Latter-day Prophets Speak on Family Home Evening
Since family home evening was introduced in the Church 100 years ago, every President of the Church in turn has emphasized the value and importance of this practice. Here are a few selected quotes:
President Joseph F. Smith: Throughout the Church a spirit of unity, devotion, and faith prevails. … The introduction of the home-meeting movement has been an aid in this direction. One evening a week … for home family recreation, improvement and enjoyment, conducted in order and under a religious spirit, proves successful in the desired direction, and is to be heartily recommended everywhere (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, chapter 39).
President Heber J. Grant: As an aid to parents in discharging this most sacred obligation and duty there has been established … a “Home Evening” at which time parents and children gather around the family hearth in social and religious communion. In this day when socials, parties, dinners, business interests, etc., all tend to lead away from home associations the adoption of a Home Evening is highly advisable. It furnishes an opportunity for the parents to become better acquainted with their children and for children to know and appreciate their parents (Home Evening Handbook, pages 2–3).
President George Albert Smith: If the home evening could only be a fact among the Latter-day Saints, if during one evening a week we would live with our own, under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord, at our own firesides surrounded by those whom the Lord has given unto us, and told us, particularly, that we should instruct them, how many happy homes there would be where today there is sorrow and discord and distress (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, chapter 22).
President David O. McKay: Great blessings come to those who carry out this responsibility. Last year’s [family home evening] lessons have brought many families closer to one another, and have brought a great measure of peace and harmony in many homes. We feel to say to you again, with our love and earnest assurances, that the Lord will grant rich blessings to all who will prayerfully and sincerely carry out this program (introduction to Family Home Evening Manual of 1966).
President Joseph Fielding Smith: Children who grow up in homes where they have participated in family home evenings, where love and unity abound, build solid foundations for sound citizenship and for active Church participation. There is no greater legacy that parents can leave to their children than the memory and blessings of a happy, unified and loving home (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith, chapter 16).
President Harold B. Lee: In your homes, I pray you, say as Joshua did of old: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Teach your families in your family home evening; teach them to keep the commandments of God, for therein is our only safety in these days. If they will do that, the powers of the Almighty will descend upon them as the dews from heaven, and the Holy Ghost will be theirs (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, chapter 13).
President Spencer W. Kimball: Regarding our home evenings, an evening home with the family or an evening out to some place of interest with your family only partly solves the need of the home evening. Basically important is the teaching of the children the way of life that is vitally important. Merely going to a show or a party together, or fishing, only half satisfies the real need, but to stay home and teach the children the gospel, the scriptures, and love for each other and love for their parents is most important (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, chapter 19).
President Howard W. Hunter: 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 (October 1994 general conference).
President Gordon B. Hinckley: 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, Aug. 14, 2000).
President Thomas S. Monson: We cannot afford to neglect this heaven-inspired program [family home evening]. It can bring spiritual growth to each member of the family, helping him or her to withstand the temptations which are everywhere. The lessons learned in the home are those that last the longest (April 2005 general conference).