Liahona
I Didn’t Like Family History Work. But Then I Experienced Miracles
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Digital Only: Young Adults

I Didn’t Like Family History Work. But Then I Experienced Miracles

My family in Taiwan didn’t have much information on our family history, but by exercising faith, I was able to witness miracles.

Family history

When I was 10 and living in Taiwan, my grandmother introduced the missionaries to our family. My dad was able to baptize me, my mom, and my brother. However, soon after we were sealed in the temple, the rest of my family stopped attending church.

So, naturally, the responsibility of family history work fell on my shoulders. But that task was never easy for me.

I tried to follow the invitations from our Church leaders to do this sacred work, but because of various setbacks, I stopped putting in much effort.

For one, my parents never liked the idea of doing temple work for the dead. They felt that we were making the decision for our ancestors to receive ordinances and that it was disrespectful to their agency.

I also had a hard time finding information about my ancestors. Most Chinese families keep a book of genealogy called a zupu that contains records that trace as far back as 2000 B.C. But my family’s zupu didn’t have the birth and death years of my male ancestors or any information at all about my female ancestors, so I couldn’t submit names to the temple or perform ordinances for my ancestors.

After these setbacks, I gave up on my family history efforts.

Starting Again

By the time I got to college, I hadn’t thought about family history for years. Then, during one semester, my stake encouraged us to set a goal to take a family name to the temple. Our stake leaders promised us that if we would pray before we started doing family history work, we would be led to the ancestors who wanted their ordinances done.

At first, I wasn’t really excited about this invitation. I had already tried and failed before.

However, as I prayed every day to have success in my family history work and for a desire to keep moving forward in my efforts, my heart was softened. And soon enough, I did start feeling a desire to begin again.

One night, I felt a strong prompting to open up my family tree on FamilySearch and research one particular line of ancestors. After unsuccessfully searching a few different names in a search engine, I found a web page for one of my ancestors.

Apparently, this ancestor was a prominent figure during the revolution in Taiwan, and all his information was recorded on this page, with sources attached. From there, I was able to find more information about his children and parents.

Through that random internet search, I was able to find and submit six names to the temple that day, and within a month I had submitted over 50 names.

It was incredible.

Was I Making a Difference?

Soon I had brought many names to the temple, but I still questioned if my ancestors on the other side of the veil were accepting these ordinances. I wondered if I was making a difference.

So I prayed for reassurance. And the next time I went to the temple, as I was finishing a sealing for one of my ancestors, the temple sealer turned to me with tears in his eyes. He told me that he could feel my ancestor’s excitement in receiving the ordinance.

I knew that God had answered my prayer and that my proxy work was indeed making a difference.

As time has gone by, my parents still don’t like the idea of family history work very much. But I have felt my ancestors comforting and supporting me, especially when I feel lonely about being the only active member in my family. I feel that they are helping to soften my parents’ hearts too.

Elder John A. Widtsoe (1872–1952) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that “whoever seeks to help those on the other side receives help in return in all the affairs of life.”1

And I have felt that help coming from the other side.

Family history is one of the most exciting and rewarding works we get to do as members of the Church of Jesus Christ. As we are gathering Israel on the other side of the veil, we are gathering an “army of angels” to support us in our mortal journey, we are connecting with heaven, and we are coming closer to Christ. And, as Sister Wendy Watson Nelson testified, “Family history work will bring miracles to your life and to the lives of those you love.”2

I know that to be true.

Notes

  1. John A. Widtsoe, in The Forefather Quest (1937), 22.

  2. Wendy Watson Nelson, in Rachel Sterzer, “Family History Work Is about People” (news story), Feb. 23, 2016, ChurchofJesusChrist.org.