If we are to move forward with increasing involvement of the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in seeking out their ancestors, we need to be more cognizant of the importance of the Leader's Guide to Temple and Family History Work, To Turn the Hearts as the model for how that work should progress in our Wards and Stakes. Quoting from the Overview of the Leader's Guide:
This guide describes how leaders can organize, lead, and implement temple and family history work in wards and stakes. It describes how family history can be an integral part of the ward council’s efforts for the salvation of souls. It also describes how leaders can strengthen themselves and others through participation in the work.
This guide gives details not found in Handbook 2: Administering the Church, and it replaces the Administrative Guide for Family History referenced in section 5.4.7 of the handbook. It is designed for stake presidencies, bishoprics, high priests group leaders, high councilors who have been assigned to coordinate family history, and other members of stake and ward councils. Elders quorum presidents use this guide in wards or branches that do not have a high priests group leader. The guide also contains information about how family history consultants, stake indexing directors, family history center directors, and area family history advisers can help ward and stake leaders implement family history efforts.From my own personal experience, I have become more and more convinced that following the guidelines and organization outlined in the Leader's Guide is a key factor in increasing activation, retention and the overall spirituality of the members of the Wards. The reason this is so important is outlined on page 1 of the Leader's Guide:
“To turn the hearts” means that individuals and families feel a spiritual awakening as they serve their deceased relatives and experience the joy of being active participants in a fundamental part of Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation (see D&C 138:56). Participation in temple and family history work touches the soul as the Holy Ghost bears witness to the eternal nature of families.I find it inexplicable why leaders in the Wards and Stakes ignore the opportunity of involving themselves and the members of their respective congregations in this work. As the Leader's Guide continues:
Members who engage in this work are inspired to live gospel-centered lives and are more likely to participate in personal and family prayer, personal and family scripture study, and regular family home evening. Typically, when members participate in temple and family history work, they are more likely to participate in all other Church meetings.Doesn't this go to the heart of the issues confronting Bishops and Stake Presidents? Why then is there so much resistance to implementing family history activities in the Wards and Stakes? Why do the statistics show only a low or marginal level of activity?
For my own part, I will continue to teach until I can no longer stand or talk.