Ward Councils Can Strengthen Sisters by Helping Them See the Blessings of Participating in Family History and Temple Work
The Leader’s Guide to Temple and Family History Work shows Church leaders and members of ward councils ways that they can work together to bless the lives of individuals and families using family history and temple work as a resource. This issue of the newsletter focuses on how the Relief Society presidency can bless the lives of sisters and families through these efforts. Relief Society sisters have a profound influence on family life. Sisters in the ward should understand the powerful influence that participation in temple and family history work has in strengthening the family and in building family harmony. It is a way for family members to feel the Holy Ghost bear witness of the divine nature of the family.
The Relief Society and the Work of Salvation(See Leader’s Guide, 3, 11, 17, 18)
As a member of the ward council, the ward Relief Society president encourages sisters in the Relief Society organization to “participate in family history work by identifying their deceased relatives, requesting temple ordinances for them if needed, and providing the ordinances themselves in the temple if possible” (Leader’s Guide, 3).
Consultants reach out to Relief Society leaders by “helping them get started with their own family history so they can perform temple ordinances for their deceased relatives” and by “demonstrating how family history can help them in their calling to minister to those whom they serve” (Leader’s Guide, 18).
A Consultant and a Relief Society President Work Together to Minister to Ward SistersA particular ward council, in their desires to provide another source of spiritual nourishment to sisters, assigned a consultant to the Relief Society president to help her understand how family history and temple work could assist in ministering to sisters. As the consultant was helping the Relief Society president prepare names for the upcoming ward temple night, they talked about how other sisters in the ward could participate in family history and temple work as a means of blessing their families. The Relief Society president prayed about the sisters in her ward and concluded that she could best help sisters to participate in family history and temple work if she worked with one sister at a time.
The Relief Society president felt that a newly baptized single mother with a large family that included several teenagers could be one of the first to benefit from doing family history and temple work. The mother began adding to her family tree in new.familysearch.org, and soon, with guidance and help from the family history consultant, there were enough names for the whole family to go to the temple with the ward to perform saving ordinances for their ancestors. The mother and her young single adult daughter were baptized and confirmed for the female ancestors while the teenage sons were baptized for their male ancestors. They expressed their delight with the spirit they felt as a family while in the temple. The youth soon developed friendships with others of their age group, and the boys, who had not previously been active in seminary, accepted an invitation to attend early morning seminary, as well.
As the Relief Society president observed the mother lead her family in participating in family history and temple work and saw the changes that occurred and the way that they grew closer together as a family, her testimony that temple and family history work is one more resource to assist families to experience greater unity through feeling the Holy Ghost was strengthened.
Click on the following links to see more real-life examples of family history and temple work blessing the lives of new convert sisters. The first example is about a widow who was thrilled to learn through the missionaries that eternal family relationships are available through temple ordinances. In the second example, a young mother who recently joined the Church desired to strengthen her young family and was blessed in those efforts through doing family history and temple work.