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Mark A. Philbrick, BYU photo
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has encouraged families to organize themselves as a council.

"OUR FAMILY COUNCIL JOURNAL," with M. Russell Ballard, Deseret Book, $16.99, 170 pages (nf)

At the April 2016 general conference, Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivered a talk about the need for families to hold regular councils.

With Elder Ballard's message in mind, Deseret Book created "Our Family Council Journal," a tool for families to keep records of their meetings. Councils are the most effective way to get results, Elder Ballard wrote.

"Family councils can be a place of unity, loyalty and loving support and have always been needed," Elder Ballard wrote. "The Lord has provided the council system to strengthen, protect, safeguard and nurture our most precious relationships. The family council can provide a time during which family members can learn to understand and love one another. A simple record of these councils — kept in a book like this — may become a precious family history document in the years to come."

The book's introduction includes various types of family councils, possible discussion topics and a template with lined pages for taking notes. The book also comes with insightful and motivational quotations from Elder Ballard on the value of families and councils.

In the introduction, Elder Ballard emphasizes that family councils should not replace family home evenings.

"Home evenings focus primarily on gospel instruction and family activities," Elder Ballard wrote. "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."

At the end of the introduction, Elder Ballard makes a promise.

"Please remember that a family council held regularly will help us spot family problems early and nip them in the bud; councils will give each family member a feeling of worth and importance," the apostle wrote. "Most of all they will assist us to be more successful and happy in our precious relationships, within the walls of our homes."

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