Relief Society: The home is the new family history center
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Relief Society leaders are encouraging all sisters to follow the prophetic counsel to be involved in family history work.
During a recent stake conference, President Paul Champlin, a counselor in the Mt. Logan Utah Stake presidency, described how he responded to instruction to identify his ancestral family members and provide temple ordinances for them. He and his wife, Lori, applied this directive in their own family.
In making a brief search in the online New FamilySearch, President Champlin was able to locate the name of an ancestor whose work had not yet been done. His daughter, Lyndsay, took the name to the temple to perform the baptism. He promised another daughter, Kamie, that he would continue his family history work so that she could also have the opportunity to be baptized for her own ancestors.
Soon afterward, the Champlin family participated in a family home evening with each member at a computer where they could search out ancestors for themselves. Within the brief time allotted to the task, they had all individually found names for whom work was not yet completed.
Speaking of family history work, Sister Lori Champlin said, "It's pretty contagious. It was exciting to find one name, and if I could find one name, maybe I could find more."
Kamie was searching for family names to take to the temple for baptisms with her ward Young Women. "It was very exciting," Sister Champlin said, "for her to find 55 names in an hour. It is really fun to take names that are in your own line.
"It was not only exciting that I could do family history work without being overwhelmed, but that so many names from my extended family tree could be found quickly," Sister Champlin added. "It was wonderful to go several times with immediate family and then again with extended family to do endowments and sealings. One day we had about 40 family members together in the temple. Family will sacrifice their time to be together to do the work and it feels like heaven. We were also able to send names to our extended family that live further away and were not able to come when we went together. That way they could also join in the spirit of the work."
There was a feeling of unity within the family, no matter the distance. Since that time, the Champlin family has located and performed ordinances for over 350 relatives.
"I was so surprised at how many names we were able to find," Lyndsay said of their work together. "I really loved doing the baptisms with my whole family. My brother, who had just returned from his mission, performed the baptisms and my father did the confirmations. It was a real spiritual experience for our family and it testified to me of eternal families."
Work of salvation
"We are here to participate in the work of salvation. That's who we are, that's why we're here on the earth. ...
"I invite the young people of the Church to learn about and experience the spirit of Elijah. I encourage you to study, to search out your ancestors, and to prepare yourselves to perform proxy baptisms in the house of the Lord for your kindred dead. And I urge you to help other people identify their family histories. As you respond in faith to this invitation, your hearts shall turn to the fathers. The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be implanted in your hearts. Your patriarchal blessing, with its declaration of lineage, will link you to these fathers and be more meaningful to you. Your love and gratitude for your ancestors will increase. Your testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. And I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives." — Elder David A. Bednar, October 2011 general conference
"Before the foundation of the world, our Heavenly Father instituted the ordinance of baptism for those who die without a knowledge of the gospel. He loves those children too. He also provided a way for them to be part of an eternal family. Every human being who comes to this earth is the product of generations of parents. We have a natural yearning to connect with our ancestors. This desire dwells in our hearts, regardless of age. ... While temple and family history work has the power to bless those beyond the veil, it has an equal power to bless the living. It has a refining influence on those who are engaged in it. They are literally helping to exalt their families." — Elder Russell M. Nelson, April 2010 general conference.
"Do you young people want a sure way to eliminate the influence of the adversary in your life? Immerse yourself in searching for your ancestors, prepare their names for the sacred vicarious ordinances available in the temple, and then go to the temple to stand as proxy for them to receive the ordinances of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. As you grow older, you will be able to participate in receiving the other ordinances as well. I can think of no greater protection from the influence of the adversary in your 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. Anywhere you are in the world, with prayer, faith, determination, diligence, and some sacrifice, you can make a powerful contribution. Begin now." — Elder Richard G. Scott, October 2012 general conference