Archive for the ‘Temples’ Category
Posted in Temples on June 6, 2012 |
Again we are very fortunate to have an article written by Ralph and Linda Miller, Area FH Advisers in New England. We thank them for sharing
Family history is one of the most popular hobbies there is, and the church’s contributions toward family history research are well known. However, we are not using family history to create missionary opportunities as much as we could. What could we do better? Here are some of our thoughts.
When the members of the public are engaged in family history, it is a win-win-win. As they learn more about their ancestors, they feel the Spirit of Elijah, which is the Holy Ghost. As they gather identifying information, it becomes available for potential submission for temple ordinances. As they learn more about their ancestors characters and accomplishments, important lessons are gathered which help them better face life’s challenges. As they learn more about the church’s interest in building eternal families, they may wish to find out more about the church and its doctrines.
Too often, we miss some of the most important opportunities associated with family history. Or in an effort to save time for our nonmember friends, we deny them the excitement of discovery.
Why family history? We often begin presentations about LDS resources by reading Malachi 4:5-6 as a basis for LDS interest in family history. We explain that turning “the heart of the children to their fathers” is tracing your ancestors, and “the heart of the fathers to the children” is recording our own personal history and keeping journals. Besides explaining the importance of family history, this reaffirms our belief in the Bible as scripture.
People are interested in stories and interesting facts. Sometimes we think more is better, so we rush to gather names, dates and places, without bothering to learn much about the individuals. If you’ve watched some of ancestry.com’s commercials lately, you’ve seen that what they think is most exciting are seemingly minor facts like occupation or address. People were more interested in knowing that an aunt lived in a building just a couple blocks away, or that their grandfather was the first doctor in town.
Help people discover facts – perhaps their occupation, where they lived, or interesting stories. These bring the people to life – much more than a chart full of names, dates and places. Working from those facts, see what more you can help them discover. This may be a different approach than the LDS name-identifying, but it appeals to those who really want to understand their ancestors.
People feel the Holy Ghost when they research their families, and it is a good feeling. In our efforts to interest people in family history, we may offer to do research for them – saving time but stealing the thrill. Rather than doing the work for them, sit down together and show them some actual documents, such as census record or birth, marriage and death certificate. Show them the additional clues the document provides. Let them be the explorer.
As they discover clues about an ancestor’s identify, their hearts turn and they feel the Holy Ghost confirm the eternal nature of families – that this person is truly part of them. Don’t skip this important step.
Methodology is less interesting than people. If you plan a family-history-oriented event for the general public, emphasize families, individuals and relationships more than research methodology. Experts find research strategies or resources interesting, but most people do not. They don’t want to become experts – they just want to learn more about their family. Save technical topics for classes for advanced researchers.
One of the opportunities many LDS researchers miss is talking with relatives. While genealogists are more comfortable in quiet archives, the real heart-turning comes when you are face-to-face with someone who can tell you about his or her life and relatives. Spend time in meaningful conversation rather than just gathering facts in quiet solitude.
Listen, listen, listen. As Steve Covey says, seek first to understand than to be understood. People aren’t going to listen if they don’t think you understand what they are interested in. When talking with someone about family history, ask questions to discover what they are really interested in. Don’t have your explanations planned in advance. What do they want? Do they want to know about their heritage, or are there certain family members they really feel drawn to? Do they miss someone who has passed on and want to preserve their memory somehow? Would the idea of eternal marriage or eternal family relationships be something they are interested in right now?
(From the Monthly Newsletter published by Ralph and Linda Miller, Area Advisers in New England – we thank them for letting us use their article)
In family history research, we use a variety of sources to get information – people, books, internet, religious and government records. All of these are “sources.”
Often we find conflicting information from different records. Ages may vary – a little or a lot. Name spellings may vary. Sometimes the differences are slight; sometimes they are major – completely different names or places, for instance. So which source is right? What information do we select and what do we discard?
Sources are classified as primary and secondary sources. Which type they are is determined by time – how soon after the event the record was made.
Primary source documents are records made at or very near the time of the event. Who made the record is not important – when it was made is the key factor. A birth certificate, for example, is a primary record for date and place of birth and the name at birth. A diary or letter could be a primary source – Susie had a baby last Tuesday, or I went to Harry’s funeral yesterday – both of these are primary source records for the event they describe.
Secondary source records are records that are made later. This is all the other records not made at or very near the time of the event. There is no specific amount of time that determines which kind the record is.
Most records are both primary and secondary source documents. A birth record, as stated above, is primary for the name, date and place of birth, and the mother’s name and occupation.. However, it is secondary for the mother’s age and place of birth. A death record is primary for the date and place of death, and secondary for other information – the birth date, birth place, parents’ names, etc.
Secondary records aren’t bad – we depend on them. Sometimes they are the only information we can get. But when there are conflicts, evaluate the sources to determine which is most reliable.
