Sunday, September 13, 2015

Temple Work For The Dead

This Saturday we had a wonderful youth temple trip.  We were able to print a few names from my husband's side of the family and watch the young men and young women be baptized and confirmed for our family members.  What a glorious experience!  

My talk for Sacrament meeting the next morning was on temple work and I wanted to post a couple of my thoughts here.

"… In the Kirtland Temple, (the prophet) Joseph Smith had received a vision of the celestial kingdom in which he saw his brother Alvin, who had died before Joseph had received the gold plates (see D&C 137 ). Joseph was surprised to see Alvin in the celestial kingdom, because Alvin had not been baptized before he died. The Lord explained to Joseph that all people who would have received the gospel, been baptized, and lived righteously if they had been given the opportunity will be able to be in the celestial kingdom. Joseph later learned that baptisms for the dead could be done vicariously, using people on the earth as proxies."

What glorious doctrine!  I wonder what it would have been like to have been one of the earlier saints and been there when this revelation was announced to the church.

I found a talk by James E. Faust and loves what he says about family history.

… Some who are interested in family history try to enhance their own image by linking up with prominent people. In my own experience it has been quite different. I have been fascinated by learning of some of the unknown, ordinary people whose records tell of heroic lives. Arthur R. Bassett once said: “Who among us wants to throw stones at their own ancestors? I, for one, am intrigued by their battles—their victories as well as their defeats. … I am fascinated by what may seem the most commonplace of lives, because I have come to realize the excitement that is concealed in the commonplace.”

It is not likely that you will find any horse thieves in your ancestral line. But if you do, it is important that their temple work be done, because we believe in repentance for the dead also.

Pause.  It's important to know that in my family history tree I come from some lines of different people who maybe didn't make the best choices in their lives.  I took this moment to publicly apologize if any of my ancestors had ever offended anyone else's ancestors.  I have some pirate blood, so there may be a chance that my family has pillaged or stole from your family.  I'm related to one of the judges for the Salem Witch trials, cowboys that were kicked out of the state for harboring criminals, and I am apparently a direct descendant of Attila the Hun.  

When I was on I was almost tempted to add to the family memories a Disney photo of the bad guy from Mulan.  But then I think the Holy Ghost prompted me that that probably wasn't appropriate.

Ancestors who have been found are no doubt anxious and thrilled when their names are cleared for ordinances.  They, however, may not be very happy when they have to continue to wait for their ordinances to be performed.

I heard this quote recently that says, "Every month has an average of 30-31 days... Except the last month of pregnancy, which has 1,453 days."  This is very accurate I am currently discovering.

If I'm having a hard time being patient enough to get through this last month of pregnancy, I cannot imagine the perspective of ancestors who have been waiting and waiting all these years to finally have someone help them with their ordinances.

It's like the lesson we learn in primary where you have a comb and have to brush your hair without bending your elbows.  Have you ever tried it?  It's impossible.  Those who have died without completing their ordinances are relying on us and "handing over the comb" so we can assist them in accomplishing their goals that they cannot complete alone.  


”In an article in the March 2013 New York Times entitled “The Stories That Bind Us,” author Bruce Feiler shared psychologists’ findings that the more children knew about their family history, the better they were able to handle stressful situations.  The reasons were that the children realized they were a part of something bigger than themselves, they understood their family overcame many ups and downs, and they believed they could overcome difficulties too.

1. Connect with extended family through pictures.  You can explore photos of your family that others may have added to
2. Share stories that you and your family remember about yourselves, your parents, and your grandparents.  Write the stories in the booklet, My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together.  Glue photos into the booklet.
3. Role play a family story, dressing up in costumes and everything.
4. Participate in indexing.
5. Connect with ancestors through food or a tradition.  This one could be really fun to cook up a foreign meal together as a family.
6. A fun way to get into family history is to record your living relatives telling stories about their lives.
7.  Digitize your family photos.  Help your grandparents scan all their old prints or slides so they can be posted online and available to the entire family.
8. Discover your fan chart.  Did you know in the worldwide membership of the church, fifty-one percent of adults currently do not have both parents in the family tree section of the FamilySearch internet site?  And sixty-five percent do not have all four grandparents listed.
9. Take an ancestors name to the temple.
10. Record your life.  Remember that telling your own story is part of doing family history.  As President Boyd K. Packer has said, "If you don't know where to start, start with yourself.  If you don't know what records to get, and how to get them, start with what you have."

Lastly, I always wished I had a more organized way to visually see what temple work still needs to be done on my family tree.  FamilySearch does an amazing job, but even then, I sometimes get confused clicking on a relative and branching out in random directions and somehow get lost.  I made a super simple printout for marking family members as their temple work gets checked off.  I may be the only one who will ever use it, but I'll post it here just in case it's able to help anyone else out as well.

I heart family!  I'm so grateful for temples and the blessings Heavenly Father has given us to always be bonded to our families forever.

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