by Kathryn Grant
Youth around the world are embracing the role of temple and family history consultant. They come with many of the skills and abilities needed to move family history work forward. They’re tech-savvy. They learn quickly. They love the Lord, and they want to claim the blessings promised by apostles and prophets.
In addition, youth can reach other youth when adults can’t. And as any grandparent knows, they can teach the older generation a few things as well!
Three Principles for Engaging Youth
In his RootsTech 2017 presentation on building powerful youth consultants, Bryan Austad explained that there isn’t a “cookie-cutter recipe” to follow for success. However, leaders can help youth temple and family history consultants magnify their callings by keeping three basic principles in mind:
- Simple. Avoid making things too complicated or elaborate. Don’t oversimplify; do focus on essentials.
- Social. Youth enjoy doing things together—for example, indexing in pairs. Family history work can also be interspersed with activities such as sports or dances.
- Spiritual. Don’t preach, but help youth feel and recognize the influence of the Holy Ghost as they find and gather their family to the temple.
Many youth are busy with school, part-time jobs, and extracurricular activities, so finding time for a family history calling can be a challenge. But keeping things simple, social, and spiritual helps youth become converted to family history. And when they are converted, they will find time to do family history even in their busy lives.
Training Youth Consultants
What about training youth consultants? Youth want training and need it in order to be successful. They don’t want leaders to take over and do it for them, but they want enough direction that they’re not left to flounder.
Bryan shared how family history center directors in Katy, Texas, United States, found a successful way to train youth consultants. When the school year ended, they set up Summer Youth Days at the Katy Texas family history center. Leaders and youth consultants met every Wednesday for four hours. For part of the time, youth met together to learn about various topics, such as FamilySearch Family Tree, writing a personal history, and indexing.
Consultants also worked with participants to help them learn to find names for temple work. Several artistic youth consultants created a large family tree that was displayed on the wall. They also created paper leaves that were green on one side and white on the other. When someone found a name, that person wrote the name on the green side of the leaf and put the leaf on the tree. After temple work was completed for the ancestor, the leaf was turned over to the white side.
Summer Youth Days were so successful that when school started again, the decision was made to continue Youth Days on Saturday.
Today’s Stripling Warriors
In a 2017 RootsTech presentation “Youth + Consultants = Awesome,” Dallin Lowder compared youth temple and family history consultants to the army of Helaman. The stripling warriors were prepared; they were worthy. They brought hope to the weary Nephite soldiers and helped protect their people from the attacks of their enemies.
In the same way, youth consultants can be prepared and worthy; they can bring hope to family members on both sides of the veil. Through family history and temple work, they can obtain blessings of protection from the adversary for themselves and those they help.
Youth temple and family history consultants can energize family history efforts and move the work forward in a mighty way.