Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Family History Consultant Training by D. Merrill White

10 March 2007

Introduction to Speaker by Don Snow
Main Presentation: D. Merrill White – Family History Consultant Training
We are fortunate to have Brother D. Merrill White with us today. He went down to the St. George FH Jamboree last month and gave a total of a six hour presentation. He is condensing parts of that for us. His presentation will continue into the Q&A session of our meeting. He has brought us copies of the booklets he handed out in St. George. They have pictures of the new Power Point presentations. This is very helpful information. He is going to be talking today on understanding your calling and role as a family history consultant and how you help fulfill the three fold mission of the Church. Including determining the members needs and how you can assist them.

D. Merrill White was born in Sparks, NV. Graduated from BYU with a degree in History and a minor in music. He has lectured on various genealogical practices and software at many FH conferences. Including the BYU Computerized Genealogy Conferences, the big summer BYU Genealogy Conferences and this last October the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society Conference. He’s work for the Family and Church History Dept. of the LDS Church for seven years. He currently serves as a specialist for FH Consultants in the FHL in Salt Lake and the Joseph Smith Memorial building.

D. Merrill White – Family History Consultant Training

A manual was handed out that contained all three Power Point presentations along with all the handouts they give. He also had cards with a link to give feedback on the presentation or anything dealing with family history consultant training. If it deals with something else, i.e. new FamilySearch then don’t use this website. This is for consultant training or this presentation only. It will take you to an online survey where you can give your comments and suggestions. The manual given out in the meeting only gives quotes to talks; the copy you get from Salt Lake will give you the actual talks.

The Church decided a few years ago that with “new FamilySearch” that it would be a good idea than we actually train family history consultants on how to do their callings. We thought it good for FHC to know how to work with members, what the responsibilities were. To let Priesthood leaders know what consultants should do. So we began to work on some training. We are creating a consultants guide, an actual manual for consultants to have to help them with their calling and also be a reference that they can turn to with their calling. Everything is written for an individual that has never been a consultant before. It has to start at that level and then it works up from there.

The Church decided to help dissimilate this training they would starting doing e-learning or online learning. So we started our LDS Net dimensions website for e-learning courses. We have been testing all of this information so that the content we are talking about today is what’s in that manual. But it is not THE manual because the manual is contently changing. We are actually testing it in a few selected temple districts right now to get their feedback. We are even testing different sized versions. We have one that is really thick it’s quit intimidating. We have one that is very thin that is not intimidating but it doesn’t tell you very much. We have to see what people like to use and do they prefer to go get the rest on the internet and those kinds of things.

Lesson Objectives
1. Family History and Temple Work
2. Seek the Spirit and Guidance
3. Your Primary Responsibilities
4. Additional Ways to Serve
5. Priesthood Guidance
6. Consultant Training
7. Resources for family history consultants
8. Stake and Ward Family History Organizations

Family History and Temple Work
All of our vast family history endeavor is directed to temple work. There is no other purpose for it. The temple ordinances become the crowning blessings the Church has to offer. [President Gordon B. Hinckley, New Temples to Provide ‘Crowning Blessings’ of the Gospel. Ensign, May 1998, 87]

The key to a successful family history program is family history consultants who meet with members and families individually to help them begin and continue their temple and family history work.

Called to Serve
Someone in your own ward or branch of the Church has been called to help you prepare those names for the temple. There they can be offered the covenants which will free them from their spirit prisons and bind them into families – your family – forever. [Elder Henry B. Eyring, “Hearts Bound Together”, Ensign, May 2005, p. 77]

Seek the Spirit for Guidance
Some of you may be shy by nature or consider yourselves inadequate to respond affirmatively to a calling. Remember that this work is not yours and mine alone. It is the Lord’s work, and when we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. Remember that whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies. [Pres. Thomas S. Monson, “Duty Calls”, Ensign, May 1996, p. 44]

There is a way to reach every human heart, and it is your business to find the way to the hearts of those to whom you are called [to serve]. [Pres. Lorenzo Snow, “Instructions for Missionaries”, Improvement Era, Dec. 1899, p. 128]

Primary Responsibilities
Reach out to help members individually to begin and continue their family history and provide ordinances for their ancestors. You are the members’ principal source for family history help.

