Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke of family councils; a council that is sometimes overlooked compared to councils in missions, stake, and other auxiliaries.
Elder Ballard was the final speaker of the Saturday afternoon session of the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He suggested a few types of family councils, and guidelines for each.
Elder Ballard said electronic devices should be off during family councils. He suggested collecting such devices in a basket.
“Thereafter, the family can counsel together without being tempted to respond to a poke on Facebook, text, Instagram, Snapchat, and email alerts.”
He suggested that family councils should be held at a designated time, and begin with prayer.
“When parents are prepared and children listen and participate in the discussion, the family council is working,” Elder Ballard said.
“Though we may share DNA, there may be situations and circumstances among us that may make us vastly different from reach other, and which may require the compassionate collaboration of the family council,” he said.
Siblings can also be mentors to young children, Elder Ballard suggested. All family members should be involved in challenging decisions, so they can support and create positive results as they work as a family.
According to Elder Ballard, even single persons or students can council with friends and roommates.
“Everyone can adapt a family council to take advantage of this divine pattern established by our loving Heavenly Father,” He said.
A parent-only executive family council allows them to “review each child’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs and their progress,” Elder Ballard said.
A limited family council is for parents to spend time with individual children.
“If your son or daughter sees you as a staunch reporter, this council meeting can establish goals and objectives for the future,” Elder Ballard said.
The last family council Elder Ballard spoke of is a one-on-one family council that may happen informally at random times.
“An outing with one child, with either father or mother, can provide a special spiritual and emotional bonding time,” Elder Ballard said.
“The physical walls, doors, fences, and gates of our homes cannot prevent unseen invasion from the internet, Wi-Fi, and mobile phone networks,” he said. “They can penetrate our homes with just a few clicks and keystrokes.”
A family council, suggested Elder Ballard, is the way to “protect, safeguard, and nurture our most precious relationships.”
He concluded, “A family council that is patterned after the councils in heaven, filled with Christ-like love and guided by the Lord’s Spirit, will help us to protect our family from distractions that can steal our precious time together and protect us from the evils of the world.”