News Story

Canadian Mormons Practice 100 Years of Family Home Evening

One evening per week dedicated to family activities — a great way to strengthen family relationships

Thousands of Canadians plan to mark the 100th anniversary of the Family Home Evening program by doing just that — holding a family home evening.

On 27 April 1915, Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918), president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, advised a church-wide practice of a weekly “home evening.” Subsequent Church leaders encouraged the practice, but it was not until 1965, some 50 years later, when Church membership had significantly grown throughout the world, that President David O. McKay (1873–1970) encouraged parents to consistently observe one night each week as a family night and provided a teaching manual to support the practice. In 1970, President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) designated Monday night for weekly family home evening and directed that no other Church functions should conflict with that schedule.

President McKay, in his renewed emphasis on family home evening, promised that “great blessings” come to those who carry out this responsibility. Family home evening lessons and activities bring families closer to one another and bring a great measure of peace and harmony to many homes.

Current Church President Thomas S. Monson concurred. “We cannot afford to neglect this heaven-inspired program. It can bring spiritual growth to each member of the family, helping him or her to withstand the temptations that are everywhere. The lessons learned in the home are those that last the longest.”

A typical family home evening begins and ends with a prayer and usually includes singing, scripture reading, a short lesson on a religious or practical topic, an activity and refreshments. Or, instead of a lesson, the family might participate in a service project or join in an activity together. Family home evenings are geared to involve all members of the family.

Ryan and Katie Kirk of Rockland, Ontario said, “Family home evening is a time for us to just be together. In the busyness of life today, it is a time to put away electronics, turn off the TV or radio, forget about all the other demands being made of us and to just enjoy being with each other. It is about us, as a team. We love it and our children ask every night if tonight is family home evening!”

Marriage is not a requirement for participation in family home evening. Latter-day Saint students and other singles gather weekly in local groups to participate in family home evening.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encourages everyone to organize a weekly family night. Doing this regularly will strengthen families everywhere.

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