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Father'S Day


Jeff K.

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As I sat there in sacrament and the bishop called my newly turned 16 year old son to be a priest, I couldn’t help but reminisce somewhat regarding my own youth. Now to many saints having a son turn 16 and become a priest is almost normal. It certainly does happen more often than not, especially in active families. But for me it is something different, or distinct. When I joined the church some 30 plus years ago, I joined in a small branch of the Appalachian Hills where baptisms were as rare as hens teeth. I also bucked the system in the sense that I was an emancipated youth living alone and the only person in my family that joined the church, or was even interested in the gospel. So I was baptized, alone.

As I said, the area, while biblically strong and called “the Bible belt”, the prevalent thought was to disdain Mormons, to consider them at best a “quirky” sect, and at worst (or the norm) a strange cult that should be shunned at all costs. Those living in such areas know a bit about the feeling of isolation from much of society for the choice of being a member. The hostility when parents of some of the young girls I dated asked which church the fine young man they were talking to attended. And the all too familiar looks on their faces when I told them I was a Mormon. There were maybe five of us in varying grades in my high school, but in a sense it made our small group closer. It is harder though when you don’t have a family that helps you maintain the faith.

A week after my baptism I was told that I would be ordained as a priest in the Aaronic priesthood. When I told my mother she was mortified (note to the LDS world, telling a non-member you are a priest or about to be one gives illumination to an extremely different light of context than we normally assume amongst ourselves). My father couldn’t care less, and my brothers ridiculed the idea. You have to shrug it off sometimes, family is family and there isn’t much you can do about that. So I was ordained by a man I did not know well, but respected and I became a priest in the Aaronic priesthood. All this went through my mind while I sat there and my rather tall boyish son walked up to the podium.

In a sense life has gone full circle, or rather spiraled in a unique direction. I am now a high priest, my son of 16 will be ordained by me and his family will be standing around him, they part of the covenant that goes with membership. They have experienced strong wards, good LDS friends, and while there are negative influences that wash upon his shore, they he has been a bit reviled by some in his high school for his support of the church, he and his friends have remained staunch and stalwart. He will have a father and a mother to support him and prepare him for his mission, sisters both older and younger that will teach him and a community in the ward that will focus on him and others in helping them mature in the gospel. Indeed, Jared makes me proud of his fearlessness in the gospel and seeking to do the right thing. He tries to help those around him and is often in turn supported by others in the ward.

So today, the boy convert who was set apart as a priest in a small branch some 30+ years ago is now the father of the man who has studied the gospel and is actively preparing for his mission. As I put my hands upon his head, I will pray for the inspiration to bestow a blessing upon him that is worthy of the moment and the gratitude I feel. Very much now, more than anytime previous in my life, I will see the gift of my son’s life and how it will be different and, in some ways, the same as my own. How strange and how wonderful this gift is for me, how wonderful God’s will is manifest in the world around me.

I can’t help but be grateful for this moment and for the family I have around me.

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As I sat there in sacrament and the bishop called my newly turned 16 year old son to be a priest, I couldn’t help but reminisce somewhat regarding my own youth. Now to many saints having a son turn 16 and become a priest is almost normal. It certainly does happen more often than not, especially in active families. But for me it is something different, or distinct. When I joined the church some 30 plus years ago, I joined in a small branch of the Appalachian Hills where baptisms were as rare as hens teeth. I also bucked the system in the sense that I was an emancipated youth living alone and the only person in my family that joined the church, or was even interested in the gospel. So I was baptized, alone.

As I said, the area, while biblically strong and called “the Bible belt”, the prevalent thought was to disdain Mormons, to consider them at best a “quirky” sect, and at worst (or the norm) a strange cult that should be shunned at all costs. Those living in such areas know a bit about the feeling of isolation from much of society for the choice of being a member. The hostility when parents of some of the young girls I dated asked which church the fine young man they were talking to attended. And the all too familiar looks on their faces when I told them I was a Mormon. There were maybe five of us in varying grades in my high school, but in a sense it made our small group closer. It is harder though when you don’t have a family that helps you maintain the faith.

A week after my baptism I was told that I would be ordained as a priest in the Aaronic priesthood. When I told my mother she was mortified (note to the LDS world, telling a non-member you are a priest or about to be one gives illumination to an extremely different light of context than we normally assume amongst ourselves). My father couldn’t care less, and my brothers ridiculed the idea. You have to shrug it off sometimes, family is family and there isn’t much you can do about that. So I was ordained by a man I did not know well, but respected and I became a priest in the Aaronic priesthood. All this went through my mind while I sat there and my rather tall boyish son walked up to the podium.

In a sense life has gone full circle, or rather spiraled in a unique direction. I am now a high priest, my son of 16 will be ordained by me and his family will be standing around him, they part of the covenant that goes with membership. They have experienced strong wards, good LDS friends, and while there are negative influences that wash upon his shore, they he has been a bit reviled by some in his high school for his support of the church, he and his friends have remained staunch and stalwart. He will have a father and a mother to support him and prepare him for his mission, sisters both older and younger that will teach him and a community in the ward that will focus on him and others in helping them mature in the gospel. Indeed, Jared makes me proud of his fearlessness in the gospel and seeking to do the right thing. He tries to help those around him and is often in turn supported by others in the ward.