To fulfill your responsibilities:
1. Reach out to members in your ward a few at a time.
2. Focus on those suggested by the High Priest Group Leader
3. Meet with new members of the Church

Family History Consultants should become knowledgeable about:
1. Temple and family history work
2. Using family history computer programs
3. Seeking for and providing temple ordinances for their own ancestors.

Additional Ways to Serve
1. Teach a Family History Class – Under the direction of the bishopric, family history consultants may teach a family history class during Sunday School time:
-supplement class time with individual visits
-recommend who might attend your class

Right now there is no FH Sunday School class manual, eventually there will be.

Serve in a Family History Center
You may be asked to serve in a family history center supported by your stake.
-The center director will provide training
-This will help you become familiar with the family history resources that are available in centers.

Priesthood Guidance
Family History Consultants are:
-called and set apart by the bishopric
-supervised by the High Priests Group Leader

The high priest group leader in your ward oversees your service as a family history consultant and provides you guidance in fulfilling your calling.

The high priest group leader should ensure that you understand your responsibilities and are able to fulfill them. If you need help or have questions about your responsibilities, work with your high priests group leader.

It doesn’t mean your high priest group leader will train you, just that he will help you receive it.
1 Nephi 16: 23 “ And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?

This is a handout with the PowerPoint presentations in the manual.
Priesthood Guidance
My Training Plan: Getting Started as a Family History Consultant
Work with your high priests group leader (or assigned member of the elders quorum presidency) to develop your training plans. Check the box when have completed an item on your training plan.
My Responsibilities ________________________________________________
What the bishop would like me to accomplish ____________________________
Priesthood Supervision
The priesthood leader that I report to: __________________________________
Contact information in: _____________________________________________

Priesthood Guidance
Priesthood leaders can:
-Call one or more family history consultants in each ward.
-Teach members regularly the principles of temple and family history work.
-Report on temple and family history work as a standing agenda item in Ward Council or PEC meetings.
-Establish stake or ward temple and family history goals.

If I were a bishop again… [I would] charge the high priest group leader with this responsibility to lead out in the ward council on this subject. I would ensure that we had one or more ward family history consultants who were ‘people persons’ who could work under his direction. [Elder D. Todd Christofferson]

I imagine that in the course of a year we could help at least ten families. In five years, we could have a corps of fifty families active at some level in family history and its attendant temple work. That to me would be a successful, well-run program [Elder D. Todd Christofferson]

Leaders should encourage members to determine, according to the promptings of the Spirit, what temple and family history work they can do ‘in wisdom and order’ and consistent with their own ‘strength and means.’ (see Mosiah 4:27, D&C 10:4) [Elder Dallin H. Oaks]

Consultant Training
Dec 7, 2007 a letter went out to the whole church signed by the First Presidency. Asking consultants to register, even priesthood leaders if they want to.
Family History Consultant Support News and Training:

You will need your membership number, which you can get off your temple recommend, or on your individual summary from your ward clerk. You will also need your ward unit number, which is on that individual summary about you. Some people have been putting in their family history center unit number, which is not the right number.

By registering you will get:
-early access to systems to be released in the future
-access to training
-regular updates and information
-access to resources to answer questions and provide help

We are assume, because we don’t know how many consultants we have, we’re guessing that there are about 40,000 consultants in the world. Just by how many wards and branches there are. We’ve had 24,000 register, in various languages around the world, that’s not bad. Guess how many have done anything after they have registered? About 6,000.

We start to wonder; maybe they don’t want to learn how to do their calling. We are trying to figure out what is the best way to motivate because it is a new concept. We’re sending you training through the internet, people aren’t used to that. The other reason we are doing that is because things are constantly changing and we want to update that. Printing materials that go out of date really doesn’t work right now. We have been pushing things through the internet and maybe that’s why people haven’t been doing it. Maybe perhaps people aren’t doing it is perhaps they look at the lessons and they say, I already now how to do that. Maybe they can’t get in once they got there. We’re not sure what the reasons are. So I am going to talk about how you can contact support to get help with that. We really are encouraging you to register. Start using the training and if you have feedback, I will give you that link for you to give feedback on that.

