The Gift of Family History
December 2013

“The Gift of Family History,” New Era, Dec. 2013, 18

The Gift of Family History

Rachel Nielsen lives in Utah, USA.

This Christmas, share the joy of the gospel with your ancestors.

family tree

Illustration by Michael Mullan

Everyone thought it was the coolest Christmas gift. My nine-year-old brother had just opened a huge bag of colorful, sticky, squishy toy frogs and threw one at the ceiling, where it stuck for a minute before falling to the floor. Excited, he offered frogs to the rest of us, and soon frogs decorated the ceiling, the walls, and the Christmas tree.

My brother felt so much joy from throwing these frogs that he wanted his family to experience it too. Similarly, when we feel the joy that comes from living the gospel, it’s natural to want to share that joy with others. And you can do that by participating in family history, giving your ancestors—and you—gifts that will last for eternity.

Gifts for Your Ancestors

As you seek out your ancestors and take their names to the temple, you will give them an opportunity to feel the joy that comes from living the gospel. Jonathan T., 18, from Pennsylvania, USA, gave his ancestors a priceless gift by doing his family history: “I had the opportunity to bring the names of my grandmother and her parents to the temple, and that truly was a sacred experience. My grandmother lived with my family and me for most of my life. When she passed away, I found so much comfort knowing that because of the Restoration of the fulness of the gospel and the plan of salvation, she and my other ancestors would be able to learn about the gospel on the other side of the veil.”

Gifts for You

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles invited you to experience the Spirit of Elijah by participating in family history, and he promises that as you do, your patriarchal blessing will be more meaningful, your love for your ancestors will increase, your testimony of the Savior will deepen, and you will be protected from the influence of the adversary (see “The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn,” Ensign, Nov. 2011, 26–27).

Whitney H., 13, from Idaho, USA, is doing family history, and, just as Elder Bednar promised, she is being blessed through the Holy Ghost for it. “I can feel the Spirit of Elijah working in me,” she said. “I want everybody to feel the joy that I feel from doing family history!” Giving the gift of temple ordinances to your ancestors blesses them and you (see D&C 128:15).

What will you do to bring them that special gift this season?