The LDS practice of Monday night family home evening has been called “the family fight that begins and ends with prayer." The evenings may be chaotic and take effort to plan, BYU professors say, but what matters most is that a family sets aside time to spend with one another — especially in the fast-paced world today.
The Atlantic recently published, "Mormons' weekly family ritual is an antidote to fast-paced living," an article by BYU professors David C. Dollahite and Loren Marks, co-directors of the American Families of Faith project, who wrote about the value of a weekly gathering to strengthen family relationships, independent of religious affiliation.
In the article, Dollahite and Marks quote Vern Bengston, a sociologist who spent nearly four decades studying at-home religious practices, who said family home evening is one of “the most successful (religious) programs fostering intergenerational connections and the nurturing of families.”
Dollahite and Marks explain the background and components of family home evening and its initial recommendation by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints more than 100 years ago. Family home evening is even more relevant today as technology and media beg for attention, they said.
“As their vision suggests, family home evening wasn’t ever intended to be strictly religious,” Dollahite and Marks wrote. “There is hymn singing and scripture reading, but there is also game playing and ethics discussing.”2 comments on this story
“The central features of the family home evening are transferable to families of other faiths or no faith at all,” the BYU professors continued. Components like prayer, hymn singing and scripture reading “can be adapted for nonreligious families, perhaps with a moment of silence, a meditation, or the reading of a poem.”
As part of their American Families of Faith project, Dollahite and Marks interviewed 198 religious couples from all regions of the US. One LDS mother said of family home evening, “Whether or not it’s always a complete success … I think it’s important just that they know it’s going to happen every week.”
To read Dollahite and Marks' entire article, go to TheAtlantic.com.