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

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mentoring Family History in the Church

There is a crucial passage in the Leader's Guide to Temple and Family History Work, To Turn the Hearts, referencing the duties of the Ward Family History Consultant:
Consultants take the initiative to reach out to members, especially those who are not comfortable using technology, by: 
  • Helping a few individuals or families at a time to work on their own family history so they can perform temple ordinances for their deceased relatives. The most effective place to do this is in members’ homes. The ward council could determine specific individuals or families for the consultant to work with. The high priests group leader assigns these families to the consultant.
The Ward Family History Consultant is not called to "teach a family history class." There is nothing in the description of the duties of a Ward Family History Consultant that mention the family history class. In fact, the Leader's Guide talks about a family history class in conjunction with activation and new members of the Church. Here is the section from the Leader's Guide that addresses classes:
Members of the ward council help the bishop ensure that the doctrines, principles, and blessings of family history and temple work are taught regularly in ward meetings. They encourage members to receive their own temple ordinances and participate actively in family history and temple work. 
Each family can receive the Member’s Guide to Temple and Family History Work to use in the home and in family history classes. 
Holding a temple and family history class is a good way to increase participation and interest in family history. The class can be used to help with ward activation, retention, and missionary efforts. Anyone may be invited to attend the class. The ward council may decide to invite certain ward members. 
The class is taught by an effective instructor, who may or may not be a family history consultant. The class may be taught during Sunday School or at another time that is more convenient for members. It is taught under the direction of the bishopric rather than the Sunday School president. (emphasis added).
You may also note that the class is taught by an effective instructor, who may or may not be a family history consultant.

Ward Family History Consultants need to be mentors not Sunday School Class Teachers. A Ward Family History Consultant does not have to sit around and wait for the Ward to hold a Family History Class during Sunday School to do his or her job. Read and re-read the sections of the Leader's Guide and think and pray about your calling as a Family History Consultant. Talk to the High Priest Group Leader and explain your calling and refer him to the Leader's Guide. Quoting from the Leader's Guide again about Family History Consultants:

Consultants help ward leaders learn about family history so they can share it with those they serve.

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