From: Arlene firstname.lastname@example.org
After reading the letter from Barbara, I have to put in my two cents worth. I am LDS and have been a volunteer at a FHC for 15+ years. We were trained to help all patrons whether they wanted help in research or preparing names for temple work. We also had non LDS members as volunteers and they were more than willing to help members with the temple work process as well as the research process.
Those who were not research oriented helped patrons with films, books cashiering, etc. while those of us who were skilled in the research process were able to sit down with a patron and start them on their way teaching them how to do the research for themselves. We did have volunteers who were more skilled in certain areas than others were, and yes, we would bring them into the process.
According to what Barbara mentioned in her letter I get the impression that she is unhappy in her position as a volunteer. She should make the director of the FHC aware of her feelings and maybe a change can be made with more hands on training for ALL volunteers. The volunteers should be respectful of all patrons not just LDS patrons. At the FHC I was with, our patron attendance was at least 90% non-LDS researchers.
All FHCs should have extensive training for volunteers.
LDS or non-LDS volunteers need to know how to research properly to enable them to help others. I agree with Barbara that some of the volunteers who have been called to that position are fulfilling a 'committment of necessity rather than interest', but on the whole, they are very few in numbers. I do not agree that patrons get less help from LDS volunteers than non-LDS volunteers. There should be no difference in who helps whom. All patrons have the right to have the help that is necessary for them to continue their research.
I am very blessed, as the research process comes extremely natural to me. I enjoy it immensely not only for myself but in helping others to grasp the research knowledge. I am especially happy to finally get my daughter interested in the research process. She is doing background research on the areas and time periods that our ancestors lived. A family history is not complete after you have collected the names and dates of your ancestors. You need to know all aspects of what our ancestors went through in the 1700s and 1800s etc. to enable each of us to live as freely as we do today. If this part of research is left out, you miss a very important area of family history. To others, doing this type of research is just like learning a foreign language by themselves with no outside help.
I wish Barbara good luck in her future work as a volunteer at her local FHC and that she may come to see that not all LDS volunteers are looking just to 'fulfill their commitment' only. Has Barbara thought of volunteering to do indexing [at www.FamilySearchIndexing.org ]? She could play a big part in behalf of millions of people by doing this work.
I enjoy your blog and thank you for the opportunity to let my thoughts be known as well as those of Barbara and others who have had the same type of experience she has gone through. I hope to see and visit with you again at one of the future Family History Fairs planned for this year. Since I took your challenge, I am still busy indexing and enjoying it. very much. Thank you again for your inspiration I have received from past seminars.
You have a wonderful way of expressing your views. Ever think about writing a genealogy column?
Kindest regards &
Happy family tree climbing!
Your friend in genealogy.