Messages from the Doctrine and Covenants: Family History Changed My Life
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“Messages from the Doctrine and Covenants: Family History Changed My Life,” Liahona, Aug. 2005, 10

Messages from the Doctrine and Covenants:

Family History Changed My Life

Many years ago, soon after I was baptized, I heard a sister testify in sacrament meeting of the feelings she had while doing family history work. Suddenly I began to cry like a child. At the time I didn’t know what was happening to me. I later learned that the Lord was testifying to me through the Spirit that what the sister was saying was true and that I needed to do family history and temple work for my own ancestors.

Deep in my heart I felt the truthfulness of these inspired words written by the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Let me assure you that these are principles in relation to the dead and the living that cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation. For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation” (D&C 128:15). We will not be able to attain exaltation without our ancestors, nor will they be able to attain exaltation without us.

Later the Spirit prompted me to visit Aunt Esther, whom I had not seen for a very long time. I found myself at her house without knowing why. During our conversation I talked to her about the family history work that Church members do. She got up and went to another part of the house. She brought back a box containing many papers she had been keeping but didn’t know what to do with. When she opened the box and started to show me what was there, I was astonished to see documents with the names, birth dates, and death dates of many family members, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others. How grateful I was to have the information I needed to begin doing family history work.

A year after my baptism my wife and I were sealed in the São Paulo Brazil Temple. We also performed baptismal ordinances for my maternal grandparents, and in the temple I sensed their approval.

My testimony of the wonderful work performed in our temples is very strong. In the temple, families are united for eternity, eternal bonds are strengthened, and family ties become closer than ever.

We now have a temple in Uruguay, and we can attend regularly. I have been able to experience again those same feelings I had 27 years ago that changed my life forever. I have learned that we need to consistently seek spiritual experiences that will prompt us to change our lives and will then produce great happiness.

These life-changing experiences can affect many who live around us—as well as those who lived before us. We have a great power and need to use it always. The work begun many years ago by a young boy of 14 is the work of God on earth. The work performed in our temples is divine. I testify that we can know this as we are obedient to Heavenly Father and act upon the spiritual promptings we receive.

Illustrated by Robert A. McKay