10. Men’s Divine Roles and 11. Women’s Divine Roles

Men’s Divine Roles


“Our Heavenly Father endowed His sons and daughters with unique traits especially fitted for their individual responsibilities as they fulfill His plan. To follow His plan requires that you do those things He expects of you as a son or daughter, husband or wife” (Richard G. Scott; in Conference Report, Oct. 1996, 101; or Ensign, Nov.1996, 73; student manual, 361).


Husbands who fulfill their divine family responsibilities contribute to the happiness of their marriage.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World: By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.

What does it mean to preside, provide and protect?

Would a mother ever need to do these things? Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation.


  • “Our Solemn Responsibilities” (22–26). President Hinckley mentions sorrows that families experience because of the actions of husbands and fathers. What can men do to ensure they are not the causes of these sorrows?

Examples of sorrows from talk: adultery, abandoning family with no explanation, physical and verbal abuse spawned by a bad temper, treating wife like an inferior and ruling over her.

If your husband has struggled with any of these things, he would benefit from this talk.

  • “To the Fathers in Israel” (203–6). How can fathers and prospective fathers prepare to fulfill the responsibilities listed by President Benson?
  1. Fatherhood is an eternal calling you are never released from. “President Harold B. Lee truly stated that “the most important of the Lord’s work that you [fathers] will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home. Home teaching, bishopric’s work, and other Church duties are all important, but the most important work is within the walls of your home” (Strengthening the Home [pamphlet, 1973], p. 7).
  2. PROVIDE “In a home where there is an able-bodied husband, he is expected to be the breadwinner. Sometimes we hear of husbands who, because of economic conditions, have lost their jobs and expect the wives to go out of the home and work, even though the husband is still capable of providing for his family. In these cases, we urge the husband to do all in his power to allow his wife to remain in the home caring for the children while he continues to provide for his family the best he can, even though the job he is able to secure may not be ideal and family budgeting may have to be tighter. Also, the need for education or material things does not justify the postponing of children in order to keep the wife working as the breadwinner of the family…I say to all of you, the Lord has charged men with the responsibility to provide for their families in such a way that the wife is allowed to fulfill her role as mother in the home.”
  3. Gather year’s supply of clothing, food, and fuel is possible, budget, save money, pay honest tithing.
  4. PRESIDE Presiding in the home does not make you superior. “The Apostle Paul points out that “the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23; italics added). That is the model we are to follow in our role of presiding in the home. We do not find the Savior leading the Church with a harsh or unkind hand. We do not find the Savior treating His Church with disrespect or neglect. We do not find the Savior using force or coercion to accomplish His purposes. Nowhere do we find the Savior doing anything but that which edifies, uplifts, comforts, and exalts the Church. Brethren, I say to you with all soberness, He is the model we must follow as we take the spiritual lead in our families. Particularly is this true in your relationship with your wife.”
  1. “In latter-day revelation the Lord speaks again of this obligation. He said, “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else” (D&C 42:22). To my knowledge there is only one other thing in all scripture that we are commanded to love with all our hearts, and that is God Himself. Think what that means! This kind of love can be shown for your wives in so many ways. First and foremost, nothing except God Himself takes priority over your wife in your life— not work, not recreation, not hobbies. Your wife is your precious, eternal helpmate—your companion. What does it mean to love someone with all your heart? It means to love with all your emotional feelings and with all your devotion. Surely when you love your wife with all your heart, you cannot demean her, criticize her, find fault with her, or abuse her by words, sullen behavior, or actions. What does it mean to “cleave unto her”? It means to stay close to her, to be loyal and faithful to her, to communicate with her, and to express your love for her. Love means being sensitive to her feelings and needs. She wants to be noticed and treasured. She wants to be told that you view her as lovely and attractive and important to you. Love means putting her welfare and self-esteem as a high priority in your life. You should be grateful that she is the mother of your children and the queen of your home, grateful that she has chosen homemaking and motherhood—to bear, to nourish, to love, and to train your children—as the noblest calling of all. Husbands, recognize your wife’s intelligence and her ability to counsel with you as a real partner regarding family plans, family activities, and family budgeting. Don’t be stingy with your time or with your means. Give her the opportunity to grow intellectually, emotionally, and socially as well as spiritually. Remember, brethren, love can be nurtured and nourished by little tokens. Flowers on special occasions are wonderful, but so is your willingness to help with the dishes, change diapers, get up with a crying child in the night, and leave the television or the newspaper to help with the dinner. Those are the quiet ways we say “I love you” with our actions. They bring rich dividends for such little effort. This kind of loving priesthood leadership applies to your children as well as to your wife.”
