Discover, Gather, Connect

“When we Discover, Gather, and Connect our ancestors, they support OUR story and lend us THEIR faith.”

 Dallin H. Oaks, Family Discovery Day, Roots Tech 2018

Family Tree

I attended Roots Tech 2018 at the end of February.  I was inspired by the new approach of Discover, Gather, Connect that was introduced in the classes for Family History consultants at this event.  Here is a summary of what I learned:  

Note: Beautiful Videos demonstrating these principles in action can be found in the Consultant Resources located at

First, it is important for us to Discover.  We can discover our ancestors’ existence, their qualities. Discover what we have in common with them.

Second, we can Gather.  Gather your ancestor’s Stories. The Records Tell the Stories! Gather them into your tree and into your heart.

Finally, we Connect.  Connect your ancestors to yourself and to their other family members through Temple Ordinances.

In order to help ward members Discover, Gather, and Connect their ancestors, here are four principles for consultants to remember:

Pray to be led by the spirit – Lead with the heart, not with the head.

“Even the best technology can never be a substitute for revelation from heaven…this is a spiritual work, and the Lord directs it through His Holy Spirit.” Henry B. Eyring, “Gathering the Family of God,” Ensign, May 2017

• Ask, “Who could benefit from getting involved in Family History?”
• Trust the Spirit
• Help Patrons recognize the Spirit of Elijah as they gather their family
• Allow the Spirit to touch and direct patrons – The joy and satisfaction of Family History work comes through spiritual feelings.
• Write down impressions and ideas that come to you as you study and pray.

Prepare a Personalized Plan

Determine Patron’s Goals:

• Ask Patrons what they would like to accomplish
• Encourage them to seek inspiration regarding promptings, desires, or goals in family history and temple service.
• Invite them to prepare before each lesson
• Be mindful of Stake and Ward Goals – “Ask not what your priesthood leaders can do for you, ask what you can do for your priesthood leaders.” Find out what their goals are and figure out a way to fit temple and family history into that framework.

Prepare the Experience:

• Request access to patron’s family tree through the consultant planner
• Outline your plan beforehand
• Include personalized discovery experiences

Minister One-on-One

• Keep your lesson simple and focused – 30-40 minutes MAXIMUM!
• Be flexible – the people you help may have specific needs that will alter your plan
• Focus on the individual you are helping. Don’t be so focused on your plan that you miss opportunities to address specific needs.
• Provide one-one-one support
• Show love toward the individual you are helping. How would the Savior approach helping this individual?
• Demonstrate interest in the individual’s success. This isn’t about you, it’s about the person you are helping.
• Help the individual feel a connection to his or her ancestors – what story do the records tell? Point out commonalities between those you are helping and their ancestors. Seek guidance from the spirit.
• Pray with those you are helping – before and DURING the lesson as needed. Closing prayer to express gratitude.

Invite to Act

• Tailor the invitation to the individual – People will feel prompted as they work. Ask, “What do you think you should do next?” Even setting up another meeting is an invitation to act.
• Ask if he or she feels prompted to share a family history experience with others.
• As appropriate, point the individual to the temple.

Be sure to follow-up with the patron on this invitation:

• You may need to meet 3-4 times before they are ready to work on their own
• Report experiences to leaders – usually in committee meetings
• Make your one-on-one experiences joyful!
• Don’t increase feelings of stress or guilt.
• Focus on patrons’ accomplishments.
• Help create meaningful personal experiences with family history.


I have found that as I have applied these principles in my lessons with ward members, they have become excited about being involved in family history.  Simple, spirit-led lessons are powerful.  This new approach is truly inspired!


Download a PDF handout of these principles that you can share as you train new consultants here:

Principles for Helping Others With Family History