Three apostles addressed ward and stake leaders and temple and family history consultants in a leadership instruction meeting that coincided with RootsTech 2019 in Salt Lake City. The live streamed event focused on organizing family history in a ward.
Elder Dale G. Renlund led off with a discussion of the need for each ward to have a temple and family history plan developed by the ward council and approved by the bishop. He said the goal of any plan “is to lift the ward’s vision and overall attitude toward temple and family history.”
He listed possible areas to consider:
- How to involve ten- and eleven-year-olds in family history and to encourage them to qualify for a limited use temple recommend at the appropriate age
- How to involve every new convert in family history and temple attendance
- How to ensure each ward member has completed their four generations
- How to encourage and coordinate temple attendance without establishing quotas
Elder David A. Bednar, who presided at the meeting, stressed simplicity in his message. He led a discussion with a ward council on stage, asking, “Is it possible to have a simple ward temple and family history plan that doesn’t become so burdensome, so bureaucratic, so complicated that it gets in the way?” He spoke of the need for a plan that is home-centered and church-supported.
Youth can play an important part as they can learn how to use the FamilyTree app and share it in their homes with their families. He said, “[R]ecently among the different age groups within the church, the age group increasing most rapidly in submitting names for temple ordinances are children.”
Sister Joy D. Jones, President of the General Primary, confirmed that in her research of temples in the Salt Lake area, temple presidents reported that children are filling the baptisteries, and they are not only bringing family names, they are bringing their families.
Elder Gary E. Stevenson spoke of his experience attending the Rome Temple Open House and being reminded of his Italian roots. While there in the “eternal city” he was able to use the FamilyTree app on his phone to bring up his ancestors’ names and faces, and view some of the memories that have been uploaded there. He promoted the use of tools we currently have in our hands.
With our renewed emphasis on home-centered gospel learning, he said, “The home, the family, the temple are inseparably connected. One leads to another. In no other work are we more home-centered than in temple and family history work.”
Link to the 2019 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction: