Why Was I Indexing the Hardest Names?
April 2023

“Why Was I Indexing the Hardest Names?,” Liahona, Apr. 2023.

Latter-day Saint Voices

Why Was I Indexing the Hardest Names?

I began to weep as I came to understand the eternal importance of the work I was doing.

a husband and wife

Photograph courtesy of the author

After general conference a few years ago, my wife, Yenifer, and I felt that we needed to make some changes in our discipleship. We felt prompted to do more than we were doing. We didn’t just need oil in our lamps—we needed more oil.

One of the related goals I set for myself was to do more service. I decided to do family history work, including indexing.

When I started, I quickly learned that the oldest records, which are the most difficult to read and understand, are the hardest to index. But I like challenges, so I decided to start with old records.

It didn’t take long, however, before I was wondering why I was indexing difficult records when I could index more batches of names if I indexed more recent, easier-to-read records. While I was trying to read and understand some difficult marriage records, I got a headache.

“Why am I doing the hardest records?” I asked myself.

Almost immediately, I felt a soft voice say, “Thank you.”

A few seconds later, Yenifer called me on my cell phone to see how my indexing was going.

“What are you indexing now?” she asked.

“I’m doing the oldest records,” I replied.

“You know those are the most difficult ones,” she said. “Why are you doing those?”

At that moment, I again experienced a feeling of gratitude. The people whose names I was indexing had waited over a thousand years for their temple work to be done. Just as I am happy because I have received my saving ordinances in the temple, they also want to be happy by receiving theirs. Indexing names makes that possible because it helps people to search for their ancestors online. Indexing is a first step in preparing names for the temple.

I began to weep as I came to understand the eternal importance of the work I was doing. Many people have waited a long time for their temple blessings. I know that we need to help them no matter how difficult the work is.