  1. PROTECT “As the patriarch in your home, you have a serious responsibility to assume leadership in working with your children. You must help create a home where the Spirit of the Lord can abide. Your place is to give direction to all family life. You should take an active part in establishing family rules and discipline. Your homes should be havens of peace and joy for your family. Surely no child should fear his own father—especially a priesthood father. A father’s duty is to make his home a place of happiness and joy. He cannot do this when there is bickering, quarreling, contention, or unrighteous behavior. The powerful effect of righteous fathers in setting an example, disciplining and training, nurturing and loving is vital to the spiritual welfare of his children.”
  2. He provides 10 suggestions on how fathers can be spiritual leaders to their children.
  3. Give father’s blessings to your children. Baptize and confirm your children. Ordain your sons to the priesthood. These will become spiritual highlights in the lives of your children.
  4. Personally direct family prayers, daily scripture reading, and weekly family home evenings. Your personal involvement will show your children how important these activities really are.
  5. Whenever possible, attend Church meetings together as a family. Family worship under your leadership is vital to your children’s spiritual welfare.
  6. Go on daddy-daughter dates and father-and-sons’ outings with your children. As a family, go on campouts and picnics, to ball games and recitals, to school programs, and so forth. Having Dad there makes all the difference.
  7. Build traditions of family vacations and trips and outings. These memories will never be forgotten by your children.
  8. Have regular one-on-one visits with your children. Let them talk about what they would like to. Teach them gospel principles. Teach them true values. Tell them you love them. Personal time with your children tells them where Dad puts his priorities.
  9. Teach your children to work, and show them the value of working toward a worthy goal. Establishing mission funds and education funds for your children shows them what Dad considers to be important.
  10. Encourage good music and art and literature in your homes. Homes that have a spirit of refinement and beauty will bless the lives of your children forever.
  11. As distances allow, regularly attend the temple with your wife. Your children will then better understand the importance of temple marriage and temple vows and the eternal family unit.
  12. Have your children see your joy and satisfaction in service to the Church. This can become contagious to them, so they, too, will want to serve in the Church and will love the kingdom.
  • “Being a Righteous Husband and Father” (206–9). What pressures and trends could keep husbands and fathers from fulfilling the responsibilities listed by President Hunter? How can we overcome these obstacles?
  1. Have perfect moral fidelity to wife and cleave to her and none else.
  2. Have unbounded love for your wife and children; reverence motherhood.
  3. “You share, as a loving partner, the care of the children. Help her to manage and keep up your home. Help teach, train, and discipline your children.”
  4. “Your leadership of the family is your most important and sacred responsibility….Effective family leadership, brethren, requires both quantity and quality time. The teaching and governance of the family must not be left to your wife alone, to society, to school, or even to the Church.”
  5. PRESIDE “A man who holds the priesthood accepts his wife as a partner in the leadership of the home and family with full knowledge of and full participation in all decisions relating thereto. Of necessity there must be in the Church and in the home a presiding officer (see D&C 107:21). By divine appointment, the responsibility to preside in the home rests upon the priesthood holder (see Moses 4:22). The Lord intended that the wife be a helpmeet for man (meet means equal)—that is, a companion equal and necessary in full partnership. Presiding in righteousness necessitates a shared responsibility between husband and wife; together you act with knowledge and participation in all family matters. For a man to operate independently of or without regard to the feelings and counsel of his wife in governing the family is to exercise unrighteous dominion.”
  6. Be one flesh with your wife. Multiply and replenish the earth. “Keep yourselves above any domineering or unworthy behavior in the tender, intimate relationship between husband and wife.”
  7. “A man should always speak to his wife lovingly and kindly, treating her with the utmost respect.”
  8. “A righteous father protects his children with his time and presence in their social, educational, and spiritual activities and responsibilities. Tender expressions of love and affection toward children are as much the responsibility of the father as the mother. Tell your children you love them.”
  9. PROVIDE “You who hold the priesthood have the responsibility, unless disabled, to provide temporal support for your wife and children…We urge you to do all in your power to allow your wife to remain in the home, caring for the children while you provide for the family the best you can.”
  10. “If you are to enjoy the blessings of the Lord, you must set your own homes in order. Together with your wife, you determine the spiritual climate of your home. Your first obligation is to get your own spiritual life in order through regular scriptural study and daily prayer. Secure and honor your priesthood and temple covenants; encourage your family to do the same.”
  11. PROTECT “Take seriously your responsibility to teach the gospel to your family through regular family home evening, family prayer, devotional and scripture reading time, and other teaching moments. Give special emphasis to preparation for missionary service and temple marriage. As patriarch in the home, exercise your priesthood through performing the appropriate ordinances for your family and by giving blessings to your wife and children. Next to your own salvation, brethren, there is nothing so important to you as the salvation of your wife and children.”


