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Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks April 2 during the Saturday afternoon session of the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said he has often spoken of the importance of Church councils — including mission, stake, ward and auxiliary councils.

Councils, he declared, are the most effective way “to get real results.” It was through councils that the Lord created all things in the universe.

“Until now, however, I have never talked in general conference about the most basic and fundamental – and perhaps the most important – of all councils: the family council.”

Family councils are both essential and eternal, he said. When conducted with love and with Christ-like attributes, they can counter the impact of modern technology that can keep families from spending time together and also bring evil into homes.

Elder Ballard said family councils are different from family home evening.

“Home evenings focus primarily on gospel instruction and family activities. Family councils, on the other hand, can be held on any day of the week, and they are primarily a meeting at which parents listen — to each other and to their children.”

Family councils, he said, can be a “general family council” consisting of the entire family; an “executive council” consisting of a mother and father; a “limited family council” consisting of parents and one child; and a “one-on-one family council” consisting of one parent and one child.

“In all of these family council settings, electronic devices need to be turned off so everyone can look at and listen to each other.”

Once the walls of the home provided all the defense a family needed against outside intrusions and influences. Locked doors and secured windows and gates offered protection and refuge from the outside world.

“Those days are now gone,” said Elder Ballard. “The physical walls, doors, fences, and gates of our homes cannot prevent unseen invasion from the Internet, Wi-Fi, and mobile phone networks. They can penetrate our homes with just a few clicks and keystrokes.”

The council system — as provided by the Lord — can strengthen, protect, safeguard and nurture individual families. “Children desperately need parents willing to listen to them, and the family council can provide a time during which family members can learn to understand and love one another.”

It is important, he added, to involve the Lord in all family councils.

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“Inviting the Lord to be part of our family council through prayer will improve our relationships with each other,” he said. “We can, with Heavenly Father and our Savior’s help, become more patient, thoughtful, helpful, forgiving, and understanding as we pray for help. With Their help, we can make our homes a little bit of heaven on earth.”

Regularly held family councils will also help a family spot problems early — and nip them in the bud.

“They will give each family member a feeling of worth and importance and, most of all, they will assist us to be more successful and happy in our precious relationships, within the walls of our home,” he promised.

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