Touching Advice and Stories Apostles Have Shared About Fatherhood

by | Jun. 12, 2019

Mormon Life

Elder David A. Bednar

Photo from ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Elder Bednar's relationship with his father taught him that there are many good people who are not members of the Church. A tool and dye maker, Anthony G. Bednar was a man of order and priority. There was an individual space on the wall of the family garage for every tool his father owned, with the shape of the tool drawn on the wall. "He made wooden furniture for our home, and he had all these metal doodads that he made."

In fact, when Elder Bednar spoke at general conference the day after he was sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve, he was wearing cuff links with tiger's-eye, a semiprecious stone, his father made years ago.

His dad was also a devoted father. Although he was almost 60 years old when his youngest son was a teenager, he was the receiver for young David Bednar, a high school football quarterback, running pass patterns in the family yard in San Leandro.

His mother, Lavina Whitney Bednar, was "steady," a word he often uses to describe her. She was steady as she reared the three Bednar children in the Church, something fully supported by her husband. And she was steady through the years as she prayed for her husband to be baptized and her family sealed in the temple.

Elder Bednar, as a young man, also prayed for the same things. He continued to pray while teaching others the gospel in Germany as a full-time missionary. "We had a bit of a tradition for a time. I think I ended every letter that I wrote home from the mission field with, 'Dad, I love you. When are you going to be baptized?' "

The years passed. Young David Bednar returned from his mission, entered BYU and met a young woman while playing flag football for family home evening. He and Susan Robinson were married March 20, 1975, in the Salt Lake Temple. Three sons have come from their union, and they now also have three granddaughters.

Finally, in 1979, while studying for his doctorate at Purdue University, he received the phone call for which he had long prayed. It was his dad in California saying. "What are you doing this Saturday? I need you home to baptize me."

"We always talk about fathers blessing their children and performing the ordinances, and those are wonderful experiences. But I've had the experience of providing all those ordinances for my dad," Elder Bednar said quietly. His mother and father, now deceased, were sealed, along with their children.

Elder Bednar has tried to carry on with his sons his father's tradition of hands-on fathering. In fact, Sister Bednar laughs when she points out that their home in Arkansas never had trees in the back yard. It was always a football or baseball field for not only their own children but also for the neighborhood children who lined up for football passes from "Mr. Bednar."

"There are some things that are nice. There are a few things that are absolutely necessary," Elder Bednar said of career accomplishments being lower in priority to family.

Quoted from "Legacy of family, Faith is Foundation of Life"

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