On-Line Training – https://lds.netdimensions.com/
Once you have registered they will send you an email back. One thing that we know for sure has been happening is that the Church replies and the email goes to people’s junk mail. People have filters and the Church isn’t in their friendly list. The email gets filtered into their junk mail and they never know the Church has replied. If you are not getting email memos all the time from the Church on training, check your junk mail.

The email sent to you will give you your user name and password. You will be able to access this training and they will continue to add and update and develop further training. Right now we have some basic courses for consultants and priesthood leaders. If you do “new FamilySearch” this is where the new FamilySearch training will be.

The first time you log in as a consultant it makes you reset your password. The password by default is 123456. Some people set up there new passwords and then don’t remember them. You would have to call support then.

You are able to print off the lessons, they are in PDF format. You can click the PDF version, download it and save it to your computer, a disk or print it off. One of the problems we are seeing is that people are printing these off and part of the online system was to track people usage of the system. We are unable to track that when you are viewing the information off line. Now we are trying to figure out how to track people that print, because now it doesn’t look like they did anything. We have things we have to figure out. People learn things in different ways and we understand that. We are trying to deliver content in different methods. We want to be able to help everyone in their learning abilities. This is just the beginning but something is better than nothing. We are just getting started. For the first time since Adam and Eve consultants can actually get some training.

Local Training
An assigned family history consultant
-In many stakes, a family history consultant is assigned by the high council advisor to provide training to new family history consultants.
Family history center
-Centers usually offer training classes in how to use Church family history resources and how to do family history research.

If you want to work as a FHC the FHC director will teach you how. I love all these directors that say – with what? Just be aware that we are also aware of this and we are creating center materials as well. We are also creating materials so centers if they want to can take some of their current training or training they would like to develop; and use our website where they can develop their own training using our templates. We are working at helping centers as well.

Because priesthood leaders are busy and the Church knows they are busy the Church has created training for those that are high priest group leaders or high council advisors in terms of how to administer family history and how it works. It is up to the leaders if they want to take the training. It is not required that they do but it is hoped they will. Consultants are told they must register.

Consultant Resources
1. The Spirit
The Spirit of Elijah is the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family. [Elder Russell M. Nelson]
2. Support
-Family History Support – 1-866-406-1830 (6 April 1830) – this site is a one shop for all, regardless of what FH need you have you can call this number for support. It is now coming up in multiple languages.
-Fill out the web form on familysearch.org – http://productsupport.familysearch.org
-Email: familyhistory@support.familysearch.org
3. Manuals and Guides
-Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2 Section 9, “Temple and Family History Work” (35709).
-A Member’s Guide to Temple and Family History Work (34697)
-How Do I Start My Family History? (32916)
-Welcome to the Family History Center (35753000)
-Training for Family History Leaders DVD (00410090) also in Spanish and VHS.
4. Lessons
-Personal Ancestral File -Built in PAF Lessons & User’s Guide
-A Guide to Research (30971) The book was updated in 2005 and released in 2006. No one knows it has been updated because it looks exactly the same.

What’s online for Priesthood Leaders?
www.lds.org you need to click on link to “Serving in the Church”, many people think it is under “Family History and Temples” it is not. Click “Serving in the Church”, and then click “Family History”. If you go there here is your portal for everything about administrating, for consultants, for indexing and for family history centers. If you want to look at the online guide for directors you can go right to the link for Family History Centers and there is the online guide. It you want to register as a consultant it takes you right to that. If you want to look at the priesthood lessons they are right there. Your priesthood leader can take the lesson right there through lds.org. There are even some recommend talks. If he is not into computers and you don’t think he will do it you can go right to the lessons, click on the PDF, print them off and in a very good nice spiritual way you can give them to him.

