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

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Family History and Handbook 2

Clear back in about 1998, I recall when the General Church Handbooks of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were divided into two paper copies. Handbook 1 was distributed to Bishops and Stake Presidents and Handbook 2 had a wider distribution to various auxiliary heads and had some limited access to the members in general. In 2010, the Church began the transition from paper copies of the Church's Handbooks of Instruction to electronic copies. Eventually, the general membership of the Church was given open access to Handbook 2. Today, copies of the Handbook 2 are posted on and are available through the Gospel Library app on both iOS and Android devices.

There are specific sections of Handbook 2 that apply to the organization and functions of family history callings in the Church. With the very recent announcement of the change in the designation of Family History Consultants to Temple and Family History Consultants, those changes are already reflected in the wording of some of the online versions of the Handbook 2. Previously, there were three additional family history oriented handbooks: the Member's Guide to Temple and Family History Work, the Instructor's Guide to Temple and Family History Work and the Leader's Guide to Temple and Family History Work. Only the Leader's Guide is presently available online on However, in light of the letter of instruction dated February 9, 2017 there have been some changes to the Temple and Family History Callings in the Church that are not yet completely reflected in the Handbook of Instructions in PDF versions still online and in the Leader's Guide. It will obviously take some time for the changes to be applied to all of the versions of the publications, even though they are electronic. Just as in days past, older versions of the manuals and handbooks should be discarded.

The latest version of the description of Temple and Family History Callings is on The directions to the leaders of the Church are on on the page entitled, "Leader Resources for Family History." There is also a section on entitled, "My Family History Calling" with more specific instructions about family history and the callings of Temple and Family History Consultants.

Years ago, my wife and I were called as Stake Family History Consultants. Eventually, these Stake positions were discontinued although there are still some Stakes that have a Stake family history calling still in operation. However, the February 9, 2017 letter makes clear that the Stakes may now call various Stake Temple and Family History Consultants. Questions concerning these callings are addressed on the Frequently Asked Questions page for Family History on

In ancient times, the Children of Israel spent forty years in the desert for the purpose of instructing them about some fundamental changes that they otherwise would not accept. In our own day of almost instant electronic communication, it still seems to take a number of months and even years for some of the changes made by the Church to take effect and become generally adopted. Let's hope that it doesn't take forty years for the new family history changes to become generally available to the members.

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