“Brazilian Youth Connect Family History, Temple Work,” Liahona, Oct. 2012, 74–75
José A. Moscão was noticing a trend: the youth who were coming to the Campinas Brazil Temple had a lot of “down time.”
Brother Moscão, the director of the family history center located adjacent to the temple, knew that because of the distance many youth had to travel to get to the temple, most came in caravans and stayed for several days. The time between their sessions in the baptistry and meals and waiting for their parents and leaders who were participating in other temple ordinances couldn’t be avoided.
But maybe, he thought, he could offer the youth an alternative to wandering the temple grounds whenever they had some free time.
So he did.
He began inviting youth into the center and offering to teach them how to do FamilySearch indexing.
At first some were shy or reluctant. But Brother Moscão said that when he spoke to them of rescuing people from darkness and bringing to light their names in obedience to the words of a living prophet, the youth were touched (see David A. Bednar, “The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2011, 24–27).
That the temple and the family history center are located within the same facility is significant; it underscores in a physical way that temple and family history work are two parts of one great effort. That, said George A. Oakes, Campinas Brazil Temple president, is something that the youth in the temple district are coming to learn.
“Prior to the emphasis on getting them involved in family history and indexing, their trip to the temple was mainly for the purpose of being baptized for the dead. Now indexing experiences are becoming part of their work,” he said.
When youth come into the center, Brother Moscão and the missionaries volunteering at the center cover the following principles in a brief, informal orientation:
They are becoming saviors on mount Zion (see Obadiah 1:21).
They are heeding the call of a prophet (see “The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn”).
They are rescuing people from darkness—the darkness of long-forgotten films and the dusty books of registry offices and churches. Indexing brings those names to light and makes them searchable so that their families can find them.
In joining this work, they will be participating in another aspect of “the most glorious of all subjects belonging to the everlasting gospel, namely, the baptism for the dead” (D&C 128:17).
They will be using their time in the great work of redeeming the dead, which blesses families.
All of us are part of the family of God, so in indexing the names of people they do not know, they are still helping their family.
Once they understand how to participate in indexing, they have an opportunity to teach their family members and other young people in their wards and branches to participate too.
Brother Moscão and the missionaries then use the center’s computers to show teens how to start indexing and how to install and use the software when they get home. Once they understand, Brother Moscão said, they “begin to index with a force like no other.”
The numbers reflect that enthusiasm. In the first two months of 2012, visitors indexed 6,370 names; 3,305 of those were indexed by youth ages 12 to 18. In fact, to accommodate the growing interest in indexing, the Campinas family history center often extends its regular hours of 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and stays open as late as 10:00 p.m.
But the youth aren’t leaving indexing behind when they leave the temple. When they get home, they continue their role in what Brother Moscão calls “the army of more than 170,000 active indexers that the Church has today.” Many are meeting goals for Duty to God and Personal Progress with their indexing work.
Earlier this year, Isabela A., age 16, of Vila Velha, Espírito Santo, Brazil, traveled with her mother and sister to the temple; the last day of the trip was the one-year anniversary of her grandmother’s death. Isabela was baptized for her grandmother, and her mother did the other temple ordinances for her.
“I felt during this trip that I needed to do something good,” explained Isabela. “I wanted to learn to index, and I received help from Brother José Moscão.
“Then, when I was being baptized for my grandmother, the Spirit touched me deeply. I realized there were many people beyond the veil waiting endlessly, and they needed my help. I realized I could give a bit of my time to serve and that I could do a lot for these people. Indexing is a labor of love.”