“President Kimball Says Work for Dead as Urgent as Proselyting,” Ensign, Oct. 1977, 82
The six thousand participants in the Twelfth Annual Priesthood Genealogy Seminar at BYU in August attended a full week of sessions, listening to General Authorities and genealogical experts who urged them on in genealogy and temple work. But the strongest encouragement of all came from President Spencer W. Kimball, who addressed them in the Marriott Center on Thursday night.
“Most members of the Church,” said President Kimball, “are aware of our intense interest in the missionary work of the Church and the appeals we have made in many lands for a rededication to preaching the gospel and preparing missionaries to carry the good news of the restoration to people everywhere. I feel the same sense of urgency about temple work for the dead as I do about missionary work, since they are basically one and the same. I have told my brethren of the General Authorities that this work for the dead is constantly on my mind.”
President Kimball reminded the Saints that the spirit world is filled with the spirits of men and women who need our help. “Why do you keep us waiting?” they ask. “Upon us rests the full responsibility to do their temple work, to perform the ordinances that will provide for them entrance into the Kingdom of God and bind their family ties throughout the eternity.”
After reminding the Saints that the “two important additions to our Standard Works” approved in April 1976 general conference both dealt with the life after mortality and the importance of missionary work being done there, President Kimball warned, “There is no real and lasting security apart from … the peace of conscience gained in perfecting ourselves and our ancestors. It comes in part from knowing who our ancestors are and in doing for them what they cannot or did not do for themselves.”
When we do that we become, “in a very real sense, saviors of our people,” President Kimball said, and then continued, “While genealogical research and temple work can help build security, ignoring these responsibilities leaves us in jeopardy every hour.
“Certain procedures are basic and fundamental,” President Kimball pointed out, and then reminded the Saints of the need to get their own sacred family records in order; to organize as families to perform their sacred responsibilities; to prepare personal and family records and histories; and to complete the four generation sheets. “This program was inaugurated ten years ago, but only about seven percent of the members have responded to it,” said the prophet.
And President Kimball concluded his address by saying, “We unconditionally urge you as individuals, as families, large and small, to go forward in this work and extend to you my blessings and a promise of the Lord on your efforts, with my personal testimony and assurance that God will grant you a great peace and satisfaction in your extended and efficient efforts. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”