President  Hinckley asked “What will the Church do for you, a man?” His answer taught me something about what the Church does for men.  But it taught me more about what it means to be a man.

Eternally, as well as biologically, manhood is about achievement.  It is about trying to do things that are hard.


 I have told groups of our missionaries, as I have met with them in various parts of the world, “You’re not much to look at, but you’re all the Lord has.” And the miracle is that as they serve the Lord, they become giants in capacity and in achievement.  . . . Robert Browning said, “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp.” Growth comes as we constantly seek to achieve that which is just beyond our immediate capacity. One of the noteworthy aspects of the Church program is that it constantly motivates men to stretch themselves, to reach a little higher.


For related reasons, then, manhood is about self-improvement:

There are in the aggregate experiences of this church thousands upon thousands of cases of men who, under the uplifting impulses of the gospel of Jesus Christ and under the inspiration of association with good men, have received the strength to lay aside habits that held them in bondage for many years.


Too many  people today think that once a man has addressed himself, all that remains to be addressed is the world at large.  But the role of crusader or activist is less fundamental then the role of father and husband.  Leading a home is the work of a man.  President Hinckley refers to a man’s

governance of [the] home, where . . .  presiding in each home [were] a man who looked upon his wife as an eternal companion, engaged with him in a partnership with God in bringing to pass divine, eternal purposes, and who looked upon his children as children of our Heavenly Father, who has given to earthly parents a stewardship for those children.


Beyond the sphere of the home is another sphere, that even in the Church we sometimes underrate.  Before  man directs himself to the universal world, he must first be a friend and a brother.  Manhood is about brotherhood.  President Hinckley:

[The church] will bring you into the greatest fraternity in the world.
Every man hungers for brotherhood. That desire finds a degree of fulfillment in many service clubs, trade associations, social groups, and similar organizations. And while all of these may be beneficial, there is none quite like the brotherhood of the priesthood of God.
Here will be found hundreds of thousands of men, from all honorable walks of life, endowed with authority to act in the name of God and obligated under the very nature of the sacred gift each has received to strengthen and assist one another. The words of the Lord to Peter are pertinent to their situation. Declared he: “Simon. … Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

(Personally,  I feel a need to repent.  Before I go haring off on my schemes, I should do a little more for and with my quorum brothers.  Until I do, my vision of manhood is incomplete.)

These characteristics of manhood exist on the spiritual plane.  They are part of the plan.  The Church is the greatest fraternity in the world.  But there is a greater fraternity beyond the world:


Blessed is the man who prays with the assurance that prayers are heard and answered. Blessed is the man whose companion is the Holy Spirit. Blessed is the man who possesses the authority to speak in the name of God


A man’s work in the home is to protect and preserve the family.  With God, it becomes possible to do it forever.  With God, a man can build a little civilization in his home that will outlast they pyramids.

As certainly as there has been a joining together in marriage with such a ceremony, there also has been decreed a separation and cancellation of family relationships in death. To think of eternal life without eternal love is to construct a paradox, a contradiction.

A loving Eternal Father, with concern for his children, has made possible a continuation of those sacred relationships.

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