by Brother and Sister Miller, Area Advisers New England
While in Boston Temple recently, we had the chance to chat with a worker. She was still learning but was so sincere and kind that it made the temple experience special. During a break, she mentioned the family cards we had and said she wished she could do work for her family. Her mother, who had passed on, had been active in family research, and the daughter felt there was more that needed to be done. However, her husband currently is in Afghanistan and in addition to serving in the temple, she works full-time. We appreciated her taking the time to serve as a temple worker – there were so few workers that if she was not there, we would not be able to do the work for my family.
We felt impressed to ask a little about her family and then offered to help. When we got home, it was easy to see where the mother had left off, and with my new friend’s helper information, we identified a couple dozen family names for her to do. We emailed the ordinance request and she now is working on those names.
As consultants or genealogical enthusiasts, sometimes we think everyone should be like us. But we forget that just as researchers are essential, temple workers also are essential. And temple attenders who act as proxies are equally important. So are the ones who watch the children so young couples can attend the temple, and those who give rides. One of the most important gifts is the spirituality to sense that there are people waiting who want your help.
As D&C 46:11-12 makes clear, we all have different gifts, and all of them come together beautifully as we offer temple blessings to our family. Without this diversity, no work would get done. Some of our gifts take cultivating – learning New FamilySearch is easier for some than others. In addition, the “helper” feature lets us help others who may be more productive as temple workers or patrons.
It is not necessary for everyone to become researchers or use the computer. Church leaders have made that clear. It takes more than just one person to complete the process of offering temple ordinances to your ancestors. We all need to work together – using our own gifts. As Dallin Oaks said, “our effort is not to compel everyone to do everything, but to encourage everyone to do something.”
How can this strengthen your ward or branch? As consultants and priesthood leaders, it is important that we help people recognize the part they can play – because without everyone, this essential work will not be done and needed blessings will not come to each individual who participates. Many people do not recognize their gift, and some feel inadequate because they do not recognize the importance of their gift. By working together, we lift each other while engaging in our divinely mandated task. Ward and branch councils can play an important role in opening the way for everyone to discover and use their gifts.