“100 Million Endowments Performed for the Dead,” Ensign, Nov. 1988, 111
In mid-August, the total number of endowments for the dead that have been performed in this dispensation passed the 100 million mark, according to Temple Department estimates.
Two-thirds of that total were completed during the past eighteen years. This means that the Church is making some important gains in its monumental task of performing vicarious temple work for the dead, said Elder Wm. Grant Bangerter of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Executive Director of the Temple Department.
While the 100 million mark is encouraging, the number of males alone who have lived throughout history is estimated at 75 billion. This means, said Elder Bangerter, that members cannot afford to relax in carrying out this responsibility.
At the same time, they need not be discouraged, he said, noting that the next 100 million endowments for the dead might be performed within fifteen years or less as the Church grows and as members become busier in temple work.
Elder Bangerter emphasized that mere numbers never have been the goal of temple work.
“We do temple work because it blesses and benefits those who are to receive it,” he said. “Everyone … must receive the temple ordinances to obtain the promise of eternal life.
“If the Lord is to redeem all his people, … it seems evident that all, when they have repented and accepted the gospel here or in the spirit world, must receive the blessings of baptism.”
Elder Bangerter said that those who have performed temple ordinances for their ancestors “receive great personal satisfaction. And in connection with their service, they renew their covenants and draw near to the Spirit of the Lord. They remember the sacred nature of their membership in the Church and the covenants they’ve made with the Lord Jesus Christ.”
He noted that many prophets have emphasized the urgency of temple work. “The probability is that there are many of those who have died who are anxiously waiting to be baptized and to be sealed to their families,” he said. “These are precious privileges that we have here, and they [the deceased] should certainly be extended the same privileges.”