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

Thursday, October 2, 2014

How is Family History Organized on a Ward Level?

When  we approach the subject of family history and Temple work, we should always remember Doctrine and Covenants 128:15:
For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation, [for] they without us cannot be made perfect—neither can we without our dead be made perfect.
Family history work in the Ward starts with the Bishop. As it states on page 12 of the Leader's Guide to Temple and Family History Work: To Turn the Hearts,
The bishop directs the work of salvation in the ward, which includes temple and family history work. Bishops can use temple and family history work as a way to strengthen members and their families. Bishops consider ways to use family history to help with missionary work, convert retention, member activation, and teaching the gospel. Bishops should read through the entire “Ward Leadership” section for examples of ways to use family history in these efforts. 
The bishop and his counselors set an example by teaching ward members the doctrine of temple and family history work and testifying of the blessings that come by participating in this work. The bishopric ensures that the high priests group leader acts as the coordinator of the ward council’s temple and family history work. 
If you study these paragraphs carefully, you will see that the key to activity in the Ward is a bishop and his counselors who are leading by example. It is also the bishop's responsibility to ensure "that the high priests group leader acts as the coordinator of the ward council’s temple and family history work." This seems like an additional burden to the bishops at first glance, but in fact, making family history a priority increases the activity of the members in missionary work, convert retention and member activation. If the bishop ignores this sacred duty, he is not fully assisting the members in the work of perfecting the saints.

It is true that the Bishops are burdened with many responsibilities in the Ward, but it is also true that focusing on the basics, such as family history and temple work address more of those responsibilities than addressing each responsibility separately. If the Bishop effectively utilizes the Ward Council, including having a functioning High Priest Group Leader, the Bishop will soon realize the importance of the following quotation from page 13 of the Leader's Guide:

Temple and family history work is not only about redeeming the dead. This work is actually an integral part of one great work— the work of salvation (see Ephesians 1:10). As ward councils focus on the work of salvation, they should consider how temple and family history work can be a resource in accomplishing the many aspects of the work of salvation.
 All aspects of the Ward activity level at all ages will be enhanced by involvement of the Ward in temple and family history work.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoy your posts on how Temple & Family History work should be implemented in a well run ward. Having recently been called as an assistant to the HPGL, you have given me a lot to think about. I've followed your Genealogy's Star blog for quite a while, but this has given me the added focus I needed. However, not everyone is fortunate to live in one of those wards where "To Turn the Hearts" is properly implemented at all levels. I think a great idea for a future blog post might be how to best achieve the goals of the “To Turn the Hearts” guide when one or more of the various levels (Bishopric, Ward Council, HPGL, or Consultants) have not quite captured the vision yet. Your recent post titled “All the Links in the Chain Must Be Strong” talks about how important this is. It would be great to read a follow-up post with your thoughts on how to deal with a weak link.