How Indexing Can Be Useful in Your Calling

May 7, 2020  - by 

Indexing is a service that reaches families worldwide—and it can be done at home or as a group. It helps further the Lord’s work by connecting God’s children with their families, and it can even soften people’s hearts and draw them closer to the Savior. As you serve in your calling, you may want to consider indexing as a means of strengthening and lifting those you serve.  

Isn’t indexing something consultants do?

Yes! Many temple and family history consultants index records and have helped ward members learn to index. In fact, previously there was a calling at the ward level for a temple and family history consultant that specialized in indexing.

With the retirement of that calling, many ward leaders and temple and family history consultants have wondered what place indexing has in wards and stakes.                    

Different Ways Indexing Can Be Used in a Ward or Stake

Don’t worry! Indexing hasn’t gone away. It remains one of many activities that allow ward members to help others discover and gather their family.

Personalized temple and family history experiences

Indexing can be used as part of the family history experiences that ward temple and family history consultants create for others. Some ward members may not feel like they have time or resources to do extensive record searching. Or they may have apparently full trees and don’t feel like there is anything they can contribute. Indexing can be a simple way for them to serve with whatever time they have, and it may even improve their own chances of discovering hard-to-find ancestors.

Young man doing smiling while at his computer, working on indexing projects.

Ward temple and family history plans

Depending on a ward’s needs, indexing can be a resource or goal in a ward’s temple and family history plan. That isn’t to say that indexing must be part of the plan. It’s simply an option. Leaders and those with temple and family history callings should keep in mind that indexing goals don’t have to be focused on numbers and should never be burdensome.

Group activities for youth, Relief Society, and the elders quorum

As the Lord hastens His work on this earth, prophets and apostles have encouraged members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of all ages to become more involved in gathering Israel. As youth leaders, Relief Society leaders, and priesthood leaders look for ways to include temple and family history in their regular activities, indexing might be a service activity to consider.

A service idea for individuals

Ward leaders are frequently called upon to provide service ideas that meet a variety of personal challenges and circumstances. While indexing might not be for everyone, it is a service that ward leaders can become familiar with and can recommend to ward members seeking a service activity to do from home. The bishop may also extend the calling of “indexing worker” to individuals where appropriate.

Helping those struggling with life challenges

Indexing has also been used by some people as a means of overcoming addiction and other life challenges. Bishops and elders quorum presidents in particular may want to study some of the emotional and spiritual benefits of indexing and recommend it to those in need.

Blessings Noticed by Others

At FamilySearch, we often hear stories about indexing—how it blesses and strengthens people’s lives. Recently a stake in Mexico made a goal of indexing thousands of records. While members came quite close to achieving their goal, it was the act of serving that really impacted stake members.

Young man and priesthood leader walking together.

“The numbers are not as important as the wonderful spirit that has been in the stake,” the stake president later said. “The youth have left Facebook for indexing, and the family history center has been full—all day, every day.”

The stake president further told of a father in the stake who had not been coming to church. After seeing his daughter index, the father felt inspired to try it himself. Gradually his appearance changed—he seemed happier and more open to the influence of the Holy Ghost.

At one point, the father found his own surname in a batch he was indexing and was overwhelmed by a feeling he couldn’t explain. He continued indexing and discovered that eleven of the people named were his ancestors. The daughter had never seen her father cry before, and so the tears on his face surprised her.  

After hearing the story, the stake president invited the father to prepare himself to go to the temple and perform his ancestors’ ordinances. To the stake president’s great joy, the father accepted.

Although this type of miracle doesn’t happen to everyone who indexes, our Heavenly Father works through small and simple means to bless our efforts and connect us to our family beyond the veil.

How to Learn More about Indexing

Indexing is a simple way to do meaningful service, and temple and family history service continues to bless members of the Church around the world.

If you are interested in learning more about indexing, visit the indexing page on Ward and stake leaders can also reach out to local temple and family history leaders and consultants for indexing information and ideas.

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