Women’s Divine Roles


“No greater recognition can come to you in this world than to be known as a woman of God. No greater status can be conferred upon you than being a daughter of God who experiences true sisterhood, wifehood, and motherhood, or other tasks which influence lives for good” (Spencer W. Kimball, “The Role of Righteous Women,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 102; or student manual, 350).


As women pattern their lives according to the plan of salvation, they can better achieve happiness in marriage.

President Spencer W. Kimball: “Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days . . .will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world” (“The Role of Righteous Women,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 103–4; or student manual, 351).

  • What do you think it means for the women of the Church to be “distinct and different” from the women of the world?

From each of these talks, what are:

  1. Practices Women of God Should Avoid
  2. Responsibilities and Privileges of Women of God

“To the Mothers in Zion,” President Ezra Taft Benson (352–57)

  1. Don’t postpone having kids until you can afford it or school is done. Don’t curtail the number of children based on those reasons or other selfish issues. Do not desire to be outside in the marketplace, but rather in the home. Do not be competitive.
  1. Have children. Raise them and nurture them in the home. See the 10 ways to spend time with your kids from the talk.

“Women of the Church,” President Gordon B. Hinckley (357–60)

  1. Do not abuse your spouse or children. Do not have self-pity for not working outside of the home. Avoid working outside of the home, but if you have to, make sure it is so you can provide the basis needs for your family and not fancy things.
  1. Recognize your worth in the plan of salvation, know your purpose, be satisfied with your roles, love and respect your husband, have joy in motherhood and in creation, master your temper, apologize, have hope, work had, do service, grow spiritually, learn budgeting skills, serve in the church, have faith, persevere, etc. READ THIS ONE! J

“The Joy of Living the Great Plan of Happiness,” Elder Richard G. Scott (360–63)

  1. Avoid violent entertainment in the home. Do not make an easy life or secure home as high priorities.
  1. Face your challenges with your spouse as one, follow the plan of happiness, repent, pray, teach your kids the plan of salvation, follow the prophet, make sacrifice for your family your top priority.

“We Are Women of God,” Sister Sheri L. Dew (364–66)

  1. Do not be preoccupied with vain things and perishable pleasures like your clothes, money, and weight. Do not be a woman of the world. Let the world go.
  1. Focus on eternal life, come unto Christ, make Him the center of our lives, study, pray, watch, love the Savior above all else.

Sheri Dew:  “I invite each of us to identify at least one thing we can do to come out of the world and come closer to Christ. And then next month, another. And then another.”



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