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David O. McKay Diaries – “Family”

Below you will find diary entries on the topic of “Family.” You can view other subjects here.

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Fri., 3 Jan., 1936:

“Wrote an article for the First Presidency on ‘Home Evening.'”

Fri., 28 Dec., 1951:

“[First Presidency meeting]  We gave consideration to the suggestion by the Relief Society Presidency that the First Presidency write something regarding the ‘Family Hour.’  Felt if anything were said it should be to the effect that there should be at least one evening a week for the family.  Questioned the wisdom of saying anything from which the implication might be drawn that only one night a week should be devoted to the family.”

Thurs., 16 Apr., 1953:

“10 to 2:30 p.m.—Was engaged in Council meeting in the Salt Lake Temple.

Some of the items reported by me at this meeting were:

1. The baptism of Mrs. Fred E. Schulter.

2. Expressed the feeling that the family ties are fundamental, that the family is the foundation of society.  Stated that the First Presidency have suggested to the auxiliary organizations that in choosing members of the General Boards women should be chosen whose family ties will not interfere and that frequently the First Presidency refuse to approve sisters whose names have been submitted because those recommended were rearing young families.”

Wed., 25 Aug. 1965:

“8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency.  President N. Eldon Tanner present, President Hugh B. Brown enroute to Canada.

10:00 to 10:35 a.m.

United States Jaycee’s Vote to Have Family Home Evening

Met by appointment Brother Alvin R. Dyer, who explained that on August 18, 1965, at Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Executives and special committee under direction of Mr. James Skidmore, National President, the United States Jaycees voted unanimously to make the ‘Family Home Evening’ the program of this national organization for 1966.

Brother Dyer said that this organization had requested that Orson Wright, a local dentist, and High Councilor of the Mount Olympus Stake, who has served as a national officer and also as a chaplain, undertake the responsibility of preparing this manual for use in the homes of 262,000 U.S. Jaycees, and that Dr. Wright had come to Brother Dyer for help from the Church in the preparation of this manual.

Brother Dyer left me a letter explaining the whole matter.  He recommended that the material for such a manual be prepared by the writers and coordinators of our Family Home Evening Manual.  The adaptation of that manual to fit conditions and beliefs of other churches might well be considered.

After some discussion, and realizing that such a program would be of benefit to all of America, I instructed Brother Dyer to tell Brother Marion G. Romney, a member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve to be held tomorrow, Thursday, August 26.

Later, it was decided at our meeting that it would be better for the Jaycees to make the modifications in the manual rather than for the Church to determine whether they would accompany our doctrinal phases of it.  Brother Richard L. Evans commented that the Jaycees would perhaps accept more than we think they would.  Elder Marion G. Romney will see what he can do along this line.  (See Brother Dyer’s letter following)

Fri., 22 Oct. 1965:

“Friday, October 22, 1965


One of the most urgent commandments the Lord has given to parents is to teach their children ‘to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, …to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.’

Now, for the second year, we are again offering a series of Family Home Evening lessons to help parents carry out the responsibility of ‘Teaching and Living the Gospel in the Home’.  And again parents are urged to gather their families around them, and to instruct them in truth and righteousness, and in family love and loyalty, for the home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place nor fulfill its essential functions.  The problems of these times cannot better be solved in any other place, by any other agency, by any other means, than by love and reverence and righteous teaching and example at home.

Great blessings come to those who carry out this responsibility, as numerous families throughout the Church can testify from their prayerful, earnest use of last year’s lessons, which have brought many families closer to one another, and have brought a great measure of peace and harmony in many homes.

In the use of this second series of lessons for the Family Home Evening, we again recommend flexibility so that they can be adapted to the age and circumstances of any family or any home.

We feel to say to you again, with our love and earnest assurances, that the Lord will grant rich blessings to all who will prayerfully and sincerely carry out this program.  Our Father will help us as we draw near unto Him and seek to make our homes places of love and peace and wholesome, righteous happiness.  With our blessings and appreciation, we would say again to parents in Zion: ‘No other success can compensate for failure in the home.’

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


Tues., 29 Apr, 1969:

“I held no meetings today.

In a meeting of the First Presidency held by the Counselors in the First Presidency’s office, the following matters of importance were discussed:

Family Home Evening Program

President Dyer mentioned that the U. S. Chamber of Commerce had adopted the Church family home evening for their own program throughout the United States, which will go into effect in 60 days, whereby a home evening manual will go into the home of every junior college student in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. The Chamber of Commerce is writing its own manual. They wish to use our manual as a guide in writing their program, and they appear to be in favor of presenting the script to the Church for review before it is finalized and printed. He asked if it would be possible for a Church committee to review the program that they intend to prepare. They propose to have this program in each home one night a week. President Tanner suggested that this be referred to Elder Marion G. Romney, who is chairman of the Family Home Evening Committee. The brethren agreed that this would be a great forward movement for the entire country.”