Starting in the next few months the Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will begin releasing user temple reservations that have been inactive for more than two years. If you have reservations that you haven’t been able to complete, now is a good time to share them with family members via email, or with the temple.
Releasing inactive temple reservations has become a priority due to the large number of ordinances that currently fit that two-year window, and is in line with instruction from the First Presidency to ensure that temple work for ancestors is completed in a timely manner. There are nearly 12 million ordinance reservations held by FamilySearch patrons in Family Tree. Amazingly, 5% of FamilySearch patrons hold 60% of those reservations.This issue has been one of the more constant background complaints about the FamilySearch.org Family Tree program since its inception. In fact, the complaints go back nearly ten years and began at the point, with new.FamilySearch.org when users could reserve names without arranging for the ordinances to be done in a timely fashion. It is not unusual to find reserved names dating back more than five years and some much longer than that.
One of the immediate concerns is that many of these individuals who are reserved, at least from my standpoint, are people with duplicate copies where the ordinances have already been done. This most frequently occurs when there is an obvious duplicate where the duplicate shows that the ordinances have already been done, but the duplicate cannot be merged. In these cases, the reservations were made to keep the ordinances from being done yet another time. Without allowing these individuals to be merged with their obvious duplicates, releasing the reservation will simply result in someone immediately performing the duplicate ordinances.
For some considerable time now, there has been a background discussion concerning the issue of putting a time limit on reservations. One of the concerns, has been the inability of some individuals to travel to the Temples. The concern arises, in part, from the issue of people doing ordinances for individuals to whom they are not related. For example, if I were preparing to go to the Temple and had entered my immediate ancestors into the Family Tree, I would have a concern that someone else, unregulated, would complete the ordinances before I had a chance to attend Temple. The very recent change in policy concerning reserving names for those who were born within the last 110 years, may have an impact on this particular issue. In the alternative, members could be encouraged to only enter their immediate ancestors into the program when they are prepared to go to the Temples and perform the ordinances. After watching a rather large family in the Brigham Young University Family History Library last night sit for hours clicking on green arrows trying to find names to take to the Temple, I am not encouraged with the prospect of preserving near relatives' unique position.
The blog post goes on to discuss what individuals can do in the face of the time limit. It is also unclear as to the rather substantial backlog of Temple Ready cards floating around out there. I can always remember one individual that I saw who had a rather large briefcase on wheels that was completely packed with thousands of printed Temple Ready cards.
As far as the time limit involved, I feel that two years is more than fair. The post suggests the following actions:
- review your temple list
- share with family members via email
- share with the Temple
- unreserve names
- do nothing
You may wish to read this post carefully. You will note that a date for implementation of the rule has not been set or at least has not yet been released. However, it would be a good idea to communicate this information to any members who may have cards on reserve.