Liahona
The Blessings of Connecting with Ancestors
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Digital Only: Young Adults

The Blessings of Connecting with Ancestors

My deceased grandma helped me accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and gain a testimony of family history work.

Freiberg Germany Temple

Throughout my life, I believed that there must be a spiritual link between my ancestors and me.

My grandparents often told stories and showed pictures of my ancestors, and I felt closer to them each time we discussed them. My family and I were not members of the Church, but my grandma still taught me to pray daily. And through those prayers, I started to believe in God and in the idea that my departed ancestors were somehow living on.

All Saints’ Day

In Hungary we celebrate a holiday the day after Halloween called All Saints’ Day. On this occasion, everyone visits cemeteries where their loved ones and ancestors are buried, and we lay flowers on their graves and light candles to remember and honor them.

When I was little, I felt privileged to have an even deeper connection with my ancestors, as I was actually born on All Saints’ Day. It was always an extra-special day for me.

But I would also often complain about visiting my ancestors, because I didn’t want to spend my birthday in cemeteries. I didn’t see what was so unique about visiting the same graves every year, especially when they belonged to ancestors whom I hadn’t ever met.

As I’ve grown and gained a testimony of the gospel, however, I’ve come to know much more about God’s plan of happiness and the sacredness of family history work. I know that everyone can and should treasure their ancestors and strive to have a deep connection with these vital members of our families.

A Desire to Help My Grandma

I was introduced to the Church in the beginning of 2018. I loved learning from the missionaries, and when they told me about the importance of family history and temple work, I wasn’t surprised. I already knew that there was something important about learning about and serving family members who had gone before.

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained:

“Family history and temple work is not only for the dead but blesses the living as well. …

“… This is far more than an encouraged hobby, because the ordinances of salvation are necessary for all of God’s children.”1

In hearing this, I was excited to keep learning about the gospel and to eventually do temple work for my ancestors and connect with them more.

On November 1, 2018, my family and I visited my grandma’s memorial. I had known her well all my life, and I missed her since she had passed away. I was still learning about the Church at the time, and I was pretty positive that my grandma would have disagreed with and discouraged my interest in the Church if she were alive. She had been very traditional in her religion.

So I was surprised when, while standing in front of her grave and praying for her, I got the distinct impression that she already knew the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I felt that she was proud of me because I had the opportunity to live my life according to the Savior’s example.

I was stunned.

The missionaries had recently taught me that those who are on the other side of the veil have opportunities to learn about the gospel if they didn’t have a chance to learn about it on the earth (see Doctrine and Covenants 138:22–24). Somehow I knew my grandma had been taught these truths and was ready to accept the gospel. I knew she needed my help to get her temple work done.

And to do that work, I needed to get baptized myself.

I had been contemplating if I truly wanted to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ for a while. And it was this experience at my grandma’s grave that led me to finally set up a baptismal date with the missionaries.

A Miraculous Temple Trip

Months later, the young single adults in my area were planning a trip to visit the Freiberg Germany Temple in the next year. We were challenged to prepare our own family names beforehand to bring with us.

I visited many family members and a priest in a village where my ancestors had lived to gather information and records. I also prayed for guidance to help me find other members of my family who needed their work done.

In the end, I collected and prepared about 40 family names to be baptized during my first temple trip. But there was one ancestor in particular that I was truly excited about.

On the day we visited the temple, one of my dearest friends (who eventually became my husband) grabbed my hand and led me into the baptismal font to complete my grandma’s baptism. And when he lowered me into the water and raised me back up, I was struck by the warmest feeling from the Holy Ghost.

I knew immediately that my grandma was with me and that she was grateful to finally become a member of the Church. I was grateful to her for helping me truly realize just how much the work we do in temples matters to our ancestors.

We Need Each Other

I am so grateful for this experience with my grandma, because it confirmed to me what I had suspected all my life—that our ancestors and loved ones who have passed away do live on and that we can deepen our connections with them.

We can draw strength, love, and so many other blessings from our ancestors as we learn about them, practice gratitude for them, and perform sacred ordinances for them in the temple.

When inviting members of the Church to increase their time doing family history work, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles promised: “As you respond in faith to this invitation, your hearts shall turn to the fathers. … Your love and gratitude for your ancestors will increase. Your testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. And I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary.”2

I am eternally grateful for my sweet grandma. I can’t wait for the day when we are reunited and I can tell her how she helped me fully embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that as we strive to connect with our ancestors and strengthen our relationships with them, we can deepen our faith and come closer to Christ.

They need us—they are waiting for us. And we need them too (see Doctrine and Covenants 128:18).