In front of more than 4,000 youth at the 2014 RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City this past February, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued a challenge: “My challenge for you is to prepare as many names for the temple as you perform baptisms in the temple.”
In an effort to help LDS youth around the world complete this challenge, the Church recently released a number of helpful tools online at templechallenge.lds.org.
Irinna Danielson, product manager with the Member and Patron Outreach Division of the Family History Department, said, “After giving the message, Elder Andersen wanted to make sure that youth around the world who weren’t in the convention hall heard about the challenge and had an opportunity to accept.”
On July 1, 2014, the youth temple challenge was extended worldwide with the launch of the website templechallenge.lds.org.The site basically introduces the recently introduced Descendancy View in FamilySearch.org Family Tree. Apparently, the new Descendancy View searches the Family Tree for individuals who qualify for Temple ordinances but do not have duplicates. If an individual appears to have Temple Ordinances available, but has a duplicate in the system. Clicking on the link will take you to the merge function rather than releasing the individual for ordinances.
There was an interesting quote in the LDSChurch News article:
Finding family names can be difficult, especially if a family has completed a lot of work already. “FamilySearch is working hard to get rid of barriers by creating technology that makes doing family history work easier than ever,” said Sister Danielson. For example, the new descendancy tool at FamilySearch.org is for those who think all of their family’s temple work is done.
“The descendancy tool helps us look beyond our direct lines to our cousins, where many more ancestors are waiting. It can be a powerful tool in the hands of our youth for quickly searching out our distant ancestors,” said Jim Greene, member outreach manager for the Family History Department. The new tool, along with a how-to video, can be found at familysearch.org.This is one of the first times I have seen a public acknowledgement that researching family history can be difficult. But I do see this particular emphasis as very positive. The Descendancy View can be used by any member to find families that need more research. This helps to overcome the idea that all the Temple work has been done.