How area temple and family history advisers can help stake leaders

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: 

As requested by an Area Seventy, orientation and support are also available through the Priesthood and Family Department's area support managers.

Related Stories
3 FamilySearch features to help new and beginning users search and find their ancestors
How a Chinese-speaking ward in Utah found dozens of family names last month to take to the temple
A look at FamilySearch events and milestones in 2021
Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed

New headstones, acquired by the Barrhead Ward in partnership with Family Community Support Services, will permanently preserve the memory of Black pioneers in Campsie, Alberta. Local Latter-day Saints began the restoration of this site in 1997 in honor of Pioneer Heritage Service Day.

These new mission presidents and companions have been called to serve by the First Presidency. They will begin their service in July.

$10.4 million was donated through the 2023 Giving Machines in 61 locations across seven countries.

Lynne M. Jackson is the great-great-granddaughter of Dred and Harriet Scott, who were denied their freedom by the Supreme Court in 1857.

Members of the Relief Society general presidency share their excitement for the upcoming event celebrating the anniversary — and purpose — of Relief Society.

Feb. 29 letter also gives directives that only sacrament services be held on Easter Sunday.