I think that especially for busy Ward officers, family history can take on the aspect of being an intractable obstacle to getting all of their other commitments and responsibilities completed. I am guessing that dedicating time to entering information into an online computer program is very, very low on the list of demanding priorities. If you are facing a Primary Activity Day, a Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet, a Scout Super-activity, planning Young Women in Excellence or a Stake Trek Activity, you probably can easily justify not spending a lot of time, if any, doing boring old genealogy.
Despite these obstacles, it is more than apparent that the Church leaders and particularly the Church's genealogical support organization, FamilySearch, are making an increased effort to involve more and more members in their own family's history.
It is apparent that statistics could be used by FamilySearch and the Church to show immediate success in these efforts. For example, the percentage of participation of Church members in family history could be easily increased by simply using a broader definition of family history. If you define family history broadly enough, you can show that everyone in the Church is involved. Presently, family history activity in the Wards is defined by the reporting requirements of the Ward/Stake Quarterly Reports:
- Adults and youth who have submitted ancestor names for temple ordinances.
- Converts age 12 and older who have submitted ancestor names for temple ordinances.
These terms as defined as follows:
The term “submitter” is defined as anyone 12 years old or older who prints a Family Ordinance Request (FOR). Simply reserving a name for temple work in Family Tree is not counted as a temple submission. Nor are individual temple cards printed counted as submissions. This report does not show the number of names cleared for temple work, it only shows how many members have submitted 1 or more names.This is where the rubber hits the road so to speak. We are not talking about uploading photos or posting family stories, we are talking about submitting names for Temple ordinances. So the challenge is how to integrate activities that culminate in an increase in names submission for the Temples while, in a sense, competing for time in almost saturated schedules.
This will be accomplished only when the people involved in family history understand and integrate family history into the busy Ward schedule. Not in response to simply following the handbook and generating a good quarterly report, but from an understanding that genealogy and family history are not "just one more program." They are fundamental core values such as Temple attendance, Sacrament Meeting attendance and keeping specific commandments. Temple and family history work are inseparable. Family history is not just another class in Sunday School.