Government records are not necessarily more or less reliable than personal records like journals or letters. Again, it comes down to how close to the event the record was made. A letter that says “I went to Harry’s funeral yesterday” is a better source than even Harry’s headstone.
Likewise, a story from a letter describing an incident (such as a battle in a war) may be more accurate than a regimental history of the same incident written many years later.
Census records are always secondary records. They are good, but they are simply a record of what the enumerator was told about who lived in the house. They are very useful, but they are not primary for proper name, age or birth date, or place of birth. Still, they give a lot of information and sometimes are the only source available to us (vital records may not have been kept then).
Likewise, books are always secondary sources. They may contain information gathered from primary sources (or they may not), but they are secondary records. Internet sites with compiled genealogies are secondary sources. Even if they name the source they used, they are still secondary sources for you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them, just understand that they aren’t primary.
What records are acceptable sources for temple ordinances? We are asked to find the best information we can. If a better source is easily available, we should use it, but we do not need to rely only on primary sources – because many times they do not exist. New FamilySearch uses relationships as well as dates and places to identify someone. If Harry was John and Susie’s son, it is clear which Harry we are talking about, even if the birth date is a year or two off (Harry would probably appreciate that).
What if you find better information after an ordinance has been performed? You can always update the record in New FamilySearch, using either the “edit” feature on the detail view (if you submitted the information you want to change), or adding corrected information in the “summary” view (if someone else submitted the information you want to correct). You also can add notes to clarify, and you should enter the source with enough detail that someone else can evaluate your source.
Ordinances are valid even if dates, spellings or places are incorrect. Never re-submit a name for ordinances if the ordinance was done for the person but the date or place was wrong.
You can find the answer in the Help Centre (make sure you are signed in first if you are using FamilySearch.org). I search for Deceased Member and get 2 helpful knowledge documents (remember you can search just by the number):
1. 1025085 which is from A User’s Guide to the New FamilySearch Website (20 February 2012) (LDS Version) Handling Ordinances That Were Reserved by a Member Who Is Now Deceased or Incapacitated
If a Church member reserved ordinances and then dies or cannot complete the ordinances for other reasons, those ordinances remain in their current state unless someone else has the cards and finishes the ordinances. If cards were never printed or if the cards have been lost, you need to work with a system administrator to see what can be done.
Currently, system administrators cannot change all of a deceased member’s ordinance reservations at once. Therefore, please limit your request to ten individuals at a time. Your request can include more individuals if they are in the same family.
Please send the following information to email@example.com:
The person identifier of the individual whose ordinances need to be unreserved.
The name and death date of the deceased individual who reserved the ordinances.
Your relationship to the individual who reserved the ordinances.
Your full name.
Your birth date.
Your helper access number (which you can find in your user profile).
If the individual who originally reserved the ordinances is not deceased but is no longer able to print cards or perform temple work, please explain the circumstances.
This knowledge document then has links to other related topics
2. 103836 How long does it take Church membership to transfer deceased Church members’ information to the new FamilySearch?
The Church Membership Department has to be notified of the deceased member’s death date. The time period for Church membership to transfer a deceased Church member’s information to the new FamilySearch may take up to a year from the date the Church Membership Department receives the information.
Personal comment: when a friend passed away and I was helping the family retrieve all the names from his reserve list, the ward clerk sent in the notice of death and within days the account was closed!
Remember that previously printed temple cards remain valid.
Note: apologies for the duplicate article to those of you who subscribe by email. We have had a computer operator error! – i.e. Peter pressed the wrong key, sent out the article by email, but didn’t post it to the website! – it’s an important article anyway which is only emphasized by sending it out twice!
Much has been reported in the media regarding baptism for the dead in recent weeks. This is a good time for us to review and teach people to understand and follow policies regarding submission of names to the temple
There have been reports of members of the church not following temple policies and entering names of deceased holocaust victims or famous people to whom they are not related. People rightfully have been offended. We should be following our own temple policies.
We have also become aware of other members ignoring temple policies and taking names of unrelated persons to the temple.
On 29 February the First Presidency sent a letter to every unit of the church asking us to follow temple policies. The letter asks members to seek assistance from their Family History Consultant – so be prepared. On 9 March you should have received a letter from the FH Dept to Family History Consultants, Family History Center Directors, and Staff (if you did not receive this letter then go to https://www.familysearch.org/consultant/and register).
Please help members to understand and follow the direction of the First Presidency.
