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Family Home Evening

This is a Family Home Evening Talk I gave a few years ago. Please fell free to use it if you would like.

Family Home Evening Talk 2004

Hi! My name is April Mitchell, My husbands name is Levi and we have three little boys. We moved here from Boise, ID, 6 months ago, for my husband’s job. I’m a convert and have been a member for 5 years. I didn’t grow up with FHE, but I wish I had. I feel so blessed to be able to have FHE in our little family, our boys will get to have that strong foundation throughout their lives. In preparing my talk I have learned so many things about FHE.

A 1915 First Presidency Statement introduced the FHE Program to the Church.

“Dear Brethren and Sisters:
We counsel the Latter-day Saints to observe more closely the commandment of the Lord given in the 68th section of the Doctrine and Covenants:

“And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents;
“For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized;
“And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of hands,
“And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord”

The children of Zion should also observe more fully the commandment of the Lord given to ancient Israel and reiterated to the Latter-day Saints: “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee” [see Ex. 20:12].
These revelations apply with great force to the Latter-day Saints, and it is required of fathers and mothers in this Church that these commandments shall be taught and applied in their homes.
To this end we advise and urge the inauguration of a “home evening” throughout the Church, at which time fathers and mothers may gather their boys and girls about them in the home and teach them the word of the Lord.”

They ended with a promise:

“If the Saints obey this counsel, we promise that great blessings will result. Love at home and obedience to parents will increase. Faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influences and temptations which beset them.”

President Hinckley commented on Family Home Evening:
“We have a family home evening program once a week 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”

FHE is inspired by God. His Prophets and Apostles have spoken of it for the last 89 years. FHE has a purpose, it was created to fulfilling a great need amongst the saints and it continues to be needed today.

Holding FHE can help build a strong foundation for our families.
All over the world Monday evening has been set aside by the First Presidency as family night. A night of participation, involvement, and wholesome fun. The importance of the family unit cannot be overemphasized. Every home in the Church has been instructed to build a solid foundation for sound citizenship and active church participation. David B. Haight
The 1974 First Presidency has said of FHE:
“No Church organization can supplant the parents in discharging this obligation. The best the Church can do is to give every aid possible so that the parents will be left without excuse in discharging this most sacred and vital work of building a solid foundation in the home”
President Kimball said, “The nation is built upon the foundation of its homes and the home upon its families.”

In the Gospel of Matthew, The Savior warned mankind of what could happen to our homes if we failed to heed his counsel.
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.
“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

Not only will FHE help to build a strong foundation for our families, it can help create unity in our homes.

In a First Presidency Message by James E. Faust he says:
President J. Reuben Clark (1871-1961) plead time after time that there be unity in the Church. He would quote frequently the message of the Lord: “I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” (D&C 38:27). Unity in the Church will always be a reflection of the unity in our homes. One of the most important ways to foster unity in the home is holding family home evening regularly. Whether we are young or old, single or married, whether we have children at home or have become empty nesters, family home evening can increase unity and love in our homes. Family home evening is for everyone.

With that unity will come a desire to turn our hearts to our family and children.

President Lee once counseled us:

“Now keep in mind this; that when the full measure of Elijah’s mission is understood, that the hearts of the children will be turned to the fathers, and the fathers to the children. It applies just as much on this side of the veil as it does on the other side of the veil. If we neglect our families here in having family home night and we fail in our responsibility here, how would it look if we lost some of those through our own neglect? Heaven would not be heaven until we have done everything we can to save those whom the Lord has sent through our lineage”

Then he continued:
“So, the hearts of you fathers and mothers must be turned to your children right now, if you have the true spirit of Elijah, and not think that it applies merely to those who are beyond the veil. Let your hearts be turned to your children, and teach your children; but you must do it when they are young enough to be properly schooled. And if you are neglecting your family home evening, you are neglecting the beginning of the mission of Elijah just as certainly as if you were neglecting your research work of genealogy”

One of the most important reasons to hold family home evening is to prepare our families to face the world. The world is a harsh place and some times the only haven we have is the home and our family.

President James E. Faust stated in the June 2003 Ensign: "I wonder if having unplanned and infrequent family home evenings will be enough to fortify ourselves and our children with sufficient moral strength to meet the complexities of our day. Infrequent family scripture study may be inadequate to arm ourselves and our children with the virtue necessary to withstand the moral decay of the environment in which we live. Where in the world will we learn chastity, integrity, honesty, and basic human decency if not at home? These values will, of course, be reinforced at church, but teaching them in family home evening can be particularly consistent and effective. To combat the world's evil influences, we need the strength that comes from family home evening."
We have a responsibility to teach our children what we know about the gospel, we have been counseled over and over to teach them the gospel in our homes.

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ ……..… that our children may know to what source they look.” (2 Ne. 25:26.)

In Deuteronomy we are commanded ; “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

The change we want in the world begins in the home.
We need unity in our families.
We need to prepare them to face the world.
We are commanded to teach our families the gospel.
Because we want to have eternal families one day we must hold regular FHEs.

In 1999 The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles lovingly stated: “We counsel parents and children to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities. However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform”

In the Nov. 1999 Ensign, Neil L. Andersen says:
“ We all know the struggle necessary to retain family home evening. There are thieves among us who would steal our Monday nights. But the promises of the Lord made to families who hold family home evening, that were spoken by the Prophets, have never been revoked and are there for us:
“If the Saints obey this counsel, we promise that great blessings will result. Love at home and obedience to parents will increase. Faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influence and temptations which beset them”

Who within the sound of my voice would be willing to sell these promises to those who would confiscate our Monday nights? Not one of us.”

FHE is a special opportunity for us to teach, train, prepare and unify our families, if we follow this commandment we will be blessed.

President Joseph F. Smith gave us an answer and a promise when he said, “If you will gather your children around you once a week and instruct them in the gospel, they will not go astray.”

President David O. McKay added that the youth would gain power “to choose righteousness and peace, and be assured an eternal place in the family circle of our Father.”

During the 1999 Oct. General Conference, Elder Pinegar tells us: “ As we faithfully hold quality family home evenings, we "will gain strength to withstand the temptations of the world and will receive many blessings which will help qualify [us] to enjoy [our] families through eternity in the Celestial Kingdom" If the prophet bid us do some great thing for so great a blessing, would we do it? Holding regular family home evening is such a small thing we can do to obtain these great blessings.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus said, “Feed my Lambs” “Feed my Sheep”

Are we feeding the Sheep in our own homes through FHE?

2 COMMENTS (click here!):

breymom said...

Looks so cute with the bow April! I'm thinking it's a GREAT idea to copy....

The Wades said...

I appreciate your passion and conviction. These teachings sound right on. I have many dear friends that are LDS--some of the very best people I know. I think you church does a great job spirtually preparing its members.

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