In order to have a better understanding of what helps a ward experience success in their family history and temple efforts, the Family History Department surveys priesthood leaders and area family history advisers to ask a variety of questions that focus on what brings about successful family history results in their local unit. Below are some suggestions from priesthood leaders and family history advisers across the country.
The Seven Actions of Greatest Impact
In a fall 2012 study of bishops from 360 wards in the United States, seven actions were identified, that, if performed at a high level, could more than double the percentage of adults submitting names to the temple. These seven actions were:
- Ward leaders made the Leaders Guide to Temple and Family History: To Turn the Hearts part of their ward plan
- Youth were called as Family history consultants
- Family history consultants were assigned to help new converts prepare the names of their ancestors to take to the temple
- Family history classes were held at least every three months within the ward
- Ward leaders reported at least monthly on family history activities in priesthood executive committee (PEC)
- A process was actively implemented for performing ordinances submitted by ward members
- Wards had at least three active ward family history consultants
On average, wards doing at least five of the seven significant actions at a high-level more than doubled the submitting participation of wards doing none of the seven actions at a high level.
Suggestions for Youth Involvement
- Start with the youth. The adults will eventually become involved when they see their children getting involved.
- In stake and ward meetings, ask youth to share their experiences of researching an ancestor and doing the temple work.
- Call youth to serve as family history consultants.
- Tie temple and family history to youth conferences and treks.
- Tie temple and family history to YW Recognition and YM Duty to God activities.
- Tie all teaching to the doctrine taught in the scriptures, Handbook 2: Administering the Church, and the words of the living prophets.
- Help priesthood leaders experience both halves of the temple experience (“A Temple Motivated People,” President Howard W. Hunter, Ensign, Feb 1995).
- Focus teaching on the promises of protection described by Elder Scott, Elder Bednar, President Packer, and others.
- Priesthood leaders have personal interviews with members to challenge them to action.
- Consistently have temple and family history on meeting and council agendas.
- The high councilor over family history trains each high priests group leader individually.
- Stake presidents ask high priests group leaders to report on temple and family history work during priesthood interviews.
- Keep the message before the members constantly by using newsletters, ward bulletins, bulletin boards, etc.
- Priesthood leaders issue challenges or goals and then report on progress toward reaching the goal.
- Have effective family history consultants train other consultants.
- The high councilor assigned to temple and family history work follows up to ensure that all consultants are trained.
- Share the concepts taught in the recent First Presidency letter. Online training is available to help.
- Always involve the priesthood. Respect their keys and stewardship.
- Ensure that training for priesthood leaders is not too proscriptive. Each leader can receive revelation as to how to go forward in his stewardship.
- Consider the principles taught in Elder Oaks’ article, “Family History in Wisdom and Order”, published in the June 1989 Ensign.
- New online training resources are made available on a regular basis. Get online so you know what’s there.
- Encourage indexing as a gateway to family history research and an opportunity for members and the community to serve.
- Ensure that your activity is sustainable over time.