The Spirit of Elijah

“The Spirit of Elijah,” Liahona, June 2000, 26–28

The Spirit of Elijah

Something that happened during a Book of Mormon class years ago has had a great impact on my life. Our teacher, Brother Fernando Aguilar, told us an experience that had happened to his father, Santiago Aguilar II, who had been working hard to find genealogical information about his ancestors. He had been successful in submitting many family names for temple ordinances. Nevertheless, on one of his family lines, the information he could find stopped with his grandmother. Despite many trips and continual research, he had not been able to find the necessary information about her. But the Spirit gave him a sense of urgency to keep looking.

Brother Fernando Aguilar, currently a part-time coordinator for the Church Educational System in Chile, recalled: “One day my father had an impression that he should return to a small village 90 kilometers east of the city of Osorno—some 500 kilometers from his home in Talcahuano—even though he had recently visited our relatives there and had received genealogical information. He knew of no reason to return, but the impression would not leave. So with a prayer for guidance, he returned to the village. When our relatives saw him, they were surprised he had returned so soon, and they assured him they had given him all the genealogical information they had. He simply explained that he felt an urgency to return, even though he didn’t know why.

“My father spent the following day seeking—but not finding—additional information. After a tiring day, as he was walking to an uncle’s home, he felt impressed to change his route. My father followed the impression, even though he didn’t know where he was going or why. His new route led him to a large vacant lot filled with trash, and he felt a strong impulse to take the path through the lot.

“After entering the lot, he stopped suddenly and began to look around, seeking the reason for being in that spot so far from home. Looking down at his feet, he saw a yellowed, dirty piece of paper and picked it up. After shaking the dirt off, he recognized it as his grandparents’ marriage certificate, which included the names and other family information he was missing. This certificate was the key he needed to bring to pass the temple work for our ancestors.”

When Brother Aguilar finished his story, he took from his pocket the marriage certificate, which he had covered with plastic. He passed it around the room so each of us could read it. None of us could speak, for our emotions were great.

Then he bore his testimony and told us that the Spirit of Elijah had continued to encourage his family’s efforts. He said the Spirit of Elijah is given to those who pray for it and we should earnestly seek to obtain it.

Since that day, I have done research on my ancestors and have completed some generations of my family history. Many times I have felt the Holy Ghost prompting me in my research. My experiences may not be as dramatic as the one Brother Aguilar shared, but I have learned that each of us can receive the Spirit’s guidance as we seek for our ancestors.