In 1915, the First Presidency wrote: “If the Saints obey this counsel [having weekly meetings within the families where the parents can teach the principles of the gospel], 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.”
President David O. McKay gave the same promise on 1965 and added that the youth will gain power “to choose righteousness and peace, and be assured an eternal place in the family circle of our Father.” In 1976, the Presidency reaffirmed that “regular participation in family home evening will develop increased personal worth, family unity, love for our fellowmen, and trust in our Father in heaven.” — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, May 1993, pp. 70-71
A few years ago, Bishop Stanley Smoot was interviewed by President Spencer W. Kimball. President Kimball asked, “How often do you have family prayer?”
Bishop Smoot answered, “We try to have family prayer twice a day, but we average about once.”
President Kimball answered, “In the past, having family prayer once a day may have been all right. But in the future it will not be enough if we are going to save our families.”
I wonder if having casual and infrequent family home evening will be enough in the future to fortify our children with sufficient moral strength. In the future, infrequent family scripture study may be inadequate to arm our children with the virtue necessary to withstand the moral decay of the environment in which they will live. Where in the world will the children learn chastity, integrity, honesty, and basic human decency if not at home? These values will, of course, be reinforced at church, but parental teaching is more constant. — Elder James E. Faust, “The Greatest Challenge In The World – Good Parenting,” General Conference, October 1990; see Ensign, November 1990, p. 33
If eight things were present, we’d have a quality family home evening: a lesson, scripture reading, music, stories, an activity, prayers, refreshments, and a relaxed atmosphere with no criticism. — President Spencer W. Kimball
President [Gordon B.] Hinckley spoke of the opportunity of fathers and mothers to gather their children in family home evening. He recounted home evening in his parents’ home after President Joseph F. Smith announced the program in 1915.
“We felt awkward,” he said. “We tried to sing and couldn’t sing. We laughed at one another. It was crazy. But out of it came something. We read the scriptures. We talked together about the things of life. My father was a wonderful teacher. My mother was a wonderful teacher. We gained so much. I cannot look back without expressing the deepest gratitude for what they did for us.”
He called on members to “come back to that tradition” of family home evening. ”We’ve let it slip from us. We’ve let others preempt that Monday night.
“Blessings will flow from it, immeasurable and wonderful and sweet to contemplate,” he said. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “President Hinckley addresses nine stakes in St. George,” Church News, November 30, 2002, p. 3