Family Home Evening
What is Family Home Evening and why do members of the Mormon Church see it as so important? Family Home Evening is a time put aside each week for family members to come closer together and to Heavenly Father. It’s a time for the love family members hold for each other to become stronger. It’s also a time for the family members to learn to live more righteously. This is what it is. This is also why it’s important.This is more than something Mormons sometimes feel necessary to do (every once in a while or so). The Mormon Church has officially set aside Monday nights for Family Home Evening. Church activities aren’t supposed to be scheduled on Monday nights, and families are supposed to avoid school or work activities that could conflict with Family Home Evening.The traditional set-up of Family Home Evening is as follows. It usually starts with song and prayer. Sometimes, to help increase the appropriate spiritual mood, families might read a scripture or poem as well. The main bulk of Family Home Evening usually consists of a lesson on a gospel topic. These lessons can come from Church magazines, like the Ensign, Friend, or New Era. These magazines often contain talks by prophets and apostles. They can come from one of the Mormon books of scripture (such as the Bible, Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, or Doctrine and Covenants). They can come from teaching manuals, or from the teacher’s own experience. Indeed, the possibilities for lessons are very wide indeed.
Often, after the lesson, the family will take part in an activity. The possibilities for this are also endless. The activity can be related to the lesson. For example, if the lesson was about the scriptures, the activity could be a scripture chase (or trying to find verses in the scriptures faster than anyone else). Or, if the lesson was about putting on the “whole armor of God,” the activity could be coloring a picture of a knight in armor and labeling each piece (the sword of faith, the shield of truth, and so forth). Or, often, activities are totally unrelated to the lesson and are mostly opportunities for families to spend time together – whether they spend it playing basketball, swimming, bowling, or playing checkers. Families are very important to the Mormon religion and wholesome recreation is part of what creates strong families.
Family Home Evening is a great opportunity for parents to teach their children. David O. McKay, former President of the Mormon Church, stated,
“The problems of these difficult times cannot better be solved in any other place, by any other agency, by any other means, than by love and righteousness, and precept and example, and devotion to duty in the home.” The world is often a harsh and unpleasant place, full of the kind of temptation that makes people unhappy when they give into it. But if children have no spiritual instruction, no spiritual example, from their parents, it’s difficult to expect them to withstand the temptations, especially when many people see no reason to. It’s very difficult to act differently than the crowd when parents never profess Mormonism very strongly, or never teach its precepts to their children.
It’s never enough to rely on other people to teach children proper behavior. It’s never safe to rely on others to give children a sense of unity with someone. What Mormons believe is that the strongest unity should be within the home.