Letter to FS
I need to give extreme negative feedback to your new 300 name limitation on reservation lists. It’s probably the worst decision the church has ever made. I’ve been doing family history for 30 years, worked as a professional genealogist for 15 years. I’ve been in a stake that was ranked number one in family history in the world for several years, spoken at Rootstech, wrote a book 20 Miracles of Family History. I used to work for FamilySearch in their missionary department & knowledge article department. Whoever decided to make this rule clearly does not do a lot of family history, nor understands the complicated components of the production line of hastening the work.
First, this rule wrongly assumes that if a large number of names are on one account it blocks more people from doing family history. It is the exact opposite of that. We are distributing many names from one account to hundreds of people. Dozens of youth groups, people from across the world, family friends, ward members. The FamilySearch system does not see that. If one of these groups are backed up due to temple closure, sickness, cancellation etc. the small limit now backs us all up like a clogged drain.
Usually we were able to get a thousand names done a week. Now we can barely do any, if one group is backed up.
The response might be, “just share them off the list with other people.” We have done that, but they, too, get backed up by the small limit. We also used to be able to share with other people names from our shared list. That capability has also been removed. The only way to share from a shared list is to unshare. But you can’t even unshare because of the small strict limit number on your reservation. Everything is clogged up.
Now so much time is wasted trying to figure out what new account we can send these names to, to avoids back up problems, which might artificially bump up your account involvement stats, but it is definitely not helping in hastening the work. People who were once actively engaged just give up doing family history all together & the people receiving names on their account are frustrated because many are unfamiliar & overwhelmed by technology. Physically handing them a card was a much easier way to help them get involved.
They estimate that abt 110 billion people have lived on the Earth & the church has done about 2 billion names. The field is white & ready to harvest many more of these other very many billion names not limit the ones that are already engaged in harvesting.
Also by limiting people of exotic origins it will a be very slim chance that other people will pick up those names, so they will be left floating in the system for many years
If the church really wants to get more people involved in family history, punishing & restricting people who are actively engaging & hastening in the work, & distributing names is never going to be the answer. It’s a fallacy of people who aren’t seeing the big picture, but looking at small unsuccessful remedies. You don’t increase missionary work by shutting down the people who are working hard & effectively doing it. It reminds me of unsuccessful political programs that have a lot of red tape shutting down hard working people.
We also have had problems with the only 5 names baptism rule. We will have an hour apt & told we can only do 5 names in that hour even though nobody is scheduled & 45 minutes go empty. This has been the case recently at Newport Beach temple. They were the second busiest small temple & now the temple presidency has said it has gone down due to inflexible policies.
When talking to FamilySearch when they came out to visit our stake for our successes & to find out what we were doing to engage more people, I explained that a goal or challenge needs to come from the top, just like reading the Book of Mormon by the end of the year.
The response I got was, “Well, if that happened than FamilySearch wouldn’t be able to handle the load.” I said, “Well, then build a bigger stronger system.” If Facebook can handle billions of people, surely the Lord at the helm trying to achieve temple work & gathering of Israel & temple work for every single person can accomplish a system to support this grand vital goal.
A clear challenge & goal from the top of what people specifically should be doing (even specifying the number) is the answer not all this red tape stopping the rest of us from trying to hastening on a large scale. We are all very frustrated at the forced standstill we’ve been put in.