In the fall of 1970 the Lord announced through his prophet that the Church would hold family home evening (FHE) on Monday nights. It is interesting that about the same time, the other side, God’s opposition, announced that there would be this competing activity.
It’s fascinating that less than a year after God’s declaration for Monday night be dedicated to family, professional football games began playing on Monday nights. “You might be surprised to know how many families tried to work family home evenings in between half time of the football games. Of course it cannot be done. It appears the prophet’s request required too great a sacrifice.” “Sacrifice still brings forth the blessings,” Hartman Hector Jr.
“How grateful we should be that God inspired his prophet to institute the weekly home evening program. This is the vanguard for getting parents to assume the responsibility of instructing their children. An increasing number of faithful Saints are holding more than one home evening a week and are adding to or deleting from the home evening manual as the Spirit dictates.
Designed to strengthen and safeguard the family, the Church home evening program (one night each week) is to be set apart for fathers and mothers to gather their sons and daughters around them in the home. Prayer is offered, hymns and other songs are sung, scripture is read, family topics are discussed, talent is displayed, principles of the gospel are taught, and often games are played and homemade refreshments served. Strengthening the Family, Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1970, pp. 21-25
Football isn’t evil, but it can be
“Today, the undermining of the home and family is on the increase, with the devil anxiously working to displace the father as the head of the home and create rebellion among the children.” “The Lord knew that in the last days Satan would try to destroy the family unit.” He knew that by court edict, distractions, disillusion and even evil would be allowed to prosper.” Although not evil in itself, any virtue to the extreme can become a vice. If football, or any worldly influence, replaces the parents and precious time together to teach, instruct, nourish and love the wrong example and influence is established. “Parents are directly responsible for the righteous rearing of their children, and this responsibility cannot be safely delegated” to any external influence no matter how enjoyable, entertaining, or enlightening. Strengthening the Family, Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1970, pp. 21-25
Promised blessings for those who will hold a weekly home evening
“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.” (First Presidency, April 27, 1915, Improvement Era, vol. 18, p. 734.)
“I appeal to you parents, take nothing for granted about your children,” said President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
As conditions in the world get progressively worse, it is crucial that the family draw closer together in righteousness and that family solidarity be established. As one has said, “There are too many pulls away from the home today. We should seriously consider whether or not too many activities and other interests take too much time and attention from our families, from our children, from those whom the Lord God gave us to love, to nourish, to teach, and to help through life.”
The stick-together families are happier by far
Than the brothers and the sisters who take separate highways are.
The gladdest people living are the wholesome folks who make
A circle at the fireside that no power on earth can break.
And the finest of conventions ever held beneath the sun
Are the little family gatherings when the busy day is done.
There are rich folk, there are poor folk, who imagine they are wise.
And they’re very quick to shatter all the little family ties.
Each goes searching after pleasure in his own selected way.
Each with strangers likes to wander, and with strangers likes to play.
But it’s bitterness they harvest, and it’s empty joy they find,
For the children that are wisest are the stick-together kind.
There are some who seem to fancy that for gladness they must roam,
That for smiles that are the brightest they must wander far from home.
That the strange friend is the true friend, and they travel far astray
And they waste their lives in striving for a joy that’s far away,
But the gladdest sort of people, when the busy day is done,
Are the brothers and the sisters, who together share their fun.
It’s the stick-together family that wins the joys of earth,
That hears the sweetest music and that finds the finest mirth;
It’s the old home roof that shelters all the charm that life can give;
There you find the gladdest playground, there the happiest spot to live.
And, O weary, wandering brother, if contentment you would win,
Come you back unto the fireside and be comrade with your kin.
(Adapted from a poem by Edgar A. Guest.)