The Testimony of a Youth Family History Consultant

June 11, 2015  - by 

A few months ago, I was called as a youth family history consultant in my ward, and the calling has blessed my life in ways that I didn’t even think to pray for. Family history has become so important to me—and that’s what I want to tell you about today.

When I was first given this calling, I was so nervous. I’m not good with computers, and I didn’t have any experience with family history—I didn’t even know my password. My family had hired professional genealogists a long time ago, and we hadn’t been able to find names since then. I remembered watching my dad sit for hours searching our records for names and finding nothing. I honestly didn’t think there was any more work to be done. In other words, I had nearly every excuse youth have been using not to get started. But since it was my calling, I was interested in learning. So I called my friend who had been given the same calling in his ward and asked him to come help me learn what to do.

The first thing this friend taught me was a game he had made up called “five clicks to the green temple.” It was a simple way of clicking the descendancy tab in FamilySearch and then selecting the option to see the fourth generation. Then you just scroll down and keep expanding branches. With five clicks, and within 10 minutes, I had found three names. Three green temples!

It’s been three months since I was called, and I recently had the opportunity to take nine names to the temple—performing 20 ordinances with my parents. Just because I decided to start and give it a try, my family discovered that we DO have work to do and that there are names to find. Brothers and sisters, there is always more work to be done. Not only did I receive the blessings of the temple, but I felt connected to my ancestors. I gained a new testimony of Heavenly Father’s plan for me, a testimony that I really will get to live with these members of my family one day.

In a talk on family history, Elder David A. Bednar says, “I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives” (“The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 27). In a time when there is so much temptation among the youth, when we must find moral safety in our high school and the Internet can expose us to such filth, Heavenly Father has promised through modern prophets that He will protect us—the youth—from the adversary if we participate in and learn to love something so simple and yet so powerful as family history. I think that’s worth it in itself, don’t you?

With “five clicks,” as the game goes, you can obtain blessings from the temple, be with more members of your family eternally, feel love for your ancestors, receive blessings from service, and be protected from temptation. How many times a day do you think you tap your phone? Probably more than five. How amazing would it be if every member of the Church, among all the Facebook and Instagram posts, all the texting and tweeting, decided to tap their phone five more times, and click the mouse five more times and receive all these blessings? Take it from me—the hardest part is remembering your password.

Just after I was given my calling, I reread 1 Nephi. We know that Nephi and his brothers were sent back to Jerusalem to obtain the brass plates. But what I didn’t know was what the brass plates contained, why they were so important that Nephi was commanded to kill Laban for them. In 1 Nephi 3:3, Lehi explains, “For behold, Laban hath the record of the Jews and also a genealogy of my forefathers, and they are engraven upon the brass plates.” One of my biggest heroes from the Book of Mormon was commanded by God to go all the way back to Jerusalem, endangering himself, his brothers, their family’s wealth, and more for his genealogy. In a similar, possibly less extreme way, Heavenly Father has commanded us to do the same. He wants us to obtain our records and to love and value them as much as Nephi and his family loved and valued their records. It is now our responsibility to finish the work, and we have been promised incredible blessings if we do.

I bear you my testimony that I know this is the true church of Christ and that this work is one of greatest importance. I know firsthand the blessings that come from it. I know that our prophet has been called of God and that my family and I can be together forever because of our Heavenly Father’s eternal plan for me.

This story was submitted by Brittany Eldredge who is currently serving as a youth family history consultant in her ward.

 

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Comments

  1. I wonder if this great young person would feel the same if s/he knew that some of the temple work had already been done on duplicate records. This is why the impediment alerts have now been added to merge duplicate records, fix data problems, and not do those born within the last 110 years. While it is great to see such enthusiasm, I wonder if they might feel betrayed to know they didn’t do things right, and some of the work is ineffective. Training, training, training first please!

  2. I think it is great that many youth are getting involved in family history. They are following President Monson’s counsel to “plunge into this work” (see Hastening the Work, June 2014 Ensign).

    In that same article, President Monson acknowledges that “we are going to make mistakes”, but also states that “the Lord expects [us] to do our family history work well.” He also says that after we “plunge into this work”, that “we must prepare for some uphill climbing.”

    Many are unaware that the “5 clicks to the green temple game” mentioned in this article frequently results in two of the most common beginner mistakes–duplicating temple ordinances and “climbing the wrong tree.”

    Unfortunately, Family Tree contains many duplicate records, especially for persons on pioneer lines. Duplicate records are often not found with the automatic duplicate search that occurs when requesting ordinances.

    If we fail to find and resolve duplicate records, a lot of time is spent doing ordinances that are not needed. This delays ordinances for those who really need them.

    Also, many “relatives” that show up in Family Tree are not really your relatives. The further back you go, the worse it gets. This is because many of relationships shown in Family Tree have not been carefully verified with accurate historical sources.

    The First Presidency has stated “Those whose names are submitted for proxy temple ordinances should be related to the submitter.” All it takes for you not to be related to your 2nd cousin 5 times removed that you found on a descendancy search is 1 mistake out of the 10 relationships that are in between you and your cousin.

    Fortunately, FamilySearch has provided easy access to billions of historical records which can be used to verify relationships and other information about your ancestors and cousins.

    Billions more of these historical records can also be easily accessed by using free partner sites such as Ancestry.com (be careful–Ancestry family trees also contain many errors–always verify with historical records).

    We should add finding at least 3 historical record sources about your ancestor or cousin, making sure each generation between you and your ancestor or cousin is correct, and accurately finding and merging duplicate records to the game.

    Let’s not forget the “uphill climbing” after “[plunging] into this work.” Let’s learn to do “our family history work well.”

  3. I am one of the consultant at our stake family history center. I help with teaching others plus the youth. Its has brought new information to me, and always learning how to help others. I enjoy every minute of it. Glad to see our youth enjoys also. Learning together.

  4. There is more to CORRECT submissions than clicking to get green arrow and submitting…why keep pushing that it is easy when in reality it takes a little work and research