News Story

Kenyan Mormons Celebrate 100 Years of Family Home Evening

Family Home Evening is a program that helps build and strengthen family relationships

Thousands of Mormons in Kenya are joining the rest of the other members of the worldwide Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to celebrate 100 years of Family Home Evening this April 2015. This centennial program has blessed millions of families worldwide.

Families will gather in their homes on 27th April 2015 to discuss how Family Home Evening has benefited their families over the years. Individuals will also post on the Kenya Church facebook page special memories or personal insights pertaining to family home evening, experienced either as a child or a parent.

Family Home Evening is a program that helps build and strengthen family relationships. Typically, a family meets on a Monday night and has a formal program that begins with some singing, a prayer and then a short lesson on a religious or practical topic that one of the family members had been assigned to prepare. Some families have found incorporating games or a service project that helps bond the family. Most families in Kenya have the program just before their Monday evening meals. Single adults who are the only members in their family or who live alone have often organized these events in groups at a Church meetinghouse here in Kenya, or are invited by a family that lives close-by to join their Family Home Evening.

But why is this program so important to the Mormon community? Family Home Evening is one of the most prominent institutions of Latter-day Saint teachings and culture. It was officially initiated in 1915 by LDS Church President, Joseph F. Smith, and reemphasized at the 50th Anniversary by adding new official Church aids.

While launching the program on 27th April 1915, President Joseph F. Smith stated, “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.”

Later when President David O. McKay renewed the program in 1965, he counseled, “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.”

It is also at this time that the Church published a Family Home Evening Manual that families can use in the program. Later, in 1985, a Family Home Evening Resource Book was published with lessons and resources that could be used and adapted from year to year. This resource is still in use today.

The program has blessed many Mormon families by drawing them together and closer to God. It has also provided a structured opportunity for children to be instructed in scripture and life skills and for spouses to draw nearer in a world where divorce is rampant. Many couples have observed that Family Home Evening can provide a platform, when a family faces difficulties, to start talking again. It has been observed that many families that neglect this program could build up a disconnect that may cause problems in their relationships. Most adults who grew up in homes where this practice was observed have fond childhood memories with their families.

Family Home Evening continues to be a vital and integral part of the lives of Church members. This is especially so as families are faced with great challenges today. We are now living at a time when there is pressure on spouses to provide for their families, which means there is less time spouses spend together with their children. Family Home Evening therefore becomes an important instrument. Too often technology has invaded our space, which can be a serious distraction. Monday nights then become a time when Mormons put down their phones, switch off their television and enjoy some gospel centred quality time together. What an amazing and inspired program!

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