What Inspires You to Do Family History?
It’s been a while since General Conference. We’ve been looking back at addresses that touched us. We hope you enjoy this short series on the talks.
“He shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.” Doctrine & Covenants 2:2
Recently I taught our Relief Society Lesson on Elder Scott’s Conference address entitled, The Joy of Redeeming the Dead. Now I’m a pretty big history fan, but finding names and dates of people to take the temple still sounds just so, well, tedious. And if I feel that way, I’m certain others do, too.
In preparing for the lesson, I wanted to connect with people who have caught the family history bug, share their stories, and spread their excitement to the class. I made several phone calls the week prior to the lesson and found three things that get people into family history:
1. They have a positive experience doing it.
2. It’s a puzzle; puzzles are fun!
3. We have been asked to do it; we are obedient.
One sister shared how she had visited some extended family years ago, then shortly after returning home, one of her uncles passed away. A year or so later she couldn’t get him out of her mind and realized she needed to do his temple work. She got everything in order, but when it came time to do the ordinances, the computer to record the sealing at the temple wasn’t working. They decided to try anyway, and miraculously, the computer did work just for them! This woman said that she learned that the people who have passed on before us want their work done so badly that they will do anything to influence the situation.
Another woman took a ward family history class and then felt ready to take on some family history challenges. There had been an infant death as well as some adoptions in the family, and after three years of difficult research, she not only was able to figure out the answers to the original questions, but had also found 20-30 people along the way who also needed temple work done! As she researched, she felt like she was “in their time,” “living with them,” and began to “think like they think.” She was so happy to have made a difference in their lives.
My dad enjoys doing puzzles, and he sees family history as a giant puzzle. He gets some temporal satisfaction out of his research, then when he finds someone who needs temple work done, feels that wonderful spiritual confirmation that he’s made a difference in someone’s life.
In Relief Society, one grandma shared how her mother looked at family history also like a puzzle. She sensed an urgency to get the temple work done for a certain person, and never gave up until she found what she was looking for. After 30 years of searching, she found the information she needed in a book full of additional ancestors who also needed their temple work done!
When I talked to my mom, she said one reason she does family history is because we’ve been asked to. “We do it because we should.” She’s the one with the Scandinavian lines that can be discouraging to research, so she is diligent in doing her best. Even if we start out doing family history because we are obedient, eventually that leads to putting some puzzle pieces together, which leads to positive experiences, then we want to do it again.
As I studied Elijah and interpreted his responsibility as presiding over family history and temple work, I sensed that the veil between this life and the next is thin and want to be a part of it. When I hear what inspires others to do family history, I also get excited to help find and save the souls who have passed on to the next life.
“This work is a spiritual work, a monumental effort of cooperation on both sides of the veil, where help is given in both directions.”
What inspires YOU to do family history?
Image credits: about.com, lds.org