Four Ways Temple and Family History Consultants and Leaders Can Reach Goals

Contributed By Ryan Morgenegg, Church News staff writer

  • 10 March 2017

A temple and family history consultant helps an individual on a one-on-one basis.

Article Highlights

  • 1. Obtain leaders’ support and provide personalized help.
  • 2. Use the family history leadership guide.
  • 3. Access the family history leadership report.
  • 4. Use the consultant planner.

“The Lord is hastening His work, and the tools and capabilities available are being poured out to us through His Spirit.” —Rodney DeGiulio, senior vice president over FamilySearch records

Temple and family history consultants are hidden gems for helping members with their family history, according to the vice president over FamilySearch records, who listed four ways consultants and their leaders can be more successful in their responsibilities with family history.

“In just the past five years the number of people participating in family history has tripled,” said Rodney DeGiulio, senior vice president over FamilySearch records, during a RootsTech 2017 class for Church members involved in family history work.

“Temple and family history work are a family responsibility,” he said. “Gathering and sealing multigenerational families invokes family connections on both sides of the veil.”

Brother DeGiulio suggested four ways temple and family history consultants and local stake and ward priesthood leaders can find success in bringing the blessings of God to as many of His children as possible:

1. Obtain leaders’ support and provide personalized help.

Temple and family history consultants need to understand the significance of their callings, he said. “The recent change in the name [of the calling] is a refocusing to the primary responsibility of helping members gather their families into the tree and into the temple through temple ordinances. Emphasis is placed on assisting individuals and families on a personalized basis.”

Individuals and couples in family history callings don't need to be experienced genealogists or researchers, he said. These individuals should be warm and friendly individuals who are committed to the principles of the gospel and have an appreciation for the importance of families and the temple.

Brother DeGiulio invited Sue and John Laing, temple and family history consultants serving in the Salt Lake City Utah Stake for more than four years, to share their experiences.

In an effort to help bishops get their ward council leadership involved in family history work, the Laings met twice a year with representatives from all auxiliaries and the bishop and his counselors to discuss family history goals for the stake, provide training, and discuss challenges.

“We’ve seen an increase in the number of submitters and even seen some new indexers come on board,” said Brother Laing. “In an effort to reach our stake goals set late in the year, we had family history consultants meeting one-on-one with individuals during Sunday School or at members’ homes.”

Sister Laing said one of the most important lessons they learned was the need to have “family history goals set by the stake presidency coupled with their full support” at the stake and ward levels.

2. Use family history leadership guide.

The second way to increase success is for consultants and priesthood leaders to use the new family history leadership guide found in the Gospel Library app. Brother DeGiulio said this tool will help those with family history callings at all levels and can be printed out if needed.

Using water as an analogy, he said the guide is designed for “wading, swimming, or diving into the content.” The app includes training materials, searchable topics, links to additional content, and a chart of current family history callings in the stake.

3. Access family history leadership report.

Brother DeGiulio said the third way to increase success is for priesthood leaders to access the new family history leadership report. “What can priesthood leaders do to help more members participate?” he asked. “We went out and surveyed hundreds of priesthood leaders all over the world and asked them what they needed to help hasten the work of family history in their area. I am pleased to announce the availability of a new report that can be accessed by all priesthood leaders.”

The new report shows the number of members in the stake submitting names on a yearly basis and the percentage of members with the first four generations of ancestors completed in the Family Tree program. It also measures the number of members logging into FamilySearch.org, the number of members participating in family history activities, and year-to-date submitters for each unit in the stake.

4. Use consultant planner.

The fourth way to increase success in temple and family history work is for consultants to use the consultant planner available on FamilySearch.org under the help others/get help menu, said Brother DeGiulio. It gives consultants the current level of family history activity in their ward and stake. It helps consultants research and find ancestors for specific members by accessing available records (currently more than 1 billion).

Consultants can also use the tool to prepare 30-minute personalized lessons when meeting with members, in addition to recording all of the notes and progress made during visits, he said. With permission, consultants can even access specific family history information for members they work with to help move the work along.

“Elder Cook called this period of time ‘the most blessed time of this dispensation,’” said Brother DeGiulio. “The Lord is hastening His work, and the tools and capabilities available are being poured out to us through His Spirit.”