Family Home Evening is an important foundation for a family’s spiritual growth.
“Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.” Moses 6:57
The Importance of Family Home Evening
The idea that started the LDS Family Home Evening (or FHE) program was one inspired by the Spirit and set in Scripture by His prophets so long ago. The most meaningful, impactful places of study and worship are the church and the home, and to encourage families to learn and grow together, it’s important to have engaging lessons, thoughtful discussion, and fun!
As President Heber J. Grant said, “In this day when socials, parties, dinners, business interests, etc., all tend to lead away from home associations the adoption of a Home Evening is highly advisable. It furnishes an opportunity for the parents to become better acquainted with their children and for children to know and appreciate their parents.”
Keeping your family engaged on those Monday nights spent together, through games, music, inspiring lessons, and even trips to local points of interest will help keep your family united by love for each other, and by love for the Father. Families that dedicate their Monday nights to Family Home Evenings are promised increased faith, empowerment to resist temptation and a harmonious household by the Prophets.
The moments you spend together during FHE will stay with you (and your children) throughout their lives. These moments of family bonding, discovery of faith, and learning about the words of our Lord, will help your children grow into respectful, dedicated adults with unshakeable faith. Spending time with the family studying the Scriptures will also help them outside the home, by providing them with the tools to have honest, lasting friendships, help others, and shoulder their responsibilities honestly, honorably, and with conviction.
Family Home Evening Begins
In the spring of 1915, President Joseph F. Smith sent a letter to each LDS Church encouraging a weekly Family Home Evening, which would be a time for family, prayer, hymns, and learning the gospel. He said, “Throughout the Church, a spirit of unity, devotion, and faith prevails. … The introduction of the home-meeting movement has been an aid in this direction. One evening a week … for home family recreation, improvement and enjoyment, conducted in order and under a religious spirit, proves successful in the desired direction, and is to be heartily recommended everywhere.”
In 1970, his son, President Joseph Fielding Smith declared that Monday evenings be reserved for worship and study in the home, encouraging the FHE program to blossom into the Church-wide practice it is today. He believed that “Children who grow up in homes where they have participated in family home evenings, where love and unity abound, build solid foundations for sound citizenship and for active Church participation. There is no greater legacy that parents can leave to their children than the memory and blessings of a happy, unified and loving home.”
Our current President, Thomas S. Monson, said, “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 which are everywhere. The lessons learned in the home are those that last the longest.” By this, he underscores the importance of learning the Word of God in the home, and how it can help your family stay true to the Church and your faith.
We know that in today’s modern world, it can sometimes seem difficult to plan and make time for the type of Family Home Evening your children deserve. To help make your Family Home Evenings a day you’ll always look forward to, and your children will remember for the rest of their lives, we at FHE on DVD have created a list of fun activities, treats, and much more to accompany your FHE on DVD lesson.
For a family activity that has to do with tithing, prepare a batch of home-made treats. After discussing with your children the importance of tithing, and how the Church uses it to help members and others in need, bring out the treats. But first, set aside a small plate of the treats. Then, after you and your family have enjoyed the remaining treats, discuss with them how setting aside tithing for the Lord first is easier, and ensures you always are able to pay a full tithe. Next, you and your family can deliver the plate of treats to a neighbor to help illustrate how the tithing is used for the benefit of others. This teaches your family both charity, humility, the virtues of sharing, and the lesson of “paying a full tithe.”
Celebrating the lesson of Prayer with your family can go even farther than opening and closing each Family Home Evening with a prayer. Have each member of your family see how many times they can find the Lord or his Prophets telling us to “pray” or “pray always” in a 5-minute Scripture search. Whoever finds the most instances of the word “pray” or “pray always” gets a treat and the honor of reading one of the passages they found. Use this friendly competition to remind your family that the Prophets tell you to “pray always” repeatedly because of its vast importance.
3. Love Thy Neighbor
To learn and teach the value of ‘loving thy neighbor’ to your family, you will be working together to find the best in everyone and in each situation. Understanding is the key to Love, and loving thy neighbor is the way of the Lord. Get each member of your family to talk about someone they may have been struggling with feeling love towards recently, whether it’s at work, school or anywhere else. Once that family member has said their piece (remind them that we all are God’s children), everyone else can come up with one idea to help them see that individual in a more loving light. By encouraging patience, acceptance, love, and understanding, you’re helping your children develop the skills needed to be a happy and successful member of the Church and society.
4. Happy Helper
Explaining the value of service to your children is invaluable as they grow and become active members of the Church. Have your family brainstorm ideas for ways they can help their community, like picking up trash, painting over graffiti, donating clothing and other items to those in need, visiting the elderly, volunteering at local animal shelters, or knitting scarves and other articles of clothing for the homeless in the winter. Have them then explain why they’d be happy to help, and the virtue of selflessly dedicating yourself to others. If possible, act on that idea immediately (going to pick up trash, visiting the elderly, and knitting clothes for those in need are simple enough to plan). If not, create a plan to do so as soon as possible. This responsibility and the impact the action makes will help your children feel proud of themselves and the teachings of the Prophets.
5. First Vision
Joseph Smith’s bravery in seeking the true religion and his powerful prayer and strength in the face adversity led to the first vision. Have one of your family retell the story of the first vision, and another act it out. It’s a memory game, performance, and charades all at once. If they get stuck, consult the Scriptures as a family to be prompted as to what comes next. Discuss the value of defending your faith and prayer in the face of adversity.
A perfect demonstration of faith is being able to trust those who love you to care for you even when you can’t care for yourself. There’s an easy activity you can play that will help your family understand the importance of putting faith in themselves, their family, and above all, the Spirit, called the “trust fall.” Have everyone take turns falling backward into the arms of your family. If they do it, they will experience that love and faith will always catch them when they fall. If anyone is too scared or nervous to fall back helplessly, have them read the passages Ether 12:6 and Moroni 10:23 and try again.
Final Thoughts on FHE
There are almost infinite ideas inspired by the goodness of the Spirit to keep your family entertained, engaged and always learning to become better members of the Church during your Family Home Evenings. We at FHE on DVD pray that your Mondays are happy, harmonious, and educational for everyone involved.