New Leader’s Guide to Temple and Family History Work Helps Change Lives, Build Eternal Families

  Philip M. Volmar, Church News and Events

  • 6 December 2011

The new To Turn the Hearts training materials include a guidebook and accompanying DVD that teach leaders and family history consultants how to use family history initiatives to assist in achieving local priesthood objectives, such as missionary work and member retention.

Article Highlights

  • The Family History Department has created a new training resource called To Turn the Hearts, which includes a 25-page guidebook and accompanying DVD that help leaders and family history consultants use family history to assist in priesthood objectives.
  • Five copies of the guidebook and one DVD have been sent to each Church unit.
  • The guidebook will be translated into 25 additional languages in 2012. An English PDF version is available online now.

“This is not a function of simply the leaders in Springfield. Although they are excellent and inspired, … these promises, these spiritual outcomes, are available to all who seek the appropriate inspiration. These results are replicable all over the world.” —Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

In November 2010 the Springfield First Ward council in the Springfield Illinois (USA) Stake decided to invite a newly reactivated family, the Michael and Jessica Dauphinee family, to meet with ward family history consultants. With encouragement from priesthood leaders and the consultants, the Dauphinees, who hadn’t yet been to the temple, intently began searching out their ancestors to submit their names for sacred temple ordinances.

As the family prepared to do the work of their ancestors at the temple, they were also preparing themselves for the temple, demonstrating that family history and proxy temple work aren’t just about redeeming the dead. Work for the living and the dead are both part of the work of salvation.

Now, more than a year and dozens of ancestors’ names later, the Dauphinees are preparing to be sealed to each other and to their two little children in the St. Louis Missouri Temple, helping to fulfill—for them and for their ancestors—the scriptural declaration that “we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect” (see D&C 128:18).

A Guide Designed to Bless Families

Three other stories from the Springfield Illinois Stake are highlighted in a new, landmark training guide titled To Turn the Hearts, a resource created for priesthood leaders and Church family history consultants. The training resources are aimed at assisting leaders, as happened in the Springfield First Ward, in identifying and helping families and individuals research their family history while concurrently preparing them to make and keep temple covenants.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who speaks in a two-minute interview included in the guide’s accompanying DVD, said, “This is not a function of simply the leaders in Springfield. Although they are excellent and inspired, … these promises, these spiritual outcomes, are available to all who seek the appropriate inspiration. These results are replicable all over the world.”

The To Turn the Hearts resources include a 25-page guidebook, written and designed similarly to Preach My Gospel, with accompanying quotes from Church leaders and margins in which to write notes; an accompanying training DVD that highlights four families from the Springville Illinois Stake who demonstrate the results of inspired family history and temple work efforts; and a website that presently includes the guidebook and the DVD videos.

A Work Worthy of the Temple

While family history is and has been a focus of the Church’s mission since the Prophet Joseph Smith revealed the temple work doctrine in 1842 (see D&C 127), the new To Turn the Hearts materials don’t create additional work for leaders. Rather, they guide leaders to accomplish what is already being asked of them, said Jim Greene, marketing manager for FamilySearch, a part of the Family History Department.

“This is not another Church program,” he said. “The guidebook is an additional arrow to put in the quiver to help leaders in the work of salvation.”

The printed guide contains four chapters, each focusing on considerations and suggestions designed to help stake, district, ward, branch, and area leaders use family history initiatives to achieve the following priesthood objectives:

  • Missionary work
  • Convert retention
  • Member activation
  • Teaching the gospel

The accompanying videos, available on the To Turn the Hearts DVD, were produced in a style similar to reality television shows, where scenes are unscripted and people are filmed as themselves in their local communities. The DVD enables viewers to share in the lives of four families and watch as the blessings of family history work unfold under priesthood guidance over a nine-month period.

Brother Greene, who helped produce the new training materials, said that he believes the videos in To Turn the Hearts will inspire leaders and others around the Church.

“We’re hoping people will see that family history is something to feel joy about,” he said. “That joy comes through members taking names to the temple—to save not only themselves, but their ancestors as well.”

He added, “The act of becoming worthy to go to the temple is a saving act.”

Availability of To Turn the Hearts Materials

A PDF version of the guidebook, currently available only in English, can be downloaded online. In November, Church Distribution Services sent five English copies of the To Turn the Hearts guidebook and a DVD to each English-speaking Church unit. Units and individuals may order additional guidebooks and DVDs at the LDS Online Store in early 2012.

The guidebook and accompanying DVD will be available online in Spanish and Portuguese by the end of this year. In early 2012 the guidebook will be available in 25 additional languages: Cambodian, Chinese and Simplified Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Fijian, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kiribati, Korean, Marshallese, Mongolian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Tongan, and Ukrainian.