The Gift of Family History
Terry Mason
October 2004
Click to go to Terry's Lessons & Handouts files
Thanks to the California Sacramento Mission for originally sharing this concept of "The Gift" with us.
Click here to view an explanation about Family History from the Church web site."

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You have my permission to download and use the following:

Sept. 2004 Priesthood PowerPoint presentation   45,686KB zipped ppt file.
View PowerPoint presentation.

Clermont Gift of Family History Packet   74,634KB pdf file
Clermont Gift of Family History Packet   71,641KB zipped pdf file

Clermont-Tell Me About Your Family Card  151KB pdf file
Tell Me About Your Family Card - example 1  
Tell Me About Your Family Card - example 2  
Clermont-Tell Me About Your Family Card  613KB wpd file - WordPerfect document

"What to Know Before You Go To The Temple" by President Hinckley   2,745KB pdf file

The Gift of the Family is NOT a Church approved program. There are things in my presentation that address issues not included in the mission's presentation, such as the role of the Elder's quorum leaders, using redeem committees, the Bishopric calling members to ward family history classes, the calling of staff to the family history center, and the responsibilities of members regarding family history.

If you do obtain the mission's files, you will have to "modify" them to suit you own situation. For example, I could not offer to local leaders the "red" file which the mission prepared, because it outlines the role of the missionary, and even if our unit leaders wanted to, we would have no right to direct a missionaries' effort. Only their mission president can do that.

So many are not involved in keeping their family's history. That suggests to me we need to following the counsel within Joseph Smith's statement, "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves." Priesthood leaders have the primary responsibility to inspire and teach members to turn their hearts to their fathers. When leaders bear testimony of the doctrines of temple and family history work, members will feel the Spirit and many will respond.

In the April 1998 General Conference President Hinckley said, "The purpose of family history is to identify our ancestors, link them into families, and provide temple ordinances for them."

In the May 1998 Ensign, p. 88, he states, "If temple ordinances are an essential part of the restored gospel, and I testify that they are, then we must provide the means by which they can be accomplished. All of our vast family history endeavor is directed to temple work. There is no other purpose for it. The temple ordinances become the crowning blessings the Church has to offer."

I've developed a love of my family through "identifying" them and doing family history ordinances for them. To me this work can only be motivated by love, not in response to imposing statements which shame us into doing our family history. This love is "turning the hearts of the children to their fathers". To "identify" an ancestor is more than giving them names, dates, and places to qualify for ordinances.

Family History record keeping is work and I think there is reluctance to pay attention to it because it seems overwhelming, but there can be great satisfaction and an eternal reward if we will work at it one task at a time during all our life.