- When someone tells me that he or she is a convert to the Church, I ask, “Has anyone else in your family accepted the gospel?” When the answer is “Yes,” there follows an excited description of the happy miracle in the life of a parent or a brother or sister or a grandparent. There is joy in knowing that someone in his or her family is sharing the blessing and the happiness. When the answer is “No, so far I am the only member,” he or she will almost always speak of parents, saying something like this, “No, not yet. But I am still trying.” And you can tell from the sound in the voice that the convert will never stop trying, not ever.
He talks about this passion to share with our loved ones goes beyond this life. Our deceased ancestors are being taught the gospel in the Spirit World and their acceptance of saving ordinances relies on us to perform those ordinances on their behalf in the temple.
- Many of your deceased ancestors will have received a testimony that the message of the missionaries is true. When you received that testimony you could ask the missionaries for baptism. But those who are in the spirit world cannot. The ordinances you so cherish are offered only in this world. Someone in this world must go to a holy temple and accept the covenants on behalf of the person in the spirit world. That is why we are under obligation to find the names of our ancestors and ensure that they are offered by us what they cannot receive there without our help.
He gives us a image to ponder about a missionary waiting with our ancestors for the saving ordinances to be performed. He shares that this sacred trust is given to us by the Savior and we are partners with Him to bring eternal life to those here on earth as well as those that have passed before us.
- If you can imagine the smile of the missionary and your ancestor, think of the Savior when you meet Him. You will have that interview. He paid the price of the sins of you and all of Heavenly Father’s spirit children. He is Jehovah. He sent Elijah. He conferred the powers of the priesthood to seal and to bless out of perfect love. And He has trusted you by letting you hear the gospel in your lifetime, giving you the chance to accept the obligation to offer it to those of your ancestors who did not have your priceless opportunity. Think of the gratitude He has for those who pay the price in work and faith to find the names of their ancestors and who love them and Him enough to offer them eternal life in families, the greatest of all the gifts of God. He offered them an infinite sacrifice. He will love and appreciate those who paid whatever price they could to allow their ancestors to choose His offer of eternal life.
Doing the work for our ancestors is part of God's eternal plan. It has been the plan from the beginning. It is not always easy to find our ancestors that need these ordinances. President Eyring shares that those that are difficult to find are the most rewarding as they have almost been lost in time, waiting for you and I to spend our time searching for them and providing them with these saving ordinances. Our commitment to help them will result in a glorious reunion with them in the life to come.
- The names which will be so difficult to find are of real people to whom you owe your existence in this world and whom you will meet again in the spirit world. When you were baptized, your ancestors looked down on you with hope. Perhaps after centuries, they rejoiced to see one of their descendants make a covenant to find them and to offer them freedom. In your reunion, you will see in their eyes either gratitude or terrible disappointment. Their hearts are bound to you. Their hope is in your hands. You will have more than your own strength as you choose to labor on to find them.
We have had a push in our Stake and Ward lately to educate the members on how to do family history work. My children have been caught up in this excitement and speak about the enjoyment they find in knowing they are moving this glorious work forward. I need to gain some of that excitement for myself and participate with my children. Their instruction will form a bond between us and with our ancestors as we work together to save souls. The Lord wants us to help those that have past. It is my goal to be more involved with this great work and participate with my children in this great work.