Work In Progress: If Hollywood Did Family Home Evening

To the reader. The following post is a work in progress. I had an idea to write a post about family home evening, and make it film related. This is my first, unfiltered, unedited attempt at harnessing that idea. Please read it with that in mind, and, of course, feel free to make comments and suggestions. Many thanks, and i hope you enjoy….

Somewhere in the world this Monday, there is a family gathered together in joyous harmony. The mum and dad are blissful, the kids even more so. Immaculate side partings, perfect white teeth and cinnamon tans all around; this cardboard cut out model is the nuclear family of Mormonism. For the rest of us mere mortals, its tantrums and tone deaf hymns; a chaotic mess, that is scarcely functional. This is family home evening.

Latter-Day Saint church authorities swear by the staple Monday night carnival that is FHE, and encourage it to “discuss gospel principles, [enjoy] recreation, work projects, skits…games, refreshments…” and, most hideously antiquated, my personal favourite, “songs around the piano.” [Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, July 1992]

One thing I love about FHE is that it really shouldn’t work. Yet by some miracle of twisted logic, some cosmic or celestial irony, it can be some of the best times spent as kinfolk. It’s my opinion that the sum of a family’s parts is their shared interaction in a FHE. The things they say, the decisions they make, the activities they choose, all add up to reflect the family as a unit; their ‘collective personality’ as it were. Which got me thinking, what if Hollywood used FHE as a plot device; a way of portraying dynamics?

I have created a list of ten famous film families, and how I think they would be depicted in their respective films holding a family home evening. It is part geek in-joking and part creative writing. For the purposes of this list, you have to pretend that these characters would be LDS, or at least au fait with the LDS tradition of FHE. The types of characters that they are, and the course of their depiction would stand: this is just an exploration of what would potentially happen if these characters were existent beyond the confines of their portrayal. So allow me to muse on their family dynamics, as explored through the catalyst of that Monday night cavalcade, family home evening.

Note: This list is by no means exhaustive, and many of you may think of stronger or more mainstream families. I have tried to get a mixture of ‘go to’ names, and some not-so-well-known. But feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments section below.

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