Using the council system strengthens families, wards, stakes, companies, organizations, communities, and nations. The council system existed in our pre-earth life when Heavenly Father called all His spirit children together in a council meeting. He also used a heavenly council during the creation of this earth. Elder M. Russell Ballard said, “I believe councils are the most effective way to get real results.”
Elder Ballard is known for speaking about the importance of councils, and he spoke about family councils for the first time in the April 2016 General Conference. “Family councils have always been needed. They are, in fact, eternal. We belonged to a family council in the premortal existence, when we lived with our heavenly parents as their spirit children.
“A family council, when conducted with love and with Christlike attributes, will counter the impact of modern technology that often distracts us from spending quality time with each other and also tends to bring evil right into our homes.”
Elder Ballard said there are at least four different types of family councils: (1) a general family council with the entire family, (2) an executive family council of mother and mother, (3) a limited family council with both parents and one child, and (4) a one-on-one family council with one parent and one child.
I would like to add one more type of family council, the extended family council. Every year as part of our family reunion, my siblings and I meet together as a council to discuss any business needs of the family, family history, the next family reunion, and similar items of interest. When my husband’s parents were living and needing assistance, my husband, his brother, and his sister often met in council to decide the best way for caring for their parents.
After discussing his four types of family councils, Elder Ballard said, “Now, brothers and sisters, there was a time when the walls of our homes provided all the defense we needed against outside intrusions and influences. We locked the doors, closed the windows; we shut the gates; and we felt safe, secure, and protected in our own little refuge from the outside world.
“Those days are now gone. The physical walls, doors, fences, and gates of our homes cannot prevent unseen invasion from the Internet, the Wi-Fi, the mobile phones, the networks. They can penetrate our homes with just a few clicks and keystrokes.
“Fortunately, the Lord has provided a way to counter the invasion of negative technology that can distract us from spending quality time with each other. He has done this by providing the council system to strengthen, protect, safeguard, and nurture our most precious relationships.
“Children desperately need parents willing to listen to them, and the family council can provide a time during which family members can learn to understand and love one another….
“Finally, 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; and most of all they will assist us to be more successful and happy in our precious relationships, within the walls of our homes.”