Sunday, April 2, 2017

Look--I'm Just Looking For Names To Take To the Temple

Often, when I am helping a Church member with their family on FamilySearch Family Tree, I notice they have no sources added to their family or I notice pretty glaring inaccuracies. So, after I help them with the problem they came to me about, I'll point out one thing they could do to improve their tree data. Maybe I'll show them some record hints and suggest we look at them together to see if they can learn more about their ancestors and possibly find missing family members. Or I'll point out a problem in a family relationship--such as a mother having children after her death--and suggest that we do some research together to try to fix that problem.

Most of the time, members are happy to have suggestions and help to learn more about those who went before and gave them life. They are happy to do what they can to create an accurate record of their ancestors.

But, once in a while, I encounter a person who has absolutely no interest in any of this. This is often a strong stalwart Church member--active in every respect. But the only interest is to find tree information already put together and then to find some green temple icons in order to take family names to the temple.

I feel very sad when I have such an encounter. Sad for the ancestors of this person. Sad for this person.

If a member feels that all they need to do is find names to take to the temple, they do not understand what this work is all about for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's NOT about having family file names to do when you go to the temple. If you're taking "names" to the temple, you are still providing a great service to someone waiting for this opportunity. But you are completely missing out on the tremendous blessing and deeper purpose of this work.

What did Moroni tell Joseph Smith when quoting Malachi regarding the return of Elijah?
And 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. It if were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.
How can my heart turn to someone I don't know? As I have delved, even a little bit, into the records of the lives of my "fathers" and "mothers", sometimes it's almost like reading a really gripping novel, where you find yourself completely swept up in one or more of the characters. I feel the pain of a great-great-grandmother who lost 4 sons in the Civil War. I marvel at the strength and courage of a great-grandmother who made her way from England to Canada to Michigan to North Carolina as a young girl, looking for a better life. I feel like I really want to sit down and talk to a great-great-grandfather when I get to the other side and ask him, "Who ARE your parents? I've looked and looked for them."

I marvel that I can feel such a deep connection and love for people just by looking at the few records left behind of their lives. But that is indeed one of the blessings and miracles of this work.

As we hold in our hearts the many promises in scripture regarding family and salvation; as we come to know our ancestors and turn our hearts to them; this work becomes a great joy. And we want to do all we can to provide an accurate record of their lives. And, when we go to the temple, we aren't taking names--we are going with our family.

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