This should be the ideal for all fathers—to so live that we can find peace in our homes.

The father is a damping rod when the nuclear family reactions get out of whack. He is also the defender. The mother, meanwhile, makes the home a welcoming place where there is a visible air of transition–and for this role of the mothers, the return of the father is an important Sorelian myth, even for her.

One passing comment caught my eye. It’s from a summary of kids’ essays about their fathers:

“I like my daddy, … he built my doll house, took me coasting, taught me to shoot, helps with my schoolwork, takes me to the park, gave me a pig to fatten and sell.”

Too many of us, when we aim to achieve a celestial home, aim to achieve something like the celestial room. The celestial room is a symbol, not an instruction manual. The real heaven is louder and cheerier and more active. Our homes are the more celestial when there is activity going on. A family cannot resist the devil purely defensively. There needs to be some active principle that pervades the house. Love needs to be expressed and incarnated in something, whether it is in coasting or reading books to the kids or in a wholesome productive activity like enlisting the kid to fatten the pig.

Clean rooms defend themselves by overpressure. The air pressure in the room is higher than that outside, so if there are leaks, outside air cannot come in because the inside air is pushing out.

Those who are besieged stand off the siege when they do not wait passively for the assault. They are busy stocking up on oil, preparing a warm reception, strengthening the fortifications–and sallying out day and night.

Fatten the pig.

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