Thursday, May 24, 2007

Women Are Focus of New Museum Exhibit

The resourcefulness and skills of Relief Society women worldwide are being showcased in a new exhibit at the Museum of Church History and Art: Something Extraordinary: A Sampler of Women’s Gifts. The exhibit opened Saturday, 12 May 2007, and runs through January 2009.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Happy Family

"Behold, their husbands love their wives, and their wives love their husbands; and their husbands and their wives love their children..."

Jacob 3:7

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Family Home Evening™ Quick Tips

I have fond memories of the family home evenings my parents held when I was a child. We had lessons from the family home evening manual, played memorable games, and enjoyed treats. I always felt having family home evening would be the same for my own family someday. But when I became a mother I realized family home evenings would have to be adjusted to hold my young children’s interests. In teaching my little ones, I have learned the following:

1. Simplify the lessons, treats, and activities. Preparation can be fast and easy. For a quick lesson, I often use a picture from the Gospel Art Picture Kit (item no. 34730; U.S. $25.00) and tell the story on the back of the picture. For small children, summarize the story in a few short sentences. Keep in mind that a few minutes of sitting still are long enough for most young children. After our lesson, we serve treats that we reserve for family night. For simple activities we do things such as finger plays and action songs. The Children’s Songbook (35395; $10.00) is a useful resource, and many books in public libraries offer good activity ideas.

2. Use Church curriculum materials. The Family Home Evening Resource Book (31106; $5.00) includes tips for adapting the lessons for younger children. Church magazines offer articles and activities that would make good lessons. Some carry a family home evening logo (see above left) to indicate that they are especially useful for family home evening. The “Friend to Friend” section in the Friend magazine features a Church leader each month. These articles often relate personable stories that children can relate to. Church audiovisual materials are also available through distribution centers or your meetinghouse library.

3. Invite the Spirit of the Lord. During the opening prayer, we invite the Spirit. At the conclusion of our lesson, we bear testimony of the truthfulness of what we have taught. Then, as we feel the Spirit, we ask the children what they are feeling and help them identify those feelings.

4. Make family home evening a habit. It can be tempting to postpone family night when your family’s schedule is busy and it’s difficult to gather everyone together. Occasionally my husband is out of town on Monday night for business, and we forget to hold family home evening on Sunday before he leaves. When this happens, I have found it is better to go ahead with family night on Monday than not have it at all. But whenever possible, we include the whole family in an activity once a week, even if it is not Monday night.

The First Presidency has said: “We call upon parents to devote their best efforts to teaching and rearing of their children in gospel principles. . . . We counsel parents and children to give highest priority to . . . family home evening” (“Letter from the First Presidency,” Liahona, Dec. 1999, 1; emphasis in original). Though it can be a challenge to hold regular family home evenings with young children, our family has been blessed for heeding the First Presidency’s counsel to spend time together studying the gospel and having fun.

—Celestia Shumway, Edgemont Sixth Ward, Provo Utah Edgemont Stake

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God's eternal plan.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. "Children are an heritage of the Lord" (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Tips from families like yours

Families like yours have learned principles and skills to help themselves become happier and closer.

Their ideas can help your family, too.

"Make every minute count. You can strengthen your family bonds by spending as much time together as possible."

"We found that scheduling one evening together each week can strengthen family ties and increase unity. Use the time to have fun and to instruct your children."

"We make sure that we have meals together. We found that mealtime is an excellent time for family members to chat and catch up on what's going on in each other's lives."

"Don't let the television rob you of important time you can spend together. Instead, play games together, help children with homework, go for a walk, or get to know each other better."

More Tips