Making Life a Bliss Complete

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7. Traditions of the Fathers



The family that we are born into or grow up in is where we learn the “traditions of our fathers” (Enos 1:14; see Proverbs 22:6). Traditions are knowledge, customs, practices, and beliefs handed down from generation to generation. Fathers means male and female ancestors on both the mother’s and father’s lines. Some children are fortunate to have righteous parents who teach them good family traditions. Nephi begins his record, “I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents . . .” (1 Nephi 1:1). Enos starts his book in a similar way: “I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it . . .” (Enos:1:1). Other children are not as fortunate. Doctrine and Covenants 93:39–40 explains how poor traditions can lead children toward unrighteousness: “And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers. “But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.”


Parents have the responsibility to establish traditions founded in light and truth and then pass them on to their children

Examples of False Traditions:

1 Peter 1:18

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers.”

Mosiah 10:12

“They were a wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, believing in the tradition of their fathers.”

Alma 60:32

“It is the tradition of their fathers that has caused their hatred.”

Doctrine and Covenants 93:39

“And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.”

Overcoming False Traditions:

Matthew 10:37

“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

Mosiah 25:12

“And it came to pass that those who were the children of Amulon and his brethren, . . . were displeased with the conduct of their fathers, and they would no longer be called by the names of their fathers, therefore they took upon themselves the name of Nephi, that they might be called the children of Nephi.”

Alma 37:9

“Yea, I say unto you, were it not for these things that these records do contain, which are on these plates, Ammon and his brethren could not have convinced so many thousands of the Lamanites of the incorrect tradition of their fathers; yea, these records and their words brought them unto repentance.”

Helaman 15:4 “But behold my brethren, the Lamanites hath he hated because their deeds have been evil continually, and this because of the iniquity of the tradition of their fathers. But behold, salvation hath come unto them through the preaching of the Nephites; and for this intent hath the Lord prolonged their days.”

Elder Boyd K. Packer

“To you adults who repeat the pattern of neglect and abuse you endured as little children, believing that you are entrapped in a cycle of behavior from which there is no escape, I say: “It is contrary to the order of heaven for any soul to be locked into compulsive, immoral behavior with no way out! “It is consistent with the workings of the adversary to deceive you into believing that you are. “I gratefully acknowledge that transgressions, even those which affect little children, yield to sincere repentance. I testify with all my soul that the doctrine of repentance is true and has a miraculous, liberating effect upon behavior. “To you innocent ones who have not transgressed, but were abused as little children and still carry an undeserved burden of guilt, I say: “Learn true doctrine—repentance and forgiveness; lay that burden of guilt down! “For we are all children of the same Heavenly Father. May not each of his children, of any age, claim the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and in so doing, through complete repentance, be cleansed and renewed to childlike innocence?” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 21–22; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 18).

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Sometimes the traditions husbands and wives bring to a marriage may not be compatible.

With a partner, discuss these items together:

  • Identify cases where the husband’s and wife’s traditions are compatible and those that may cause conflict.
  • Consider the traditions in light of their knowledge of the plan of salvation.
  • Suggest righteous traditions the couple might want to establish or carry forward.

***What do you think is the most frequently quoted scripture on marriage?

See Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7, Ephesians 5:31; Moses 3:24; and Abraham 5:18.

  • What does it mean to leave your father and mother? (Among other things, it means couples are faced with establishing new traditions.)
  • How can couples resolve differences or conflicts?
  • What does it mean to “honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12; see 1 Nephi 17:55). Does this commandment end when we marry?

1 Nephi 1:1

“I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father.”

1 Nephi 3:19

“And behold, it is wisdom in God that we should obtain these records, that we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers.”

1 Nephi 5:21

“And we had obtained the records which the Lord had commanded us, and searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us, insomuch that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children.”

2 Nephi 25:26

“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”

Enos 1:1, 3

“Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it. . . . “Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.”

Doctrine and Covenants 68:25

“And again, inasmuch as parents have children in  Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.”

Doctrine and Covenants 93:40

“But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.”

Elder Brent H. Nielson First Counselor in the Area Presidency in the Phillipines said:

“For each of us, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we must analyze those traditions that we find in our families and in our culture and determine whether those traditions lead us towards God’s teachings or away from them. The culture we are striving to develop is the culture of Jesus Christ. “

He gave these examples of righteous traditions:

  • “Tithing, daily prayer and scripture study and family home evening.”
  • “Always attend our meetings on Sunday and keep the Sabbath day holy.”
  • “Full time missionary service”
  • Marriage: “Marriage is ordained of God (see “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129). Marriage brings more joy and happiness to our lives than anything else we can do. However, in every culture there are wicked traditions of our fathers that keep us from getting married. Those traditions include parents who expect their adult children to support them, instead of marrying; traditions that dictate that a young person can’t marry until he or she is set for life with employment; traditions that supporting younger brothers or sisters is more important than establishing an eternal marriage relationship. All of these traditions of our fathers are keeping our rising generation from fulfilling the measure of their creation and finding joy here in this life.
  • What are some ways we can insure that we teach righteous traditions to our children?

Righteous Traditions –Cheryl C. Lant, Primary General President:

“If our parenting is based on the teachings of the scriptures and of the latter-day prophets, we cannot go wrong. If every time there is a challenge our hearts turn first and always to our Father in Heaven for direction, we will be in a safe place. If our children know where we stand and we always stand on the Lord’s side, we know we are where we need to be.

Now, the important thing is that we consistently work to do these things. We will not be perfect at it, and our families will not always respond positively, but we will be building a strong foundation of righteous traditions that our children can depend on. They can hold to that foundation when things get difficult, and they can return to that foundation if they should stray for a period of time.”


  • The family we grew up in is where we learned the traditions of our fathers (see Proverbs 22:6).
  • Some traditions are founded in the plan of salvation. It is our responsibility to identify and hold fast to these.
  • Other traditions go contrary to the plan of salvation. It is our responsibility to identify and not pass on these (see Mosiah 25:12; Alma 3:11; Alma 37:9).
  • Other traditions are neither right nor wrong but can still be a source of conflict. Couples should work together to decide which of these to pass on.
  • Understanding and following the scriptures and the teachings of prophets helps us know what is important to hold fast to and what is not (see 1 Nephi 3:19; 5:21; 2 Nephi 25:26; D&C 68:25).





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