So today, the boy convert who was set apart as a priest in a small branch some 30+ years ago is now the father of the man who has studied the gospel and is actively preparing for his mission. As I put my hands upon his head, I will pray for the inspiration to bestow a blessing upon him that is worthy of the moment and the gratitude I feel. Very much now, more than anytime previous in my life, I will see the gift of my son’s life and how it will be different and, in some ways, the same as my own. How strange and how wonderful this gift is for me, how wonderful God’s will is manifest in the world around me.

I can’t help but be grateful for this moment and for the family I have around me.

Congratulations and Happy Father's Day!

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You know blueadept I actually thought of you during that moment. I know how much you wanted to make your marriage work, and how much you would have enjoyed sharing those moments, whether among Catholic or Latter-day Saint, the feeling is special, a moment of thoughtful contemplation of some of the hidden treasures of fatherhood. I can only hope you found what I did in that moment for my son.

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You know blueadept I actually thought of you during that moment. I know how much you wanted to make your marriage work, and how much you would have enjoyed sharing those moments, whether among Catholic or Latter-day Saint, the feeling is special, a moment of thoughtful contemplation of some of the hidden treasures of fatherhood. I can only hope you found what I did in that moment for my son.

Those are special moments that we look back upon as fathers that we are simply overwhelmed by. I also think of my LDS friends that I've come to respect and hope they find those hidden treasures of fatherhood that I've experienced much like you have.

I've experienced something similiar in regards to my girls recent Confirmations. Some kids go through the process and that's all it is. Or they go through it just because of their parents or whatever. But there is always a few who get Confirmed and you know are Spirit-driven whom you don't question if they accepted Christ for themselves. I'm fortunate (and been told by many) that my girls fall into the latter category. I had two different Spirit-driven approaches for both of them but it seemed to work and I was able to experience the hidden treasure you spoke of.

Awesome stuff.

BTW, I recently watched the youtube story of Glen Becks journey to the LDS church....Awesome stuff. :yahoo: I was particularly moved in how his kids were part of that journey that helped him and his wife in their journey with Christ. Cool stuff.

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I have been to a few confirmations and while some were perfunctionary, others were very spiritual and you knew the kids felt the solemnity of the occasion. What was even better was watching the parents as their eyes brimmed with joy at seeing their children grow in understanding of what is important and spiritual. Those are choice moments I agree. I am very glad you have that experience in your life. It makes fatherhood that much more special.

I have never seen Glenn Becks utube story, I will have to take a look at it sometime.

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The day you confer upon him the Melchizedek priesthood and ordain him an elder will be even better.

The day you escort him through the temple will be even better.

The day you drop him off at the MTC will be even better.

It just keeps getting better.

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The day you confer upon him the Melchizedek priesthood and ordain him an elder will be even better.

The day you escort him through the temple will be even better.

The day you drop him off at the MTC will be even better.

It just keeps getting better.

One of my daughters is planning on doing a Catholic mission for a year prior to starting college. So I'll be curious how she will grow from that experience. :wub:

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The day you confer upon him the Melchizedek priesthood and ordain him an elder will be even better.

The day you escort him through the temple will be even better.

The day you drop him off at the MTC will be even better.

It just keeps getting better.

You know, just thinking about it is pretty exciting. Most of those things, I did alone.

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One of my daughters is planning on doing a Catholic mission for a year prior to starting college. So I'll be curious how she will grow from that experience. :wub:

That is interesting, does she request and area or simply submit her papers and allow the church to decide?

Also is she paying for it or the church? If the church pays for it, do they depend on "mass appeal"? :rofl:

(The first questions are serious by the way).

Edited by Jeff K.
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That is interesting, does she request and area or simply submit her papers and allow the church to decide?

Also is she paying for it or the church? If the church pays for it, do they depend on "mass appeal"? :rofl:

(The first questions are serious by the way).

It's nothing like the LDS church in regards to the process. There's a large catalog of service missions that generally appeal to those graduating from college but there's a few programs that are appealing to high school graduates. I'm insisting that she stays in the states for her 1st year since it should be a major life style change for her. For her field of interest, she's looking at missionaries in the Boston, New York and Missouri areas. If she's chosen, she'll do an 8 to 10 month trip and essentially live in a small religious community with approximately 8 to 12 other individuals as they do various service work generally helping the poor in various ways during that time. She'll get a stipend and room and board while she's there and essentially all I would need to do is that I would have to get her there and back. She may be able to get some financial assistance for schooling if she does some of the longer programs.

This one daughter has a rather passionate testimony of her faith but doesn't quite know what she wants to do after high at this point. So I'm hoping she may figure something out while she's doing the missionary work prior to going to college. She's all gung ho about doing this when she graduates next year from high school. I can envision her pursuing something in the teaching field or perhaps some type of social worker. We shall see.

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