Make families the ‘center of our lives’

With the flooding of the Church with family-oriented media, members will have many resources to assist and encourage them in the building of stronger and better families, said Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve.

"We hope it will cause a conscious and sustained effort in building an eternal family unit. An abundance of Church materials will be available for you from which to pick and choose useful ideas."

Speaking Saturday afternoon, Elder Perry considered the "turmoil and uncertainty" of the times, and said, "it is more important than ever to make our families the center of our lives and the top of our priorities. Families lie at the center of our Heavenly Father's plan."

Elder Perry spoke of the "mandate" given to the Priesthood Executive Council by the First Presidency to "concentrate on the family."

In response, he said, "we will use all of the resources we have to encourage greater harmony, greater love and greater influence in the Lord's special designated unit — the family."

Elder Perry said, "Helps and reminders will come from the Church Internet site and television channels, as well as through priesthood and auxiliary leadership."

In some zones of the world, an alternative to commercial television is BYU Television, which presents family-oriented programs. Other helps include the Church web site, lds.org, Elder Perry said. "It has recently been updated to include a new Home and Family Page."

This site includes ideas for family activities, as well as teachings from Church leaders, ideas for Family Activities, Family Home Evening Quick Tips, and other features on family management and relationships.

One media source that reaches the entire Church are Church magazines, Elder Perry continued.

"President Brigham Young explained that our families are not yet ours," he said. "The Lord has committed them to us to see how we will treat them. Only if we are faithful will they be given to us forever. What we do on earth determines whether or not we will be worthy to become heavenly parents.

"The Church has established two special times for families to be together. The first is centered around the proper observance of the Sabbath Day. This is the time we are to attend our regular meetings together, study the life and teachings of the Savior and of the prophets. Other appropriate Sunday activities include: writing personal and family journals; holding family councils; establishing and maintaining family organizations for the immediate and extended family; personal interviews between parents and children; writing to relatives and missionaries; genealogy; visiting relatives and those who are ill or lonely; missionary work; reading stories to children; and singing Church hymns.

"The second time is Monday night," Elder Perry continued. "We are to teach our children in a well-organized, regular family home evening. No other activities should involve our family members on Monday night. This designated time is to be with our families."