At RootsTech 2018, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided counsel for temple and family history consultants, priesthood leaders, and ward council members. They discussed how to teach and strengthen people through family history.
Read a transcript of Elder Bradley D. Foster’s leadership session below, or watch the video.
Message from Elder Bradley D. Foster
Thank you, Elder Renlund, for the vision you shared on how temple and family history consultants can help participate in this great work. Thank you all for being here in the Conference Center, as well as the many temple and family history consultants watching this online. We’re glad you’re with us. You consultants have one of the most exciting and profound callings in the Church.
Heavenly Father wants all of His children home again, "in families and in glory." Imagine your unique role in that plan. I’ve learned that if you want to endear someone to you, do something nice for their children. Imagine how Heavenly Father will feel about you as you’re doing something nice for His children.
You will help them discover their families, gather them together, and connect them, and to Him. Think of how parents and grandparents on the other side of the veil will feel about you as you help their posterity discover them, gather their stories, connect them to each other through temple ordinances.
Nephi describes his family discovery experience: "And thus my father … did discover the genealogy of his fathers. … And … when my father saw all these things, he was filled with the Spirit." At that moment of discovery, he was filled with the Spirit and his heart was turned to his fathers.
You, as temple and family history consultants, will strive to help all members have their own moment of discovery. That same spirit we feel upon discovering our family moves us to gather them. Everyone deserves to be remembered.
We do that through stories, photos, and other memories, along with the names, dates, and places into the family tree. This family effort connects and binds us together in love on both sides of the veil. It heals us and ultimately seals us for eternity through the covenants and ordinances of the temple.
This ongoing cycle of discover, gather, and connect is now being joined by families all over the world in record numbers. Temple and family history consultants, Heavenly Father wants you to follow the Savior’s example as you work with these you’ve been called to help.
In 3 Nephi, we see how the Savior went to where the people were–invited them to come to Him: "And this they did … , going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and … did know of a surety and did bear record."
The Savior ministered to the people one by one, just as you will minister to those whom you’ve been called to serve, going to where they are. This may be in their homes, in their daily activities, or in Church settings.
The Savior made sure they had their own individual experiences so they "did know of a surety and did bear record" of Him. Then He "took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them." And He focused on the little ones individually. They were accompanied by angels, who did minister to them.
Under the direction of your priesthood leaders, as you minister to those you are called to help, angels will accompany you and them.
As one of 81,000 temple and family history consultants around the world, this is the privilege you’ll have in this one great work. To help you in your stewardship, we invite you to go to the many resources on FamilySearch.org. They’ll help you.
Let’s now watch one of three new videos you’ll find on familysearch.org/calling. These videos show how a temple and family history consultant followed the Savior’s pattern of "one by one" to help one of Heavenly Father’s children who needed to be healed. You’ll see her discover her family, gather them together on both sides of the veil, and connect their hearts to each other and to Heavenly Father.
I recently moved away from home to attend college. The first couple of months were hard for me, and I started to struggle with depression. My bishop thought that working on my family history might give me something positive to focus on and be a nice change of pace.
As the temple and family history consultant, the bishop suggested I meet with Catalain. In our initial meeting, we talked about her goals, which is something I’ve only recently started doing with the members I work with. And it really allowed her to open up about some important things.
My family disowned me when I was baptized many years ago. And I remember telling Brother Matthews in that meeting that my deepest desire was to have a family again, even if it was just on paper. I think that was the first time I had said those words out loud.
I felt very insignificant in being able to help her. I knew I had to rely completely on the Spirit. As I prayerfully prepared an experience for her, I learned there wasn’t much I was able to do, because gathering information for her ancestors could only be done in her family’s homeland, with physical records. I was discouraged because I knew that contacting her family was not an option.
I didn’t expect much to come out of our next meeting. I figured he wouldn’t find anything, and I really didn’t get my hopes up.
We opened the meeting with a prayer. And although I knew that her direct family was a sensitive topic, I felt I should talk with her about how much we needed their help from back home. I suggested she prayerfully consider who she might approach.
I immediately had that thought that I should reach out to my sister, but I did not want to. As I went home and prayed about it, the prompting would not go away. So one day I finally gained the courage to message her. I asked her for any information our family might have.
I prayed so hard for her. I’ll never forget when she came back to meet with me after she got the first message back from her sister.
She offered to help me with whatever I needed. I was so happy. That was one of the most incredible moments of my life. It was not what I had expected. We started corresponding back and forth. And pretty soon, even my parents were visiting gravesites to help us find the information we needed.
Every time she would input another name on her tree, she jumped out of her seat and let out a squeal of joy.
Not only have we started filling up my family tree, but I’ve been able to take some of those names to the temple. For the first time, I feel like I have a family again.
I think we’ve both witnessed the Lord move mountains in her life.
My mother and my sisters have been so inspired by the discoveries they’ve been making and how they’ve been feeling, they took the missionary discussions on their own and have decided to get baptized. My father, a Methodist preacher, has even softened his heart.
It is truly remarkable to see that after years of her joining the Church, it only took four weeks of doing temple and family history service for her family’s heart to change.
I can’t wait to return home to see them be baptized and share the joy of the gospel with them. I will be forever grateful to Brother Matthews for listening to the prompting he had. My life will never be the same.
I treasure this calling. I know that following the Spirit in this work allows the Lord to bless all who are involved. Temple and family history work isn’t just about our deceased family, and it’s not just about our living family. It’s about our entire eternal family.
Consultants, as you pray with and for those who you get to serve, we promise you the blessings and the inspiration and understanding that you need. I know this is Heavenly Father’s plan. He wants His children home again, and we can help. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.