BETA

Family history moments: 'Change your plans'

Our road trip to the South was all set. My wife, Marilynn, and I were to leave the Salt Lake City area after a visit with our daughter and her family, then head east.

We had wanted to see the antebellum South and to visit Church history sites along the way. We had previously visited my father's birthplace in southeastern Kansas and were not planning on going back there. On this trip we would return to California through southern Texas and not revisit Kansas. At least that was the plan.

A few days before we left, something said to me, "Change your plans." I felt we needed to go back to the Ames Chapel Cemetery near Moline, Kan., where we previously had found a number of my ancestors' headstones.

Instead of leaving New Orleans and going west through Texas, I rerouted the trip so as to take us back to my father's birthplace in Cedar Vale, Kan. Just a few miles north we would again visit the cemetery.

On our previous trip, the sun was beginning to set, making it hard to read the inscriptions on the headstones. And being with some friends, we didn't really take the time for a complete search of the cemetery. But on this trip, things were different. We had plenty of time, it was just my wife and me, and the Lord was helping with the lighting. The sun would come out from behind the clouds and shine perfectly where we needed it, allowing us to read the very old, faded, weather-worn inscriptions. After some cleaning and rubbing, we found what the Lord wanted us to find.

Among the many headstones that belonged to my ancestors — whose temple work had been completed for some time — we found a treasure. It was the headstone that read: "Infant son of J.A. and M.A. Dean. Born and Died October 18, 1891." On the other side of the stone we found the inscription for the child's mother, who had died at the age of 22 years, just five days after giving birth to her son.

We had found an unknown relative whose temple work can now be completed. While we gazed upon this headstone, the Spirit whispered to my wife, giving her a feeling of compassion for a mother who gave her life in giving life and assuring her of the goodness of this family.

I guess we'll have to visit southern Texas some other time.

— Larry Dean, Copper Canyon Ward, Murrieta California Stake