Father’s Day

EI3C7814 copyIt’s always a pretty good Father’s Day when your kid talks in church. Xander spoke with his usual aplomb and humor (which left our family doubling over with laughter on the pew even if no one else thought he was funny). We celebrated the rest of the day with ping pong games and a long walk, salmon on the grill and chocolate raspberry cake. I put together a Father’s Day video for Ruby Girl which I want to share here. We asked for short video clips of girls dancing with their dads and I love the way this video illustrates what fatherhood is all about– sacrifice. Most of the dads weren’t excited about dancing on camera, but they were willing to look a little bit silly for their daughters.

It’s worth saying one more time, thanks to fathers everywhere making large and small sacrifices for their children.

Good Morning.  I’m so glad to be speaking on Father’s Day and on Daniel’s homecoming. Daniel has been a great example to me for many years and I’ve always looked up to him.

One of my dads favorite scriptures is Galatians 5:22, which says, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,”

Paul was a letter writer, he loved to write letters. This was a letter that he wrote to the Galatians telling them of how happy the gospel could make them. This is something my dad likes to talk about a lot— that if we’re not finding joy in the gospel, we are probably not doing it right.

Paul was mocked, spit on, thrown in prison, but he always found joy in the gospel. As he said in Philippians,  4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” I think he’s trying to tell us to rejoice. I think we should listen to Paul and rejoice in the gospel and enjoy the great happiness it brings our lives

The only way to consistently find happiness is in the gospel.  In another father son teaching moment, Alma tells his son, “Wickedness never was happiness.” I know this to be true. Breaking the commandments may look fun and exciting, but that’s just the Devil. Don’t fall for it. Our Father in heaven and our fathers on earth want us to be happy and they know that the gospel is the way to go.

One of a father’s jobs is to teach their children. Ezra Taft Benson said in a talk, “Good fathers teach their sons, and good sons listen and obey.” Fathers can teach by example and by working with their children. One day, my dad and I were putting tiles on a fireplace in our backyard, and the silly fireplace was all my mom’s idea and I don’t like cement or tiles and I was whining that my brother wasn’t helping. My dad told me to think of all that I was learning and how useful these skills would be in the future. I stayed and helped him finish and because of that I now know how to tile a fireplace and I’m also the favorite son.

My dad loves to teach useful skills and he loves to make everyday things fun. When we kneel down to family prayers there’s always a lot of laughter and jostling and sometimes wrestling, and I try to keep everyone reverent.  But we always pray and everyone loves to come kneel for family prayer.

I remember when Gabe was first learning to read the scriptures he would use these great voices and stand up on his bed and read with all the power of a young Captain Moroni and make the scriptures come to life. My dad would get really dramatic right along with him and it made scripture reading really fun. I kind of miss those dramatic readings. Gabe still finds great joy in the scriptures and he still loves the dramatic scriptures. Currently his favorite scripture talks about fighting like dragons in defense of your family.

We also have a lot of fun at family dinners. My dad says dinner is the very best part of his day, and it usually isn’t because of the food. We love to laugh and it gives everyone a chance to connect and talk and be part of the family.

I remember one Sunday a few years ago we were all sad and grumpy. It was just a few days after Halloween and my dad said, “Let’s go throw our pumpkins off the roof!” We gathered all our jack-o-lanterns, climbed onto the roof and threw them onto the driveway. Throwing pumpkins is now one of our favorite traditions.

Although we laugh a lot. We try not to make fun of people. Well, we do make fun of my dad but he’s a goofy old man. I think he he lets us make fun of him. A few years ago he made a new years resolution to be more insensitive. It doesn’t sound like a very good resolution until he explains it. He wanted to stop being offended by the little things. He did a great job and he continues to do so. He has taught me that through hard work and dedication and prayer it really is possible to enact a change in yourself.

Once someone asked my dad, “What do you do when you kids talk back?”

It was one of his more profound moments

He paused for a second and said, “I listen.”

My dad loves to use analogies to teach and learn the gospel. He has taught me so much. He taught me about the atonement and helped me understand it through a father’s perspective. Each time we’ve dropped off one of my brothers at the MTC we drive away and my dad says, “this stinks”. He has a testimony of missionary work and he’s proud of my brothers but he also really misses them. This helps me understand how Heavenly Father must have felt when he sent his son, not just to teach, but to die. Heavenly Father is the greatest example of love and I am so grateful for that.

Since my dad is nice enough to listen and play ping pong and throw pumpkins and not nag me about my messy room, I really respect his opinion and I trust him. I know he wants me to be happy, to follow Christ, to serve others. If we listen to our Heavenly Father and to the father he has given us here on earth I know we can be happy. I know the church is true, I know that Christ died for all of us. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen



June 26, 2016



  1. Danielle

    June 22, 2016

    Great talk! (And I would have laughed out loud!)

    • Elizabeth Smith

      June 22, 2016

      Wonderful tribute! Wonderful video! Wonderful talk for a “youth” speaker!

  2. Selwyn

    June 23, 2016

    I laughed reading the talk (in all the right places, obviously!) High ten Xander!

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