Organizing Temple and Family History Service at the Ward Level—A Summary of Elder Renlund’s 2019 Leadership Instruction

March 1, 2019  - by 

On February 28, 2019, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at the Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting. He suggested three things ward leaders can do to help members in temple and family history callings be more comfortable and effective.

  1. Clarify the ward’s leadership pattern for temple and family history work.
  2. Create a ward temple and family history plan.
  3. Hold ward temple and family history coordination meetings.

Clarifying Your Ward’s Temple and Family History Leadership Pattern

Ward leaders should choose a pattern for how temple and family history consultants communicate with their leaders. This pattern shows consultants who to communicate with when receiving assignments, reporting efforts, and asking for help.

Elder Renlund said that in the ideal leadership pattern, a “consultant reports to the ward temple and family history leader, who works closely with the elders quorum presidency, who supervises the work under the direction of the bishop.”

A slide from Elder Renlund's 2019 RootsTech Presentation.

“To deviate from this standard leadership pattern requires a good reason, concurrence of the stake president, and confirmation by the Holy Ghost,” Elder Renlund said.

Elder Renlund offered three alternatives for when the ideal pattern isn’t possible—such as when a ward may not have a temple and family history leader. In such cases, a consultant may report to one of the following:

  • A counselor in the elders quorum presidency
  • The elders quorum president
  • Directly to the bishop

A slide from Elder Renlund's Presentation.

A slide from Elder Renlund's 2019 RootsTech Presentation. A slide from Elder Renlund's 2019 RootsTech Presentation.

Elder Renlund encouraged ward leaders to pick one of these patterns and follow it. “Don’t keep it a secret!” he said. The leadership pattern should be clear and easy for everyone to understand.

Creating a Ward Plan and Holding Coordination Meetings

Elder Renlund then talked to leaders about the importance of creating a temple and family history plan and holding coordination meetings. The ward council is responsible for creating the plan, which would be approved by the bishop. It could focus on any number of things, including the following:

  • Involving 10- and 11-year-old children in family history work.
  • Helping youth and new converts obtain limited-use recommends to attend the temple.
  • Encouraging members to enter at least four generations of their family tree on FamilySearch.org.
  • Inspiring members to attend the temple more often without establishing a quota or reporting system for temple attendance.

When coordination meetings are held, the ward temple and family history leader would conduct the meeting. Ward consultants would attend, along with a counselor from both the Relief Society and elders quorum presidencies. On occasion, the ward and full-time missionaries could be invited.

Elder Renlund cautioned, “The goal is not to hold a meeting. The goal is to coordinate temple and family history work. Text messages, emails, and phone calls can oftentimes accomplish the needed coordination.”

An Invitation to Act

In closing, Elder Renlund reminded leaders of his three invitations. “Please clarify leadership patterns for ward temple and family history consultants,” he said. “Implement ward temple and family history coordination meetings and ward temple and family history plans. As you do, the Lord will hasten His work on both sides of the veil, and you will be blessed in the process!”

Other Messages from the 2019 Family History Leadership Session

The Eternal Nature of Temple and Family—Elder Stevenson

Coordination Council Meeting in Action—Elder Bednar

Elder David A. Bednar and Sister Susan Bednar 2019 Family Discovery Day Rootstech

Other Resources

Cool Features on the Family Tree App

RootsTech 2018 leadership temple and family history sessions

My Family Booklet

RootsTech 2018 leadership temple and family history sessions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments

  1. Where are the Relief Society Counselors in this diagram of ward leadership coordination of Family History and Temple? Our stake trained leaders to coordinate regularly from the direction of the brethren.

  2. Yes, I,m 69 yrs old, a Widower for a yr on this April 5, 2019. I’ve retired for 7yrs now. Ive worked at the SL-Temple for 10yrs now as an Ordinance worker, and still had struggled with my Geneology and had gone to the Church Family Search Library for help, but I’m not as computer literate as I should be, and different bros & sisters had help me, but I forgot things and it’s hard on me. I wonder if someone in the Ward level could help me at home with my old iPad & old laptop… to help me at home set up my digital machines and help me to understand all these new wonderful things of the Geneology so I could easily do it at my own comfort of my own home in my own iPad & laptop so I could master this genealogy thing and fly,!! I had done some but I’m still stuck. I’ve an old apple-iPad at home on which I’m typing on now. And I need help from someone at the Ward to just come to my home & sit down with me and show me how with my own digital iPad & laptop? Can someone from my Ward or Stake do that on a One to One.? That’s the only way I could master this genealogy dream!! I’m in the Meadow Ward, Riverside Stake at Salt Lake City Utah.

  3. I was called to be the Temple Committee Chair in our ward Relief Society last Sunday. There are two other sisters in the committee. I have not been able to find anything about the responsibilities of this calling anywhere. I did not see Relief Society anywhere in the four patterns.

    1. There is no such calling as a “Temple Committee Chair” or committee. It’s NOT in Handbook 2. The “adjusted” pattern of leadership for Temple and Family History was clearly given by Elder Renlund at Roots Tech. A counselor in RS is assigned to work with the Temple and Family History Leader. It’s quite clear. Go to FamilySearch on watch the LDS leadership video. The RS Counselor is part of the temple and family history leaders who hold coordination meetings to create a ward temple and family history plan.

  4. As a Temple and Family History Consultant, I think this is a step backward and that they messed up a system that was working fairly well. When the High Priests Group was dissolved, the Church could have created this new Ward Temple and Family History Leader position and possibly even called the outgoing HPG leader, who was previously over family history efforts in the ward, to the new position. This way, he would have been equivalent to the Ward Mission Leader, working directly under the bishop, and he could have kept going to Ward Council meetings. What they’ve done now, since they made the initial decision last fall that Temple and Family History Work would be under the EQ president (and he obviously doesn’t have time to do much specifically in this arena), is bury family history deeper and deeper down in the EQ. In truth, this could also have been a great opportunity for the church to create a new either/or, male-or-female leadership position for the church, like stake and ward music chair, rather than putting women consultants underneath layers of male leadership, as shown in the diagram of the standard/ideal ward organization in this article. (Who thought this diagram was a good idea??) All around the church, women have been acting as lead consultants to great effect, basically doing with great initiative what the Church is now saying should be done by the new male Ward Temple and Family History Leader. These consultants are no longer leaders but are instead smothered by several layers of male leadership. Our stake family history leaders have recently all been women, specifically because the previous men were ineffective, and these women are accomplishing miraculous things. The men of the church all have so much responsibility already. Many women are ready and willing to do more to help. To say that we do not “have” or “hold” the priesthood is simply wrong. What we do not “have” or “hold” is specific priesthood office, and it makes no sense why such office would be needed for this calling. Women have been endowed with priesthood power in temples of God. We have as much right to priesthood power and priesthood authority in our callings and lives as anyone else. Let’s not put limits on God’s power to bless humankind! Can’t we have more than one leadership calling in the church that can be given either to a man or to a woman? Can’t we think outside the box a little bit! Family history organization in the wards has a been a mess since last fall, and it’s just getting messier… So many leaders, and so many people involved, and no one is going to know what they are supposed to do. This is particularly the case with the women involved, as evident from others’ comments.