Throughout the years Dad and Mama have given us a great deal of excellent counsel, some of which was meant to be taken as actual rules that the Family was expected to follow. However, much of their counsel was given for particular and specific situations, so when published for the worldwide Family, such counsel was intended more as guidelines, which were to be applied as individual situations warranted it.
         Because it wasn't always specified in the Letters which were intended to be hard and fast rules and which were guidelines, there has been a diversity in what was applied or not applied in the Homes; though for the most part, the Homes have attempted to implement most of this counsel as rules. We found over 600 such rules/guidelines throughout our pubs.
         In addition to these 600 "rules," the Homes or local areas would originate local or area-wide rules, which members were expected to obey. These local rules were usually implemented for a good reason. However, often later when these rules became unnecessary in another given situation, they were still being enforced simply because they remained "on the books," so to speak.
         So in order to clarify and standardize our rules
throughout the Family, we have compiled the "Fundamental Family Rules." We have reviewed the rules and guidelines in the Letters, and have chosen only those that we feel should be rules for everyone. Any "rules" that are not included in the "Fundamental Family Rules" are not to be viewed as overall Family rules.
         This does not mean that the counsel from the Letters that we have not included should be ignored, or that it no longer applies. The counsel in the Letters
still very much applies, and should be implemented as needed in your personal and local situations. The point is, however, that you are not going to be penalized or disciplined if you don't. Counsel or "rules" not included in the "Fundamental Family Rules" are left up to you as individuals and Homes to pray, counsel and decide upon as far as their implementation.
         To cite an example: For some time there has been a standing indoor/outdoor shoe rule. We have not included this in the "Fundamental Family Rules." Therefore, if your Home decides not to implement indoor/outdoor shoes, the VS
cannot say that you are "breaking the rules," because you are not.
doesn't mean that every Home should now stop using indoor/outdoor shoes. Although in some situations this policy may not be necessary, it remains a good idea, especially if you have young children who play on the floor, or live in a culture that would be offended if you did not, but that decision is up to the Home's voting members to make. If your Home decides to discontinue using indoor/outdoor shoes, and your young children who crawl on the floor become sick, then it is your Home which must determine whether or not the dirty floors may have been the cause, and whether or not you want to re-evaluate your decision to dispense with indoor/outdoor shoes.
         The "Fundamental Family Rules" list
all of our Family rules. These rules now replace all previous rules, such as, and including, the "DTR Rules" and so forth.
         The "Fundamental Family Rules" are sub-divided into 20 categories, and these categories fall either under
behavioral-type rules or procedural-type rules. Behavioral rules, which are listed first, are those rules that cover our actions, while procedural rules cover matters such as elections, Home size, etc.

         We have rules for reasons! God has rules for reasons. What are they for? Just to make it hard for you? Just because God's mean to you and He doesn't want you to have any fun? What are the rules for? Are they because God hates you and He doesn't want you to enjoy yourself? He's a loving parent who knows the danger, and therefore He makes the rules because He loves you and wants to protect you and keep you, and He wants you to keep the rules to help keep yourself! (ML #1591:16.)

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family