“Family Stories Turned My Heart,” Ensign, February 2017
Family Stories Turned My Heart
The author lives in Utah, USA.
Sharing family stories and pictures made family history come alive for me.
Confession time: I love family history. I know that’s not every young adult’s passion, but a simple realization changed everything for me.
When I finally got around to looking at my family tree to see if I had ancestors who needed temple ordinances done, I found that much of it had already been completed by relatives. I wondered, “What can I do now?”
I found my answer in an article by President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015), President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “When we research our own lines we become interested in more than just names or the number of names going through the temple. Our interest turns our hearts to our fathers—we seek to find them and to know them and to serve them.”1
Knowing them seemed to be about much more than dates and pedigrees. I felt that I needed to discover and preserve my family’s personal stories.
I remembered that as a kid, I loved hearing family stories. My father would tell of the trials our ancestors endured and the blessings they received. And after my grandfather died when I was seven, it sparked a desire in me to learn more about his life stories. Now it felt like time to preserve them so that they could bless others.
As I began writing my family members’ personal histories, I came to cherish my ancestors, and I have gained a greater desire to find even more of my family’s stories, watching all the while for any who may need temple ordinances.
My advice to other young adults is this: Take advantage of opportunities to serve your ancestors, not just by doing their ordinance work but by preserving their stories. Go to your grandparents, parents, and siblings and ask them about their lives and what they know about their ancestors. Record your own experiences. Take that information to a Church family history center to learn about the many tools available to help you preserve it and share it with others. You too will come to find and cherish your own eternal family.