It is pretty hard to catch any fish if your boat is on dry land. For many years, genealogy has been one of the least proactive pursuits imaginable. Many of us have spent years of our lives diligently working away on our personal family tree with almost no interest shown by our families, friends or anyone else for that matter. This isolated situation was and is common among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In some cases, not only is active support missing, but there is passive or even active opposition from surrounding Church members and leaders.
I can remember several classes I had that talked about genealogy over the years. In each case, the instructor hauled in a huge pile of "Books of Remembrance" containing hundreds of Family Group Records and spent the class time recounting how they had found a distant relative in some library or another. I was not motivated.
For the past few months beginning near the end of 2016, there has been an increased emphasis from the General Authorities of the Church on active participation in family history. The most visible change has been renaming Family History Consultants and Advisers as "Temple and Family History Consultants." The name change is much more than just a token acknowledgment of the connection between family history (genealogy) and work in the Temples. Quoting from LDS.org,
The primary responsibility of all temple and family history consultants is to give personalized help to leaders and families, enabling them to:
Find the names of deceased ancestors, and gather their families on both sides of the veil.
Take the names to the temple, and provide necessary ordinances for them.
Teach their family members and others to do the same.There are several keywords that are being used over and over in the resources being added to LDS.org, they include the following:
The concept here is that Temple and Family History Consultants are to be proactive in personalized mentoring and helping both their own family members but also the leaders and members of their wards and stakes. I am certain that my own family history experience would have been vastly different had I ever encountered a mentor or even someone willing to help and answer questions. I would likely have made far fewer mistakes and spent less time in non-productive research and activities.
If you are called as a Temple and Family History Consultant, you can now be "trained" by the huge number of resources on LDS.org. During the past few weeks, I have been highlighting these resources in this blog, but all you really have to do is start clicking around and following the links. You do not have to wait for someone to teach you what to do. But if you are a Stake or Area Temple and Family History Consultant, you have the direct responsibility to seek out and support, teach and mentor the Ward Temple and Family History Consultants. There are also abundant support and resource materials on LDS.org for your callings.
What do we do if the leaders of the wards and stakes ignore us? Keep doing our jobs. Seek the Spirit and pray constantly for help and support and the way will be opened to you to help other individually and in groups.