Strengthening Our Families through Family Home Evening
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“Strengthening Our Families through Family Home Evening,” Ensign, Aug. 2001, 70

Visiting Teaching Message:

Strengthening Our Families through Family Home Evening

“Hold your family home evenings … ,” counsels President Gordon B. Hinckley. “I can remember when it was begun. I was a little boy five years old, and my father said, ‘President [Joseph F.] Smith has asked us to hold family home evenings.’ And we did it. It was not easy to do at first. We were more prone to laugh and giggle than we were to be well behaved. But we did it. I see the fruits of it in my own family and in the families of my grandchildren and in the families of my great-grandchildren. The principle of family solidarity carries with it a conviction of its truth” (“Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, June 1999, 3–4).

Effective Family Home Evenings

Family home evening fosters love and unity within families, invites the Spirit, and helps family members strengthen their testimonies and withstand temptations. For most families, Monday night is the best time to hold family home evening. That night is kept free of Church meetings and activities so families can meet together and strengthen one another as they learn and practice gospel principles together.

Family home evening need not be a stiff, formal meeting. It should be enjoyable and relaxing. It could include family prayer, gospel instruction, hymns or Primary songs, and a family activity. Lesson material can be found in many Church resources, including the scriptures, Gospel Principles (item no. 31110, U.S. $3.00), the Family Home Evening Resource Book (31106, U.S. $5.00), and Church magazines. Family home evening might include activities such as holding a family council, reading the scriptures, enjoying a recreational activity, planning and carrying out a service project, having a family talent show, or enjoying special refreshments.

“Family home evening presents a special opportunity to teach the gospel to the family,” said Elder Merlin R. Lybbert, while serving as a member of the Seventy. “The parents of a five-year-old were concerned about how they should teach of Nephi’s encounter with the wicked Laban. …

“As this young boy, my grandson, knelt beside his bed that evening, his prayer demonstrated his understanding and personal application of the lesson. He said, ‘And help me, Heavenly Father, to be obedient like Nephi, even when it’s hard’” (“The Special Status of Children,” Ensign, May 1994, 32).

Blessings for All

Whatever our circumstances, we are blessed by participating in family home evening. “Family home evening is for everyone,” President Spencer W. Kimball and his counselors declared. “It is for families with parents and children, for families with just one parent, and for parents who have no children at home. It is for home evening groups of single adults and for those who live alone or with roommates” (Family Home Evening [1976], 3).

For nearly 90 years now, prophets of God have counseled us to hold family home evening. Today prophets plead with us to strengthen our families through weekly family home evening. As we follow their counsel, we are blessed to learn how inspired this counsel is.

[illustration] Illustrated by Sheri Lynn Boyer Doty