The Book of Mormon has many examples of the responsibility that fathers have to teach their sons.
In the priesthood session of the October 1985 general conference, President Ezra Taft Benson said: "Good fathers teach their sons, and good sons listen and obey. Teaching is done by precept and example, and by word and deed. A good model is the best teacher. Therefore, a father's first responsibility is to set the proper example."Lehi, Nephi's father, lived an exemplary life. He had a vision in which he `beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.' (1 Ne. 8:10.) This tree represented the love of God. Lehi partook of its fruit, which `filled [his] soul with exceeding great joy. (1 Ne. 8:12.) After he had a personal testimony of its goodness, he took the next step of inviting his family to also partake.
"Fathers," continued President Benson, "here is a divine pattern: As the leader of the family, Lehi first taught by example. He led out in righteousness - in conversion to Christ. Then he taught by word, saying, `Believe as I believe.'"
President Benson said righteous fathers of the Book of Mormon taught their children "many things, but the overarching message was `the great plan of the Eternal God'. . . .
"Those in the Book of Mormon who were taught nothing concerning the Lord but only concerning worldly knowledge became a cunning and wicked people." (See Mosiah 24:5,7.)
President Benson said righteous fathers in the Book of Mormon taught their children the saving truths of salvation, and taught them "plainly, frequently, and fervently. Are we fathers doing likewise?"
He said Lehi taught his son Jacob about the sacrifice of the Messiah and the need for "a broken heart and a contrite spirit." Lehi taught Jacob there is "opposition in all things" and that men are "free to choose liberty and eternal life" through the Lord or "captivity and death" through the devil. (2 Ne. 2:7, 11.)
President Benson said children need to hear the truth repeated, "especially because there is so much falsehood abroad."
Book of Mormon fathers, said President Benson, reminded their children of saving truths, and bore their testimonies to them. Mosiah 1:6 states, "King Benjamin testified to his sons." According to Alma 36:26, Alma bore witness to his son Helaman, saying, "I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God."
President Benson said: "The Book of Mormon, which is the most correct book on earth, demonstrates that the major responsibility for teaching our sons the great plan of the Eternal Father - the Fall, rebirth, atonement, resurrection, judgment, eternal life - rests with fathers. It should be done individually as well as in the family. It should be preached and discussed so our children will know the commandments. It should be done from their youth up - and often.
"May we fathers teach our sons as the exemplary Book of Mormon fathers taught their sons. And may our sons, like Nephi, listen and obey, knowing that because of those teachings they too were born of goodly parents."