Frequently Asked Questions


Why are the names of the family history callings changing?

What is the purpose of personalized family history experiences? I have been teaching classes for many years and it seems to work well.

What is the organization structure and responsibilities of temple and family history consultants?

I have been doing family history for many years. Why is it suggested that I have a personalized family history experience at the beginning of my service in this calling?

Should I release all the people currently serving in family history callings in my unit?

The calling(s) did not change in the online directory; it still has the old title. What does that mean?

I have been stake indexing director. Does this mean I’m being released? What about the stake family history center director?

Does this mean that indexing is less important now?

Should assistant stake indexing directors or assistant family history center directors assigned to particular wards be released and called again as a ward temple and family history consultant with an indexing assignment or family history center assignment?

Where can I go to receive updated training for my family history calling?

Since there are no longer family history center directors, does this mean family history centers are closing?

How does this change affect the nonmember volunteers at family history centers?

Should the role and activities of family history centers change?

Does this mean we can no longer teach family history classes?


Why are the names of the family history callings changing?

There are several reasons for the name change. The first reason is to emphasize the close relationship between temple service and family history. These two actions, while both worthy unto themselves, offer the greatest blessings when done together as a part of the work of salvation (First Presidency letter, Oct. 8, 2012). Temple and family history consultants should make every effort to help teach others to make sure all family members they find receive saving ordinances in the temple.

Another reason for the change is to align the family history organization throughout the Church and simplify the purpose and role of the calling. The first responsibility of all temple and family history consultants is to provide personalized one-on-one family history experiences that invite the Spirit and enable individuals and families to perform temple ordinances for their ancestral family members (Handbook 2: Administering the Church [2010], 5.4.4). These experiences should allow the patron the opportunity to learn in the context of their own family tree.

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What is the purpose of personalized family history experiences? I have been teaching classes for many years and it seems to work well.

The Savior taught individuals and loved them one by one. As representatives of His work of salvation, temple and family history consultants should prayerfully seek guidance to help individuals and families understand the principles of family history while building connections with their ancestors. Teaching people about family history in the context of their own ancestors and teaching them in a simple way allows them to learn and grow in their understanding of family history and temple service in a safe and loving environment with a friend to help them. By providing personalized family history experiences, the patron and consultant are best able to “understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together” (D&C 50:22). Powerful, spiritual experiences will come to you and those you teach as you apply the six principles for helping others love family history.

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What is the organization structure and responsibilities of temple and family history consultants?

The following information can be used as a guide to help you understand your responsibility in the family history work of salvation. You may also reference Handbook 2: Administering the Church, 5.4.

Ward consultant | High priests group leader | Ward council | Bishop | Stake consultant | High councilor | Stake president | Area consultant | Area Seventy | Area President


Ward temple and family history consultant

Prayerfully consider who you might help with family history. Coordinate with the high priests group leader.

Proactively assist members with personalized, one-on-one, spiritual experiences in:

  • Finding their ancestors.
  • Performing temple ordinances on behalf of their ancestors.
  • Teaching their family members to do the same.

May also be assigned to work in a family history center or to lead ward indexing efforts.

Directed and Trained by: High priests group leader

Assisted by: Stake temple and family history consultant


High priests group leader

Provide assignments and training to consultants.

Work with the bishopric and ward council to integrate family history into ward plans and objectives. Direct the work of the ward temple and family history consultants.

Recommend individuals to serve as ward temple and family history consultants to the bishop.

Directed and Trained by: High councilor

Assisted by: Stake temple and family history consultant


Ward council

Counsel together to identify individuals and families who need help with family history.

Counsel together to identify individuals and families for consultants to help with family history.

Incorporate temple and family history work into annual activity and teaching schedules. Seek to involve the youth in family history.

Directed and Trained by: High priests group leader

Assisted by: High councilor; Stake temple and family history consultant


Bishop

Provide family history training and support to ward consultants.

Lead temple and family history work in the ward.

Call ward temple and family history consultants.

Work with high priests group leader to engage the ward council in blessing the lives of ward members through family history and temple work.

Directed and Trained by: Stake president

Assisted by: High councilor; Stake temple and family history consultant


Stake temple and family history consultant

Support temple and family history efforts in the stake.

Proactively assist ward temple and family history consultants with personalized, one-on-one, spiritual experiences in:

  • Finding their ancestors.
  • Performing temple ordinances on ancestors’ behalf.
  • Teaching their family and ward members to do the same.

May be given a specific assignment to direct or serve in a family history center, lead stake indexing efforts, or facilitate stake family history activities and events.

Directed and Trained by: High councilor

Assisted by: Area temple and family history consultant


High councilor assigned to family history

Work with stake presidency and stake councils to integrate family history into stake plans and objectives, and coordinate the work.

Recommend individuals for stake and family history consultant callings. Organize indexing efforts and family history center operations.

Directed and Trained by: Stake president

Assisted by: Area temple and family history consultants; Stake temple and family history consultants


Stake president

Lead temple and family history work in the stake.

Work with high counselor to organize and coordinate the work.

Engage the stake councils in integrating family history in stake plans and objectives.

Directed and Trained by: Area Seventy

Assisted by: Area temple and family history consultant


Area temple and family history consultant

Proactively assist stake presidencies, high councilors over family history, and stake temple and family history consultants with personalized, one-on-one, spiritual experiences in finding their ancestors, performing temple ordinances on their behalf, and teaching their family and local leaders to do the same.

