Two Family Home Evening Milestones Occur in 2015

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Family gathered together for family home evening
Image via LDS.org

This year marks two important milestones for the family home evening program (fhe) in the Church: the beginning of the program and the renewal of its emphasis. Today, 100 years after it was instituted, and 50 years after being re-emphasized, fhe is still an important element of the Church. In February 1915, the First Presidency sent the following letter instituting the practice of fhe:

“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. …

“This ‘Home Evening’ should be devoted to prayer, singing hymns, songs, instrumental music, scripture-reading, family topics and specific instruction on the principles of the gospel, and on the ethical problems of life, as well as the duties and obligations of children to parents, the home, the Church, society and the nation. For the smaller children appropriate recitations, songs, stories and games may be introduced. Light refreshments of such a nature as may be largely prepared in the home might be served.

“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.”

In 1965, 50 years after the program was instituted, President David O. McKay issued a renewed challenge to families of the Church to participate in fhe. With this challenge came the release of the first fhe manual.

“The following year, parents were urged to strictly observe one night a week for family home evening and not allow anything else to conflict with it,” Mormon Newsroom reports. “In 1970, the weekly family home evening night was standardized throughout the Church as being Monday evening. All meetinghouses and temples were to be closed that night, and no other Church functions were to be planned to conflict with it. That practice persists to this day.”

Church News is looking for readers’ experiences regarding fhe.

“Readers are invited to share special memories or personal insights pertaining to family home evening, either as a child or a parent,” Mormon Newsroom said. “Comments may be published online and in print in April, depending on reader response.”

Send your comments to staff writer R. Scott Lloyd via:

Email: [email protected]

Mail: R. Scott Lloyd, LDS Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

Morgan is a journalism student at Brigham Young University. She enjoys writing lifestyle articles for The Universe at BYU, Sugardoodle, and LDS.net.