“If I were a bishop again, my approach would be to charge the high priests group leader with the responsibility to lead out in the ward council on this subject. I would ensure that we had one or more … family history consultants who were ‘people persons’ who could work under his direction” (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Religious Educator, vol. 6, no. 2 (2005), 10–11).
To increase the likelihood of success, call consultants who are skilled teachers. They should be able to communicate well, relate easily, and kindle faith in others. While consultants do not need to be experts in family history research, they should be comfortable using the resources at FamilySearch.org and helping others to use them.
"Organize your youth and ward council to focus on family history. Make it a priority to help youth find their own names to take to the temple. Call young men and young women as family history consultants. Aim for at least three. Assign them to focus on helping new converts and recently reactivated members with their family history. But don’t just make the assignments and then leave the consultants alone—make sure the high priests group leader and ward council follow up with consultants regularly. If you do this, you will see how the Spirit of the Lord will bless those you serve” (L. Whitney Clayton, “Blessings to the Living through Family History,” RootsTech 2015).
Here is a summary of key temple and family history roles with links to additional training and resources:
- Elders quorum president: Coordinates the ward council’s efforts to strengthen eternal family bonds through temple and family history service in the ward. Directs the work of temple and family history consultants in the ward and ensures that they are trained in personalized one on one experiences to help others with their family history.
- Temple and family history consultant: Temple and family history consultants have the primary responsibility to proactively help members have personalized, one-on-one experiences finding their ancestors, performing temple ordinances on behalf of those ancestors, and teaching their family members or friends to do the same. Some temple and family history consultants at the area, stake, or ward level may be assigned to support indexing efforts, serve in the family history center, or train other temple and family history consultants.
“Learning how to do family history work can seem daunting. What matters for all of us is that we proceed with faith from where we are. I encourage you to see yourself as someone who helps kindle the faith by which members do this work, not just as a person who teaches skills. Family history is a work of faith” (Elder L. Whitney Clayton, Family History Consultant Fireside, Nov. 8, 2007).