Following a terminology change in the December General Handbook update, multistake temple and family history consultants will be referred to as area temple and family history advisers — now a formal calling.
A notice dated Jan. 4 to Area Seventies, stake presidencies, stake councils and multistake temple and family history consultants further explained this change and provided additional information for the calling (see General Handbook 25.3.7).
What is an area temple and family history adviser?
Area temple and family history advisers support the temple and family history needs of stakes. They assist stake presidents in their efforts to teach high councils, stake Relief Society presidencies, stake adult leadership committees, and stake temple and family history consultants about their responsibilities.
These advisers serve under the direction of the area presidency, work with the Area Seventies and typically serve for three to five years, according to the notice. This is not a service missionary calling.
If circumstances allow, one individual or one couple can be called for each coordinating council (a coordinating council includes specified stakes and missions in an area and is led by an Area Seventy).
What does this change mean?
Robert Smith, an area support manager in the Church’s Priesthood and Family Department, explained that this shift aligns with the delegation of missionary work and temple and family history work in the ward to the elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies.
He described an area temple and family history adviser as “a living resource for stake leadership" who can answer questions and share best practices.
“To have this calling in place as an area temple and family history adviser allows the stakes to bring in somebody, a live person, to give help in training — particularly the stake adult leadership committee, who interface directly with the elders quorums and Relief Societies in the wards,” Smith said.
“This we hope will be effective and help stakes to carry out their goals and objectives around this piece of the work of salvation and exaltation,” he added.
What does an area temple and family history adviser do?
The notice listed several ways area temple and family history advisers can help each stake in the coordinating council unite families for eternity. For example, they could meet regularly with the Area Seventy to counsel about the needs of stakes and report on the progress and service given to stake leaders.
To support stake presidents and other stake leaders, they could conduct instruction on topics such as:
- Organizing temple and family history work in the stake and wards
- The responsibilities of elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies
- Effective temple and family history coordination meetings
- Ward planning and goal setting
- Temple preparation
- Helping new and returning members with their first temple baptism experience
- How to minister to members so they have a meaningful family history experience
The following additional resources are available:
- General Handbook chapters 1-4, 8, 9, 10, 25 and 26
- Temple and family history leadership instruction videos
- Information about family history callings found in My Calling
- RootsTech virtual sessions on leadership and callings
- Help section of FamilySearch.org
- Temple preparation resources at temple.ChurchofJesusChrist.org
As requested by an Area Seventy, orientation and support are also available through the Priesthood and Family Department's area support managers.