Sunday Lesson: Family History Stories

This outline is for a Sunday lesson to be taught under priesthood direction in a combined group of Melchizedek Priesthood holders, Relief Society sisters, and youth and singles 12 years and older.


In preparing for the lesson, it will be helpful to click on the following links and watch the videos suggested for this lesson.  Download those you will use.

It will also be helpful to:

  • Read the New York Times article, "The Stories That Bind Us."
  • Review the booklet, My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together.
  • Prayerfully decide which discussion questions you would like to use.

 

1. INTRODUCTION

Begin with prayer.

Explain that the family history experience has changed.  The objective of today’s class is to introduce members to a new approach that includes:

  • Working together as families in their homes on their family history.
  • Using the Church’s website FamilySearch.org that has been redesigned to be easier to use anywhere on any device.
  • Using the booklet My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together, which is an easier way for families and youth to get started doing family history.  
  • Receiving help from the family history consultant and high priests group leader. Introduce these leaders to the class. 

2. USING FAMILY HISTORY TO INVOLVE YOUTH

Watch: Now I’m Converted

 

  Download

Discussion Questions:

Q: What insights does this video provide concerning our youth’s ability to organize and carry out family history?
A: Youth are very capable of organizing and conducting family history efforts activities. The program shown in the video was run by youth and for youth. 

Q: How did the youth influence their families?
A: The youths’ involvement motivated their families to get involved with family history.

Q: What was the effect on the youth, parents, and the stake? 
A: The youth gained testimonies and became converted to the gospel. Adult family history involvement and temple attendance increased. The stake president reported it improved missionary efforts and strengthened families.

 

3. FAMILY HISTORY CAN STRENGTHEN FAMILIES 

Watch: He Was a Blacksmith

 

  Download

Discussion Questions:

Q: Where did the family work on their family history?
A: In the home.

Q: What did you observe about the family history consultants?
A: The consultants involved the entire family. They focused on helping the Morrisons bond with their ancestors instead of emphasizing genealogical research. 

Q: How did the consultants help the Morrisons get involved in family history work?
A: By having the children act out a play about one of their ancestors.

Q: What changes did you notice in Brother Morrison by the end of the video?
A: His heart was turned, and he truly wanted to do temple work for his ancestor. 

Q: How can stories help with family history?
A: They can help us understand who our ancestors were and in return help us understand who we are.  This can inspire us to do temple work for our ancestors.

Share and Discuss: New York Times article, "The Stories That Bind Us"    Complete Article   Summary

Discussion Questions:

Q: Fill in the blank. When a team of psychologists measure children’s resilience, they found that kids who _____________ were best able to handle stress:

  • a. Ate breakfast together every day
  • b. Knew the most about their family’s history
  • c. Played team sports
  • d. Attend regular religious service

A: The correct answer is b.  These children understand that they belong to something bigger than themselves. 

Q: The stories of our ancestors can convey important messages about life.  Which of the following messages is the healthiest for a child to understand? 

  • a. Our ancestors were poor when they came to this country. They worked hard and prospered. So will you.
  • b. Our family was well off until they were swindled in a business deal. They lost everything, and our family has struggled ever since.  
  • c. Over the years our family has had its ups and downs. But through it all, we’ve stuck together

A: The correct answer is c.  The most resilient children are those that understand that families naturally experience both highs and lows.

Q: What can your family do to build a “strong family narrative”?
A: Tell family history stories as often as possible to your children. 

Invite a participant to share a family story.

 

4. TOOLS TO CAPTURE FAMILY HISTORY AND STORIES

FamilySearch.org Photos and Stories

Note: During this activity members may ask questions about how to sign in to FamilySearch.org or how to recover forgotten IDs. See page 11 of this outline for detailed instructions.  

Watch: It’s about the Dash

 

  Download

Discussion Questions:

Q: According to Elder Foster, what is the difference between family history and genealogy?  
A: Genealogy tends to be about the information relating to places, lineage, and such milestones as birth, marriage, and death.  Family history is the "dash"—the stories, memories, and family traits that make us feel connected to our ancestors and often turn our hearts.

Q: What impressed you most about the photos and stories experience?
A: The updated experience on FamiySearch.org is now easier and allows people of all ages to participate. The experience is collaborative, and you can share photos and stories with other family members.

Q: What effect did the photos and stories of his ancestors have on Elder Foster? 
A: They helped turn his heart and connect him to his great-grandfather. They inspired him to think about what he wants his children and great-grandchildren to know about him. 

My Family Stories That Bring Us Together Booklet

Watch: Watching My Grandson Play Ball

 

  Download

Discussion Questions:

Q: What did you learn from Elder Callister about recording stories about your ancestors? 
A: Stories can make our ancestors seem more real. Our children can learn from our ancestors’ examples and experiences.

Q: How can the My Family Stories That Bring Us Together booklet help you with family history?
A: The booklet is an easy way to start recording your family stories. The stories can be added to FamilySearch, and information in them can lead to temple ordinances.

Pass out the My Family Stories That Bring Us Together booklets to those who would like them.

 

5. CONCLUSION

Invite your ward members to fulfill their divinely appointed responsibility to search out their ancestors and ensure that they receive their sacred temple ordinances. Members can start by filling out the My Family: Stories the Bring Us Together booklet and then entering the information into FamilySearch.org. Members can also ask their family history consultant or someone else to help them enter the information.

Close with prayer.