Consultant Resources
5. FamilySearch.org
-Research Helps & Research Guidance. People don’t realize or forget that these guides are there. They just look up their ancestors’ names on the website; if they are not there they just go to Ancestry. We have some of the best helps and guidance there is for doing family history online. Just be sure you are using that with the people you are helping. Most of them are PDFs and you can download them and give them to the people you are helping.
-The scriptures
-Talks and articles by general Church leaders.
6. The new missionary guide, “Preach My Gospel”, includes suggestions on how missionaries can use family history to find people interested in learning about the gospel.
7. Other Resources
-Center for Family History & Genealogy at BYU – http://familyhistory.byu.edu/
-BYU PAF Tutorial – http://paftutorial.byu.edu/
-BYU Religion 261 – http://261.byu.edu
-BYU Department of Independent Studies offers two free online family history courses:
--“Finding Your Ancestors”
--“Providing Temple Ordinances for Your Ancestors”
-- http://ce.byu.edu/is/site/special_offers/famhist.cfm
-Keith Erekson, Teaching Family History: A Resource Guide for Family History Teachers – http://familyhistory.byu.edu ($4.00)
-Ohana Software Consultant Training: http://www.ohanasoftware.com We let consultants know you don’t have to start from nothing. You can go see what others have done until the Church gives you something.
-Genealogy Resources on the Internet: http://www.rootsweb.com/~jfuller/gen_mail_lds.html
-Your Family History Area advisor. Up in Salt Lake City, because we teach this at the library we recommend that they use the Westra, because they are the area advisors under Merrill J. Batman for that Salt Lake Area - Newsletter email: FamilyHistory-Westra@snapwood.com to be added to the list. There are area advisors all over the United States, most are being called, there are a few that don’t have them yet. That way area advisors are working area presidencies and all those directors and family history centers, helping to set goals and determine things. So if you don’t know who your area advisor is find out.
-The Family History Library Computer and Research Classes – We know that some of you can’t get there. We are really looking at becoming a library without walls. As the Church starts to expand and put things out on the internet our goal is to literally put our current curriculum out there on the internet. In the form of online lessons, web-inars, webcasts we can all participate in. So you can be part of those classes and not take a trip to Salt Lake City. We don’t know how soon that is going to happen, we’re getting there. This is the beginning of that with me coming out here and doing stuff like this.
-The Family History Library Catalog
-Family History Library Internet Explorer Favorites
-Ward or Stake Family History Excursions
-Consultant & Priesthood Email: FHL-FHConsultant@ldschurch.org

Family History Organization
Stake Callings
-Stake Presidency
-High Council Advisor
-Family History Center Directors and the FamilySearch Indexing Director
Ward Level
-Bishopric and High Priest Group Leader coordinate with the High Council Advisor
-Family History Consultants, they could also be asked to serve in a FHC.

This new organization was to break down buriers, to break down the levels. Because what we tended to have was stake consultants going on and doing a lot of stuff that ward consultants didn’t typically know. We tried to kind of merge those together to make a very fluid organization. It also made it so the priesthood had to communicate; because the FHC director goes to the high council advisor, who goes to his high priest group leader to get staff. If that communication doesn’t happen your family history center isn’t open very often.

The following callings have been discontinued:
-Stake family history consultant
-Ward family history consultant
-Family history center staff
They have now been combined into a single calling:
-Family history consultant

We did not discontinue the call of Family History Center Directors. Because we didn’t include that position in the handbook many were released, even though we refer to them multiple times in the manual.

A family history consultant may be asked to:
-be a staff member of the stake family history center
-provide training to other consultants in the stake

New emphasis is placed on:
-Encouraging consultants to reach out to every individual and family in the ward, a few families at a time.
-Encouraging new members of the Church, 12 years of age and older, to obtain Limited-Use Temple Recommends so they can go to the temple to be baptized and confirmed for their own ancestors as soon as possible after baptism.

Stake and Ward Family History Callings
-A double sided handout was given to audience. It listed all family history callings and responsibilities.

Review – Check Your Learning
1. What is the key to a successful Family History Program? Consultants
2. What is a Consultant’s primary responsibilities? To help individuals do temple work.
3. What additional ways can Consultant’s serve? Work in centers, be an instructor, indexing, etc.
4. Where can Consultant’s receive guidance? Internet, booklets, family history center, priesthood leaders, the spirit, etc.
5. Where can a Consultant obtain and receive training? Online, from each other

Lesson Assignments & Goals
It is faith as the principle of action that is so central to the process of learning and applying spiritual truth. [Elder David A. Bednar]
-Learn responsibilities
-Meet with High Priest Group Leader
-Receive and participate in necessary training
--E-learning lessons:
---Understanding Your Calling for Consultants
---Administering Family History Work
---Encouraging Members to Participate
-Set 2 goals for yourself

