|First Presidency Message
Family Home Evening
By President Gordon B. Hinckley
What is the great strength
of [this] Church? . . . It is the emphasis which we place on families. . . . Keep your families
close together and love and honor your children" (meeting, Reykjavík,
Iceland, 11 Sept. 2002).
One Evening a WeekMonday Night
"We have a family home evening program once a week [Monday night]
across the Church in which parents sit down with their children. They
study the scriptures. They talk about family problems. They plan family
activities and things of that kind. I don't hesitate to say if every
family in the world practiced that one thing, you'd see a very great
difference in the solidarity of the families of the world" (interview,
Boston Globe, 14 Aug. 2000).
"[The Lord] expects us to have family home eveningone night
a week to gather our children together and teach them the gospel. Isaiah
said, 'And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord.' That is the
commandment: 'All thy children shall be taught of the Lord.' And the
blessing: 'And great,' he said, 'shall be the peace of thy children'
[Isaiah 54:13]" (meeting, Nouméa, New Caledonia, 17 June
"In 1915 President Joseph F. Smith asked
the people of the Church to have family home evening. My father said
we would do so, that we would
warm up the parlor where Mother's grand piano stood and do what the President
of the Church had asked.
"We were miserable performers as children.
We could do all kinds of things together while playing, but for one
of us to try to sing a
solo before the others was like asking ice cream to stay hard on the
kitchen stove. In the beginning, we would laugh and make cute remarks
about one another's performance. But our parents persisted. We sang together.
We prayed together. We listened quietly while Mother read Bible and Book
of Mormon stories. Father told us stories out of his memory. . . .
"Out of those simple little meetings, held in the parlor of our
old home, came something indescribable and wonderful. Our love for our
parents was strengthened. Our love for brothers and sisters was enhanced.
Our love for the Lord was increased. An appreciation for simple goodness
grew in our hearts. These wonderful things came about because our parents
followed the counsel of the President of the Church" ("Some
Lessons I Learned as a Boy," Ensign, May 1993, 54).
Sense of Prioritizing
"You have to establish in your life some sense of prioritizing
things, of giving emphasis to the important things and of laying aside
the unimportant things that will lead to nothing. Establish a sense of
justice, a sense of what is good and what is not good, what is important
and is not important; and that can become a marvelous and wonderful blessing
in your lives" (devotional, Utah Salt Lake City Mission, 15 Dec.
A Sacred Time for Family
"I wish to mention . . . family home
evening. We are fearful that this very important program is fading
in too many areas. Brethren, there
is nothing more important than your families. You know that. This program
was begun back in 1915, 87 years ago, when President Joseph F. Smith
urged the Latter-day Saints to set aside one evening a week devoted specifically
to the family. It was to be a time of teaching, of reading the scriptures,
of cultivating talents, of discussing family matters. It was not to be
a time to attend athletic events or anything of the kind. Of course,
if there is family activity of such a kind occasionally, that may be
all right. But in the increasingly frantic rush of our lives it is so
important that fathers and mothers sit down with their children, pray
together, instruct them in the ways of the Lord, consider their family
problems, and let the children express their talents. I am satisfied
that this program came under the revelations of the Lord in response
to a need among the families of the Church.
"If there was a need 87 years ago, that
need is certainly much greater today.
"The decision was made that Monday evening
would be devoted to this family activity. In those areas where there
are large numbers of
Church members, school officials and others honored the program and did
not schedule events on that evening.
"Now there appears to be a growing tendency
to schedule other events on Monday night. We respectfully request that
our public school officials
and others let us have this one evening a week to carry forward this
important and traditional program. We ask that they not schedule events
that will require the time of children on Monday evenings. We are confident
that they will realize that it is most important that families have the
opportunity, at least once a week, to be together without conflicting
loyalties. We shall be grateful indeed if they will cooperate in this
matter. And we urge, in the strongest terms possible, that fathers and
mothers regard most seriously this opportunity and challenge to make
of Monday evening a time sacred to the family.
"I have received not a few invitations to
participate in community Monday gatherings of one kind or another. I
have uniformly turned down
these invitations with appreciation, but with the explanation that I
have reserved Monday as family home evening time. I earnestly hope that
each of you will do the same" ("To
Men of the Priesthood," Ensign, Nov.
Wholesome Family Life
"If we live the gospel, people will come into the Church. They
will see the virtue of our lives, and they will be attracted to the message
we have to teach. That message places great emphasis on the family. The
family becomes a very important thing in our teaching and in our practice.
We believe that the family is the basic unit of society. You can't have
a strong community without strong families. You can't have a strong nation
without strong familiesthe father, the mother, the children as one
unit working together. Now the family is falling apart all over America,
all over the world. If we can just cultivate good, wholesome family life
among our members, I don't worry very much about the future of this Church" (interview
with Ignacio Carrión, El País [Mexico], 7 Nov. 1997).
Letter from the First Presidency
October 4, 1999
To: Members of the Church throughout the World
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Monday nights are reserved throughout the Church for family home evenings.
We encourage members to set aside this time to strengthen family ties
and teach the gospel in their homes.
Earlier this year we called on parents to devote their best efforts
to the teaching and rearing of their children in gospel principles which
will keep them close to the Church. We also counseled parents and children
to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel
study and instruction, and wholesome family activities.
We urge members, where possible, to avoid holding receptions or other
similar activities on Monday evenings. Where practical, members may also
want to encourage community and school leaders to avoid scheduling activities
on Monday evenings that require children or parents to be away from their
Church buildings and facilities should be closed on Monday evenings.
No ward or stake activities should be planned, and other interruptions
to family home evenings should be avoided.
Gordon B. Hinckley
Thomas S. Monson
James E. Faust
Ideas for Home Teachers
After you prayerfully prepare, share this message using a method that
encourages the participation of those you teach. A few examples follow:
1. Show page 2 (without showing page 3), and ask family members what
they think this message is about. Make a list of the activities that
could conflict with Monday night home evenings. Read together a few of
President Hinckley's statements and the First Presidency letter. Bear
your testimony of the blessings of holding weekly family home evening.
2. Read aloud "Sense of Prioritizing." As
family members take turns reading from this message, ask them to tell
why they think President
Hinckley is emphasizing this topic. Tell why these ideas are important
to you, and invite family members to do the same.