Assist Area Seventy in achieving area family history objectives. Generally assigned to one or more coordinating councils.

May be given a specific assignment to direct the family history centers within a region.

Directed and Trained by: Area Seventy

Assisted by: Family history area manager


Area Seventy

Direct temple and family history work in one or more coordinating council.

Call and direct area temple and family history consultants to provide training and support to stake presidencies, high councilors, and stake temple and family history consultants.

Directed and Trained by: Area President

Assisted by: Family history area manager


Area President

Direct temple and family history work in an area. Incorporate family history in the area plan and objectives.

Call and direct Area Seventies to preside over one or more coordinating councils to accomplish area temple and family history goals.

Directed and Trained by: Seven Presidents of the Seventy

Assisted by: Family history area manager; Family history department leadership

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I have been doing family history for many years. Why is it suggested that I have a personalized family history experience at the beginning of my service in this calling?

The purpose of having a personalized family history experience at the beginning of your calling is to model for you how to prepare and teach personalized one-on-one family history experiences. You may have more genealogical experience than the person preparing your experience, but they are trained in the best practices of temple and family history consultants.

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Should I release all the people currently serving in family history callings in my unit?

No general release should be issued. Members serving in the following callings will have their titles switched in the Leader and Clerk Resources system:

  • Area family history advisers will be changed to area temple and family history consultants.
  • Stake family history center directors and assistant directors will be changed to stake temple and family history consultants.
  • Stake indexing directors and assistant directors will be changed to stake temple and family history consultants.
  • Ward consultants will be changed to ward temple and family history consultants.

Priesthood leaders should prayerfully consider who should be called as temple and family history consultants. Extensive family history experience is not a requirement for success in these callings.

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The calling(s) did not change in the online directory; it still has the old title. What does that mean?

Your stake or ward clerk may have created a customized calling title for you. Work with him to have it changed to the standard calling of ward or stake temple and family history consultant with the correct assignment. Doing so will ensure that you receive the necessary rights in the system.

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I have been stake indexing director. Does this mean I’m being released? What about the stake family history center director?

The title of your calling is now a stake temple and family history consultant with the secondary assignment to focus on building the indexing program in your stake.

Likewise, the stake family history center director is also a stake temple and family history consultant with the secondary focus on running the family history center.

All stake temple and family history consultants have the primary responsibility to provide personalized one-on-one family history experiences for those they work with. Consult with your priesthood leaders to determine how best to put that into practice.

For example, you may decide to give the indexers instruction on finding family names and providing temple ordinances for them. For those who already have received that personalized experience in finding their ancestors, you may choose to give them a personalized experience in discovering the blessings of indexing.

Family history centers are a great place to hold personalized family history experiences. Those experiences should be a central priority in organizing the efforts of the family history center. Each person helping to staff the center should be given a personalized family history experience as they begin their service and be taught to provide those prayerfully driven experiences to patrons that visit the center.

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Does this mean that indexing is less important now?

No. Indexing is critical to the hints that help build the Family Tree and help enable personalized family history experiences. All consultants should be aware of the importance of indexing as part of the total family history experience.

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Should assistant stake indexing directors or assistant family history center directors assigned to particular wards be released and called again as a ward temple and family history consultant with an indexing assignment or family history center assignment?

In the Leader and Clerk Resource system, all assistant directors will migrate to temple and family history consultants. It isn’t necessary for them to be released or to receive a new calling.

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Where can I go to receive updated training for my family history calling?

Temple and family history consultant training can be found in the My Callings section of LDS.org or the Temple and Family History section of the Gospel Library app. You can also ask for training from your parent organization through your priesthood leader.

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Since there are no longer family history center directors, does this mean family history centers are closing?

Family history centers will continue as an important aspect of the Church’s family history efforts, and there has been no change in the function or purpose of centers. With the change in calling name, members who have been serving as a family history center director continue to operate the center as usual, and they counsel with their priesthood leaders regarding their assignment. One or more stake temple and family history consultants will be assigned to lead family history center operations, in addition to their primary responsibility.

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How does this change affect the nonmember volunteers at family history centers?

Nonmember volunteers provide invaluable service in family history centers. There should be no change in the status or service offered by nonmember volunteers.

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Should the role and activities of family history centers change?

Although the previous calling of family history center director has changed to temple and family history consultant, the role and purpose of family history centers remain the same.

As discussed in the Family History Center Operations Guide, family history centers help Church members fulfill their divinely appointed responsibility to discover their families and submit their names for temple ordinances.

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Does this mean we can no longer teach family history classes?

The primary responsibility of temple and family history consultants is to proactively assist Church members with a personalized, one-on-one family history experience in finding their ancestors, performing temple ordinances on behalf of those ancestors, and teaching their families to do the same.

Family history classes can be an important way to inspire members to begin their family history and to work with a temple and family history consultant through a personalized experience. The following family history lesson is available for a combined Sunday lesson, youth night, or other activities: https://www.lds.org/topics/family-history/sunday-lesson?lang=eng.

Family history is best taught to beginners in a one-on-one format, allowing them to learn contextually what they need to know to add to their own family tree. Large classes in research, using FamilySearch and other genealogical methodology, should be taught to those who are looking to advance their general family history knowledge.

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