Family History Consultant Training – Part 1 – Helping Family History Happen
Working with Members
-Members’ FH Responsibilities
-Overview of Temple & FH Work
-Finding Members to Help
-Prepare for Your Visit
-Visit with and Teach Members
-Helping Members with Different Needs

Blessings of Family History
I have the feeling…that those who give themselves with all their might and main to this work receive help from the other side, and not merely in gathering genealogies. Whoever seeks to help those on the other side receives help in return in all the affairs of life [Elder John A. Widtsoe]

When you ask most individuals, even children what the blessing is Heavenly Father gives you if you pay you’re tithing? Most people know and give the answer: I got fire insurance. But if you ask them what are the blessings for doing family history and temple work most people really give you varied answers. This is really it the continually talk about that you are receiving help in all the affairs of your life.

1. Members’ Family History Responsibilities
Members should identify their kindred dead; request temple ordinances if needed, and provide these ordinances by proxy if possible. As a beginning, members should try to identify four generations of their ancestors. [Church Handbook of Instructions: Book 2, Section 9, 262]

2. Family History Overview
Members follow four basis steps to do their family history and provide ordinances for their ancestors. The Family History Process: 1. Gather Information, 2. Record Information, 3. Perform temple ordinances, 4. Do it again. When starting to work with members give them the four steps, keep it very basic so it doesn’t over-whelm them.

When is new FamilySearch going to be available – don’t know. I currently have three children I will have a fourth in July. Let’s go back to when Merrill had only two and new FamilySearch was supposed to come out. I used to tell missionaries I am absolutely positive by the time I have three kids new FamilySearch will be there. That third one is now almost three and my wife is due in July. So when, soon, that’s our favorite word. But be encouraged, many of you have been involved in beta testing it; it’s come a long way. It is getting very close. They are testing it now actually in temple districts and things, so it’s the closest it’s ever been. Because new FamilySearch has taken longer than it was suppose to it has actually helped us to get our training done. When new FamilySearch actually comes out the training will have been created. We are actually testing it now. There will be training on how to use new FamilySearch on day one of its release. Because it has taken so long to develop new FamilySearch and we have had time to develop training materials with it, it might be that this is one of the better Church experiences in doing family history.

3. Finding Members to Help
Our efforts to promote temple and family history work should be such as to accomplish the work of the Lord, not impose guilt on his children. [Elder Dallin H. Oaks]

In the people and families I have seen and helped over the past few years at the library, family history causes more guilt than I think anything else. Because it is very easy not to do, yet you feel very guilty when anyone ever talks about it, because you are not doing it. Just like it is easy to not physically work out, today it might not matter, but someday it will. With family history if your not doing it may not matter, but when you get to the other side it will matter. We are always making people feel guilty when we talk like that. Don’t make them feel guilty. Focus on the blessing, focus on the temple, don’t focus on how you are going to feel because you are not doing it. Motivate with the blessings.

All members should participate by prayerfully selecting those ways that fit their personal circumstances at a particular time. Our effort is not to compel everyone to do everything, but to encourage everyone to do something. [Elder Dallin H. Oaks]

Much of your success will come from your own efforts and willingness to contact members. Members usually will respond positively to a personal invitation from a family history consultant to help them get started.

Family History Consultants should pray for guidance to know:
-which families in the ward to help
-how to assist these families
-how to overcome obstacles in their research

The bishopric and members of the priesthood executive committee or ward council may identify a few individuals or families at a time that you should contact to offer family history help.

Work with new converts:
-to help them identify ancestors and, where possible, to go to the temple soon after their baptism to be baptized for their own ancestors.
-they are more likely to be retained by having a family history and temple experience soon after their own baptism.

Church Survey Results:
-Only 23% of converts baptized without an understanding of family history stay active in the Church.
-75% of converts who do become involved in family history activities stay active in the Church.

Getting youth involved in family history might help them stay active in the Church. A good way to have people get started with family history work is by Indexing. We have been bringing Church youth groups down to the family history center and the Indexing group has been coming down and teaching them, and it has taken off like wildfire. The youth have loved the Internet Indexing. We’ve had multiple wards come down and had them taught and get excited and they start doing it. We have a computer lab set up there and we have seen great success.

