“It’s Family Unity Month in Virginia,” Ensign, June 1974, 64
RICHMOND, Virginia—The family home evening program for the Saints in Virginia has become Family Unity Month for all Virginians during May.
The seeds for Family Unity Month were sown last January at the inauguration of Virginia’s governor, Mills E. Godwin, Jr. In his inaugural address, Governor Godwin expressed his belief in the importance of strong families and family ties, and he made mention of the Church’s family home evening program.
Encouraged by this remark, Church leaders in Virginia met with the governor to explain the program to him and to present him with a certificate of merit for his stand on family unity. The governor said that the Church’s program was a good one and would be of value for all Virginians.
From that meeting developed the idea of Family Unity Month, for which the governor issued a letter of endorsement of the Church’s attempts to strengthen family ties. In his letter to the people of Virginia he wrote:
“Today’s society rests upon a foundation composed of home and family, molding the individual character and abilities of its younger members within the environment of mutual love and respect. Emphasizing these qualities, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints observes May as Family Unity Month, and I call its importance to the attention of our people.”
At a gathering of local Church leaders and the press who witnessed the signing of the letter, Governor Godwin said, “Any free society rests upon the stability of the family, the prominence and dominance of the home, and family life and family unity. I think every great civilization that I have read of has seen this to be true. The deterioration of the family unit is certainly one of the things that disturbs us all.”
Among those in attendance at the ceremony were President Rex D. Pinegar, member of the First Council of the Seventy and president of the Virginia Mission, and President Glenn E. Nielsen, president of the neighboring Delaware-Maryland Mission.
President Pinegar said that Family Unity Month highlights an ongoing Church program that encourages members to fellowship their nonmember neighbors. “During Family Unity Month,” he said, “we know our families will reach out to their nonmember friends and invite them to a special family home evening. Of course, these would be held on a night other than their regular family home evening.
“In addition, local priesthood teams are responding to invitations from community organizations and service groups for demonstrations of and information about family home evening.”
President Pinegar said that the concept of Family Unity Month was being well received, with many community leaders endorsing the project through public statements on radio and television and in the press.
“The response has been very positive,” said President Pinegar.