“Joy in Family History,” Ensign, June 2013, 7
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught that the Spirit of Elijah is “a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family.”1
As members of Christ’s restored Church, we have the covenant responsibility to search for our ancestors and provide for them the saving ordinances of the gospel. They without us cannot “be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:40), and “neither can we without our dead be made perfect” (D&C 128:15).
Family history work prepares us for the blessings of eternal life and helps us increase our faith and personal righteousness. Family history is a vital part of the mission of the Church and enables the work of salvation and exaltation for all.
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said: “When we research our own lines we become interested in more than just names. … Our interest turns our hearts to our fathers—we seek to find them and to know them and to serve them.”2
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead.”3 We can serve as proxy in the temple for our deceased ancestors and perform necessary ordinances for them.
Sally Randall of Nauvoo, Illinois, whose 14-year-old son died, found great comfort in the promise of eternal families. After her husband was baptized for their son, she wrote to her relatives: “What a glorious thing it is that we … can be baptized for all of our dead [ancestors] and save them as far back as we can get any knowledge of them.” Then she asked her relatives to send her information on their ancestors, saying, “I intend to do what I can to save [our family].”4
Photo illustration by Craig Dimond and Cody Bell