Family councils help family members seek the Lord’s will in unity and faith. In a family council, family members talk together, share feelings and ideas, and agree on a plan of action.
Such councils were introduced in our premortal life (see Doctrine and Covenants 121:32; Abraham 4:26; 5:1–3). Church leaders have taught that we participated in a family council in the premortal existence, when we lived with our heavenly parents as Their spirit children.
Following this eternal pattern, families can use councils to set goals, resolve challenges, discuss finances, make plans, support and strengthen each other, bear testimony, build unity, and pray for each other. Family councils are most successful when the Lord is invited through prayer to be a part of them. The scriptures encourage us to “counsel with the Lord in all [our] doings, and he will direct [us] for good” (Alma 37:37).
Family councils may be held whenever needed. Some families may decide to hold their councils on a regular schedule, while others may hold them as needed. Sometimes, parents may want to hold a family council on the Sabbath or in connection with home evening.
Family councils often involve the whole family but could also consist of only the mother and father, both parents and one child, or one parent and one child. Councils can take place in any setting that allows for effective discussion, even outside of the home.
Respect for the opinions and feelings of others is essential to the success of family councils (see Family Guidebook , 10). Parents lead in a family council, but they often listen much more than they speak. They help all family members participate with love, respect, kindness, and patience. When family councils are filled with Christlike love and guided by the Lord’s Spirit, they help protect family members from the evils of the world.
For more information about how to hold an effective council, see the Gospel Topics entry “Church Councils.”
“Family Councils: A Conversation with Elder and Sister Ballard,” Ensign, June 2003
“Counsel Together Oft: Family Councils for Couples,” Ensign, January 2015