Here are some useful links:
- There are 2 articles in the Church News and Events section at lds,org: http://www.lds.org/church/news/church-asks-members-to-understand-policies?lang=eng and http://www.lds.org/church/news/names-submitted-for-temple-ordinances?lang=eng – the second link is the text of the First Presidency letter
- Church News 1 March 2012 – this article includes comments by Dennis C. Brimhall, the new managing director of the Church’s Family History Department – http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/62066/Family-history—Church-asks-members-to-understand-policies.html#
- CNN offers an interesting article on the topic from the public perspective (link shared with me by a good friend): http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/09/mormons-crack-down-on-proxy-baptisms-whistleblowers-access-blocked/?hpt=hp_t3
No doubt you will find many other references. There was a segment of the CBC radio program “The Current” devoted to Baptism for the Dead.
People asking about our beliefs is a good thing. Helping people understand our beliefs is wonderful.
You might want to read the following article from Mormon.org under the menu Values: http://mormon.org/family-history/ The first article is entitled “Why Family History is Important.”
Where can you read about temple policies other than the letter from the First Presidency? We would suggest that you use page 30 of the Member’s Guide to Temple and Family History Work (bearing in mind the one change from 95 to 110 years when needing permission from the nearest living relative). You can also use the Tutorials and Guides from the Help panel or Learn How to use FamilySearch from the new FamilySearch home page. A search in the Help Centre for Temple Policies will take you to the Users Guide for nFS. If we need more information the church will provide it for us.
Here is a quote from page 30 of the Member’s Guide :
“Do not submit the names of persons who are not related to you, including names of famous people or names gathered from unapproved extraction projects, such as victims of the Jewish Holocaust.”
May we strongly suggest that you do not become the judge of what is appropriate to submit. If asked a question about submission policy then quote the relevant section. Avoid contention or debate. If pressed further then suggest the person talk to their priesthood leader.
When we started writing this article a few weeks ago the objective was to make sure everyone was aware that the policy for obtaining permission to perform ordinances has changed from 95 years to 110 years - this is the only change in temple policy of which we are aware. Here is the policy (remember to sign in before accessing knowledge documents):
Knowledge Document ID 113599
“The policy for obtaining permission to perform ordinances has changed from 95 years to 110 years
At the RootsTech 2012 conference, it was announced that the 95 year rule relating to getting permission before doing living ordinances is changing.
The new policy is as follows:
Before doing ordinances for a deceased person born in the last 110 years, please remember that close relatives may not want the ordinances performed, or they may want to do the ordinances themselves.
You may do ordinances for your own deceased spouse, child, parent, or sibling, but please consider the wishes of other close living relatives, especially a living spouse.
If you are not a spouse, child, parent, or sibling of the deceased, please obtain permission from the closest living relative before doing the ordinances. The closest living relatives are, in this order: an undivorced spouse (the spouse to whom the individual was married when he or she died), an adult child, a parent, or a brother or sister.
Verbal approval is acceptable. Family members should work together to determine when the ordinances will be done and who will do them.
For information on what to do with family ordinance cards that were printed by mistake, see 1008370.”
Thank you for all that you do to help people understand how to do Temple and Family History work.
1. This week I was pleased to be able to attend the placing of the spire and Angel Moroni on the top of the Calgary Temple. Most of the granite seemed to be in place around the outside of the building. We look forward to hearing the opening date hopefully in the 3rd quarter of this year (?).
2. Thanks to a thoughtful comment and question by one of our readers recently, I was reminded that the Consultant’s Guide needs to be updated! The guide is still available as a download – go to familysearch.org/consultant – and hopefully will be updated soon. In the meantime be cautious in using the Guide. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between new.familysearch.org and familysearch.org – which has a new version. Now who hasn’t had that problem!
3. FamilySearch has a YouTube channel where you can access videos. Go to youtube.com and search for FamilySearch. Look for the link that says Channel. You can subscribe to the Channel to make it easier to get there. Why not just watch the videos on FamilySearch.org? I prefer to have the videos downloaded before the training session. Once you find a video on YouTube you can use a website such as keepvid.com to download a copy.
We hadn’t intended to write this article. We are away from home helping family and already had an article ready for you. We are busy and enjoying our grandchildren!
But . . . there were so many exciting things in the first day of General Conference that we wanted to make sure that you heard the news regarding Temple and Family History:
- Six new temples were announced -
- Provo – yes there is already one there, now there will be two! The new temple will be in the restored Provo Tabernacle that was severely damaged by fire in December 2010. http://newsroom.lds.org/ has a picture of the new Provo Temple.
- Columbia gets a second temple at Barranquilla to go with the one already in Bogota
- Durban, South Africa which means a second temple for South Africa (already one at Johannesburg)
- Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa.
- Star Valley in Wyoming (western Wyoming)
- Paris, France – although this news was “leaked” out since last conference
- A fund to assist those who live a long way from a temple so that they can attend once. This Temple Patron Assistance Fund (at least I think that was the title) will accept donations to help first time temple attendees from remote areas.