We are putting very clearly that after baptism new converts should be obtaining a limited use temple recommend. Basically a new member experience could be something like this… I’m baptized, a very nice individual in the ward comes up and said, Hi, I’m a family history consultant, I had no idea who they were or what they did. They let me know they are the person in the ward that helps us find our ancestors, like the missionary talked about when they told us about temple work. They came to my home they met with me and the talked to me a bit about family history, maybe some of the doctrine it with a little booklet they brought, Called a Members Guide to Family History. They talked to me about my family. They had me get out the family information I had. Then I got a call from someone in the ward to meet with the bishop. I met with the bishop and I got a limited use temple recommend. About a week after that I was at the temple and someone had cards with my family’s names on them. That’s what they want their experience to be. They literally might not be sure how it happened but all of a sudden they are at the temple and they got names and it’s their families and it happened very easily. So then when you go back to them after that temple experience as a consultant, even though you did a lot of leg work to start with, you can say would you like me to show you how I did that so you can do it for yourself? You know what answer you are going to get. They are going to be so excited to learn how to find their ancestors, to do these things to prepare their own names.

Many people have heard about the missionary program “A Gift of Family History”, that happens in California. That has spread to other places. That is not a Church sponsored program. The Church didn’t’ create it a mission did. The Church has never said you can’t do it, but the Church is never going to send it church-wide. Because the principle is use family history as a missionary tool as a mission, ward or person decides to do it. If a mission decides to do it they can contact a mission in California for information. It’s not a Church program per say it’s a church principle.

We have a base line of what we want family history consultants trained in before new FamilySearch. We will be tracking how many consultants we have and what they have trained in. We will let the leaders know who we have registered and what future training they need. We have a 90 day roll over period before new FamilySearch is released to make sure people are trained in it. The consultant will teach and train members at their own pace how to use new FamilySearch until they become independent. If you need help you could use Family History Support for assistance.

Less active members:
-may be reached through family history activities
-may respond to an invitation to attend a family history class.

An individual in Murray was trying to get her family history program doing. She went to her bishop and said may I have more consultants here’s the things we would like to do. The bishop said I am sorry, I cannot call more people. We just don’t have the resources to do that in the ward. So she decided to build her own staff. She started to go out and work with less active members in the ward and got them involved in family history. Guess who got active because they were doing family history? When she left the ward she had sixteen family history consultants. She moved out to Kerns. They were all less actives that became active because of family history. She went to the bishop and then said here’s my person and he gave them the calling. So she built her own staff.

More Ways to Find Members to Help
1. Work with priesthood and auxiliary leaders:
-these could be the first families or individuals you assist in your calling
If you are working with that priesthood group and encouraging them to give you names maybe some of those are the first members that you help. Maybe you work with the ward leaders because then they would know, oh this is what it means to be a family history consultant and to work with them. When it comes around the table as an agenda item then they know that’s what family history means. I can definitely recommend my friend for that. It’s no different than when you have missionaries in your ward. You sometimes what for the missionaries you feel comfortable with to recommend your friends, because you want them to feel comfortable with the missionaries. That is why the Church now is looking at keeping missionaries for sometimes in areas and ward for up to a year. So that members can be comfortable, and friendly enough to recommend your friends to the missionaries.

2. Teach about temple and family history work
-quorum and auxiliary lessons
-fifth Sunday presentations
-enrichment activities
-Sacrament meeting talks

3. Work with the Youth
-Help youth complete family history activities to fulfill requirements for Duty to God, Scouting, and Personal Progress awards.
-Help youth and their families find the names of ancestors who need ordinances for temple excursions.

We have experienced a youth group coming to the FHC and saying I am going to the temple tomorrow and I have to have some names. I love that, but that is not how it works. So if you are working with them make sure they are aware of that too.

In the next hour I am going to discuss:
-Prepare for Your Visit
-Visit with and Teach Members
-Helping Members with Different Needs
-Temple policies

This presentation is available on DVDs #109 & 110 for UVPAFUG members to borrow or purchase.

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