Family Home Evening--David O. McKay

by | Jul. 26, 2006



"I never make a decision without asking myself, `How will I explain this to the Savior when I meet him?'"

(David O. McKay, as quoted in Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and William W. Slaughter, Prophets of the Latter-days, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003], p. 128.)


"A Child's Prayer," Children's Songbook,, p. 12.


And it is my will that you shall humble yourselves before me, and obtain this blessing by your diligence and humility and the prayer of faith.

(Doctrine and Covenants 104:79)

Highlights from the Life of David O. McKay:

1873: Born in Huntsville, Utah

1881: Father called on mission to Scotland. He became "the man of the house" at age 7.

1881: Baptized

1897: Graduated from the University of Utah

1897-99: Mission to Scotland

1899: Became teacher and Principal of Weber Stake Academy

1906: Ordained an Apostle

1922-1924: Served as President of Great Britain and European Mission

1951: Becomes President of the Church

1958: Dedicates the New Zealand temple

1970: Dies in Salt Lake City (age 96)

(Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and William W. Slaughter, Prophets of the Latter- days, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003], p. 120-21.)


David O. learned early, by experience, to trust in his Heavenly Father. It brought him comfort when he was afraid:

When [I was] a very young child in the home of my youth, I was fearful [one] night. Father was away with the herd or on some mission, [and] I could not sleep. I fancied I heard noises around the house. Mother was away in another room. Thomas E. [his younger brother] by my side was sleeping soundly. I became terribly fearful, and I decided that I would do as my parents had taught me to do--pray. I thought I could not pray without getting out of bed and kneeling, and that was a terrible test.

But I finally did bring myself to get out of bed and kneel and pray to God to protect Mother and the family. And a voice as clear to me as mine is to you said, "Don't be afraid. Nothing will hurt you." Where it came from, what it was, I am not saying. You may judge. To me it was a direct answer, and there came an assurance that I should never be hurt in bed at night.

When he was fourteen, David O. received his patriarchal blessing from John Smith, patriarch to the Church. The blessing contained important clues to the young man's future life. Among other things, the patriarch said:

Thou art in thy youth and need instruction, therefore I say unto thee, be taught of thy parents the way of life and salvation, that at an early day you may be prepared for a responsible position. The Lord has a work for thee to do, in which thou shalt see much of the world, assist in gathering scattered Israel and also labor in the ministry. It shall be thy lot to sit in council with thy brethren and preside among the people and exhort the Saints to faithfulness.

When the blessing was finished, the kindly patriarch put his hands on David O.'s already muscular shoulders and said, "My boy, you have something to do besides playing marbles." At first, David O. didn't understand what the patriarch meant by that comment. David O. went into the kitchen where his mother was preparing for dinner and said, "If he thinks I'm going to stop playing marbles, he is mistaken!" But his wise mother explained that what he meant that they things David O. was interested in now--like marbles and other boyhood games--would someday be put aside as he grew to manhood and became involved in much more important tasks.

(Susan Arrington Madsen, The Lord Needed a Prophet, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1996], p. 142-3.)


Explain that President McKay was well-known for a motto by lived by. While in Scotland as a Mission President he saw these words carved in stone: "Whate-er thou art, act well thy part." He took that as his personal motto and it gave him a lifelong sense of purpose.

President McKay is also known for saying, "No other success can compensate for failure in the home." This advice has helped many families set their priorities.

As a family, decide on a motto for your family to live by. On a large piece of poster paper create a family flag or coat of arms that contains your family's motto. Decorate it with your choice of crayons, markers, stickers, glitter, etc.


David O. McKay's Baked Apples

6 apples

1 cup brown, white, or maple sugar

Lemon juice




Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Wash and core apples. Fill center of each apple with 1 tablespoon sugar, sprinkling a little over the outside. Then sprinkle lemon juice and cinnamon, and dot butter. Place in deep casserole with a lid. Add enough water to cover bottom of baking dish. Cover and bake about 35 minutes or until tender. Remove apples and boil syrup remaining in casserole dish until thick. Pour syrup and thick bream over apples to serve. (If apples are baked uncovered, it is necessary to baste them during cooking.) Makes 6 servings.

(Lion House Desserts, [Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate, 2000], p. 53.)

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