Better support for FamilySearch users who are not members of the Church
Here are a few ideas on how we could offer better support for non-members on how to use FamilySearch.
First, we need to re-think our approach to missionary work. Often we preach the gospel, and as the investigator shows progress, we introduce family history -- and results are meager. Let's instead teach people everywhere to set up their family trees in FamilySearch, and if they show interest in the restored gospel: great!; and if they don't: that's fine too, we just want to help them connect with their families. Let's lead with family history and let the missionary work follow naturally if it does.
Second, here are some ideas:
- Train all missionaries to help non-members with FamilySearch. How to start a new account from scratch, how to add close family members, how to link sources and hints, how to add memories. Make this part of the curriculum at the MTC and zone conferences.
- In the "I need help" in FamilySeach, if the user is a member, connect them to local family history consultants; but if the user is not a member, connect them to live support at the MTC, the same place where missionaries field media referrals.
- If the non-member user wants more help, refer to the local missionaries. The local missionaries soon stop by to help, the same with a media referral, but with a different scope.
- Create a new version of the My Family brochure (green), but with no mention of ordinances. Focus on the point of view of a non-member starting from scratch.
- Get more agressive in offering this community service to churches, governments, and other groups around the world. If we lead with family history, let missionary work follow naturally.
Attached is a deck that I use to train people at work, in my HOA, and in our schools. My son has started a "genealogy club" at high school with the vision of helping all students, faculty, and staff set up their family tree online. It works.