For those who don’t know, the LDS Church has a genealogical system, called FamilySearch, that is an attempt to have one centralized genealogical tree for the entire world, we people can coordinate and share information about their forebears. Part of this system is also used to track the work we do in our Temples in behalf of the dead (baptism, sealing families together, etc). When I was last in the Temple (Saturday, thanks to the encouragement of my lovely wife), I had some ideas on what the Church FamilySearch and Temple programs could do to improve the process of taking names of family members to the Temple to do their work. I’ve no idea how I could get the idea to the people who would need to hear it, but I thought I’d put it down here at least.
Right now, each member can log onto the FamilySearch system, find relatives whose work has not yet been completed, reserve them, and take the list of names they have reserved to the Temple to have them printed before taking each name to the respective proxy work. Some people have worked to have large stacks of names, which will often take years to complete, while others who do not have their own names will get names from the general “pool” of all names the Church has that need work.
What if, instead of having cards you carry around and occasionally lose, you could go to the desk for the proxy work, scan your Temple Recommend (these had become bar coded a few years ago) and have printed out right then one of the names of family you had reserved? If you don’t have any family names ready for work, you could instead be given the name of an ancestor of someone in your ward who has not had the time to get their large amount of work done. Failing the ward level, this could even be expanded to the stake before having to go to the general Church lists.
In the FamilySearch system, this would be as simple as having some process to release the names you had reserved for yourself to the Ward level. You would get a monthly email showing the names you have reserved, asking of those you’ve reserved more than a month ago if you wish to allow the Ward to do the work, and giving you a list of the names and work of your relatives done in the past month.
I see two big advantages in this. First, it would help lessen the amount of temple work done for unrelated persons, opting instead for more work for people being currently researched by our members. Second, it would increase the interaction and closeness of the members of each Ward and Stake. It would be service not only for the people for whom the work is being done, but for their descendants who did not have the time to do it themselves.
This could work for all ordinances in the Temple, and save the difficulties in finding, keeping, filing, etc, the current papers held by so many LDS genealogists.
Now, just two problems. How to write it up properly, and how to get it to someone who is in a position to make such changes . . .