- Elder Bednar gave an exciting talk on youth and Family History in the afternoon session and announced the new Family History website for youth. For a partial summary see http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/61513/Elder-David-A-Bednar-The-hearts-of-the-children-shall-turn.html
He showed a Family History website for youth. The address given was (I believe) lds.org/familyhistoryyouth but familysearch.org/ldsyouth also works
As I didn’t hear every talk of every the morning and afternoon sessions perhaps I missed some Temple and Family History news? If so, please add through the comments.
Hope you too are having a glorious weekend!
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.
- by Ralph and Linda Miller, Area FH Advisers northern part of New England
The pink, blue and gold temple ordinance cards represent people who are ready to receive the ordinances of the temple. While the cards themselves aren’t sacred, the ordinances they represent for our deceased relatives make them very important. We receive the cards when we bring a Family Ordinance Request (FOR) to the temple. But what should we do with the cards once we receive them?
Here are some suggestions we have found helpful. Please note – these are not official policy instructions, but we hope you might find them useful, as we have.
- Sort cards by the next ordinance to be performed. Ordinances must be received in the order shown on the card. For most individual cards, baptism is the first ordinance to be completed, so put all the cards needing baptism and confirmation first. There may be some that already have baptism performed, so those would go into a pile for initiatory. Another pile will be for female endowments. Use a paper clip or rubber band to put all the female baptism ordinances together; make another stack for the female initiatory, etc.
- Put sealings together. When you sort ordinance cards, you may have some cards that only require sealing to parents. Put these with your gold couple sealing cards. The easiest way to organize them is to put the couple sealings on top, with the pink daughter sealings next, and the blue son sealings next. The entire stack should be brought with you when you perform the sealings. Remember, you cannot do sealings for children who require other ordinances (baptism, etc.) until those other ordinances are completed.
- Alphabetize each stack of cards. While not required, we like to sort the cards alphabetically. This makes it easy to put families together. It also makes it easy to tell where you are in the stack, and to quickly find an individual’s card.
- Put your cards in your temple case. Once you have sorted your cards by gender, ordinance and alphabet, be sure to bring them with you when you go to the temple. Too many times, people go to the temple and realize they left the cards in a file folder at home on the table. Keep your cards handy so you can perform ordinances whenever you go to the temple. You may wish to have your spouse keep a small supply of cards in his/her temple case as well, in case one of you attends the temple without the other. You don’t want to get there and not have any of your cards!
- Keep track of your cards. If you give cards to someone else to perform one or more ordinances, record this. If you give cards out to people to work on, get them back right away. If someone has had a card for a long time and not completed it, ask for the card back. You don’t want to have lost cards or duplicate cards. If you determine a card has been lost (or gone through the laundry), it can be reprinted. However, then it is important to destroy the previous card so there aren’t duplicates for the same person. Reprinted cards will say “reprinted” on the top.
We hope this information is helpful to you. Remember, these are not hard and fast rules, but simply suggestions we have found useful over the years. Next issue: what to do with cards once all the ordinances are completed.
by Ralph and Linda Miller, Area FH Advisers for the northern part of New England
Young people have the opportunity to complete projects to gain experience with family history and following the spirit. Young men and women can start on potentially life-changing or life-enriching experiences. One of the difficulties is finding interesting, modest projects that won’t take their entire life but will yield significant results. Here are a few thoughts that you could share with YM/YW leaders, families and youth.
- Learn about one of your ancestors. What were they like? What challenges did they face? What blessings do you have because of them? Record a faith-promoting or inspirational experience of one of your relatives (parent, grandparents, uncle, etc.). Write how that experience strengthens you.
- Begin a book of remembrance. Get a binder with divider tabs for pedigree charts, family group sheets, biographies, pictures. Also include your patriarchal blessing and your testimony (date it). Begin your personal history (life story).
- Index for 30 minutes each day for 4 weeks. Record the number of names indexed and describe what you learned during this experience.
- Prepare a talk about an inspirational experience of one of your ancestors (could be parent or further back). Write it neatly and put it in your scriptures for reference as an “instant talk.”
- Interview one of your parents or grandparents about how they received their testimony. Write it down and put it in your Book of Remembrance or scriptures.
- Download Personal Ancestral File (PAF) from the www.familysearch.org website. Create a picture pedigree, starting with yourself. Seek help from your extended family in getting pictures (headshots) of your family going back as many generations as you can. Experiment with several printing formats (PAF helps you do this) – try four generations, five generations, and see what difference it makes when you check the “allow last generation to split.” Print out the picture pedigree you like best and put it in your scriptures and/or your book of remembrance.
- Identify a deceased relative who needs temple ordinances and use New FamilySearch to prepare that person’s name to take to the temple. (Your ward family history consultant can help you do this.) Then go to the temple to be baptized for that person. Have someone take your picture near the temple door holding the temple card. Write your feelings about the experience in your journal