Much has been said about how policies are dictated from Salt Lake City and that the level of obedience expected in the Church is abnormal. I'm not interested in a discussion on obedience. It was never my strong suit anyway. Local leaders are often given considerable latitude when it comes to making policies. Sometimes this manifests as a case study in righteousness one-up-man-ship that anyone who served a mission will recognize. Other times it manifests as a creative way to get members to understand and live a sometimes-neglected aspect of the gospel. Perhaps what makes a policy change manifest into one or the other depends on how each ward chooses to respond.
Sunday, December 7th, 2014, our Bishop read this over the pulpit. It was described as coming from the Nashville area coordinating council, which is made up of several stake leaders in and around Nashville. It is led by Elder Meredith of the Seventy, whose name was also on the letter. The text below came after the words "To be read:"
The Nashville Temple Presidency and the stakes in the temple district have a goal to work toward having all ordinances in the Nashville Temple be performed using family file cards.
Members are encouraged [to] seek the information needed and then use family-file cards to perform the saving ordinances for their ancestors. Each ward should have a Family History Consultant who can assist in this effort.
If you don’t have family-file cards, you are strongly encouraged to help other members of your ward or stake complete the temple ordinances for their ancestors. Their family-file cards may be available directly from ward members or they may be obtained in the top-left-hand drawer in the cabinet just inside the waiting area of the Nashville Temple.
Each ward has an envelope arranged by stake in the referenced drawer where members from most wards have placed family-file cards to be available for others to help them complete the needed ordinance. If your ward envelope is empty or does not have a card or cards for the ordinance you are planning to perform, then please take a family-file card or cards from one of the envelopes for another ward from your stake.
In order to make it more convenient for patrons to select a family-file card or cards, the temple presidency has ordered a new cabinet that will be located in the foyer where patrons will pass it as they go to the dressing rooms. This cabinet is designed specifically to hold family-file cards and should be available early next year.
The scriptures make it clear that we cannot be saved without our kindred dead for as we read in D&C 128:15 – “For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers – that they without us cannot be made perfect – neither can we without our dead be made perfect.” We and our ancestors will be blessed as we do this work.
How would you respond if this was your temple district? Is this already being tried in other areas of the church, or are we the first? Is it working elsewhere, and if so what has made it work?