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The Friend is a magazine published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the children (ages 3-11) of the Church.
As early as 1894, the first President of the Primary asked the First Presidency of the Church for permission to publish a magazine for the leaders and teachers of the children of the Church. The First Presidency finally gave permission, but no funds were available to start the magazine, so Primary President Louise B. Felt used her home to raise money. At first the magazine was simply a teacher’s manual, but after a few years the Primary President decided to add a few stories and activities specifically for children.
In 1971, the Church changed their policy regarding publications and consolidated them into four magazines: the Ensign and Liahona Magazines for adults, the New Era for youth, and the Friend for children. The First Presidency took on the responsibility of printing them, so that they could be used as a way for the members to get information directly from the First Presidency.
President Gordon B. Hinckley said that the Friend should become a new friend to the children of the Church as well as children outside the Church. It is designed to uplift with its wonderful stories and teach eternal and marvelous gospel principles in a way that children can understand. The Friend magazine should be a blessing in every home it enters.
Like the other Church magazines, the underlying purposes of the Friend are:
- To strengthen the faith of Church members.
- To promulgate (proclaim) the truths of the restored gospel.
- To keep members [informed about] church policies, programs, and happenings.
- To entertain and enrich the lives of Church members.”
- (The First Presidency, 1971)
Today the Friend reaches out to the children of the Church directly, even those not involved with the Primary. It presents the gospel in a way that children can appreciate and it reinforces family values. The Friend contains gospel messages, inspirational stories, songs, and activities, as well as artwork and poems that children send in.
Subscriptions can be ordered online, by going to www.ldscatalog.com and clicking Subscribe. Issues of the Friend can also be obtained at any Church distribution center. Gift subscriptions can also be ordered. In some areas, magazines cannot be delivered directly to people’s homes. In these cases, the magazines are mailed to the local LDS ward or branch for distribution to its members. Full PDF versions of the Friend and other Church magazines are also available on the Church's website, www.lds.org