Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Role of the High Priests Group Leader in Family History

The High Priest Group Leaders in the Wards have a very specific calling and function in the Family History work in the Ward. Their basic responsibilities are outlined in the Leader Resources section of and in the Handbook 2, 5.4 where it says:
“Priesthood and auxiliary leaders teach members to participate in family history work by identifying their ancestral family members, requesting temple ordinances for them if needed, and providing these ordinances in the temple themselves if possible.”
The Family History Consultant's Guide also says:
Guidance from the High Priests Group Leader

The high priests group leader coordinates temple and family history work in the ward. (If your ward does not have a high priests group leader, the bishop assigns a member of the elders quorum presidency to do this.) He oversees your service as a family history consultant. If you need assistance or have questions about your responsibilities, he can help you. The high priests group leader reports in priesthood executive committee and ward council meetings on temple and family history activities. Under the direction of the bishop, members of the priesthood executive committee and ward council identify individuals and families for you to contact. The high priests group leader meets with you regularly to provide you with the names of members to contact, to discuss your progress in
helping members, and to provide counsel.
Of course, it is possible that the High Priest Group Leader in the Ward lacks the specific computer skills presently required to function in Family History callings, but this should not limit him from supporting the work of others and teaching and helping the Ward Members. The qualities of successful Family History Consultants are also those that will assist the High Priest Group Leader in his calling. These are stated in the Family History Consultant's Guide as follows:
Qualities of Successful Family History Consultants

You will be an effective family history consultant as you serve and love the members of your ward and patiently help them with their family history. You do not need to be an expert in family history research. Successful consultants are:
  • Skilled in teaching and working with members.
  • Comfortable using technology to help members with their family history.
  • Able to exercise good judgment and discretion when dealing with sensitive family matters.
(See “Temple and Family History Work” [handbook, 2006], 265.)
Family History work in the Ward works best when the activities are directed by the participation of the Ward Council. Quoting from an Ensign article entitled, "Family History: In Wisdom and Order" by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, he counsels,
Our efforts to promote temple and family history work should be such as to accomplish the work of the Lord, not to impose guilt on his children. . . . In the work of redeeming the dead there are many tasks to be performed, and . . . all members should participate by prayerfully selecting those ways that fit their personal circumstances at a particular time. This should be done under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord and with the guidance of priesthood leaders who issue calls and direct the Church-administered portions of this work. Our effort is not to compel everyone to do everything, but to encourage everyone to do something.

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