On October 8, 2012, the First Presidency letter contained, among other things, this very important clarifying statement, “When members of the Church find the names of their ancestors and take those names to the temple for ordinance work, the temple experience can be greatly enriched.”
These words contain both instruction and promised blessings. They also provide for us the focus for our efforts in the Family History Department. As we strive to help Church members fulfill their divinely appointed responsibility of enabling the salvation of the dead, one of the keys to success is to enrich the experience of finding the names of ancestors and having their ordinances completed in the temple.He suggests using a three-step process:
Recent instruction to General Authorities, which in turn will be provided to local leadership, builds on the October 8, 2012, letter from the First Presidency. That instruction is profound in it simplicity and focus:
To some family historians, these suggestions might seem over simplistic, but in a presentation at the Mesa FamilySearch Library Conference in Temple, Arizona, Elder Brimhall gave statistics that indicate a very high percentage of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not have four generations of their ancestors in the FamilySearch.org Family Tree program. In fact, a significant percentage do not have their own parents in the program. My guess is that most of these people would have ancestors' names to take to the Temples if they went back to their grandparents.
The promise is that if we do these three things, we will not only fulfill our divinely appointed responsibility, but we will have enriched joy.
- Use the FamilySearch website or the booklet My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together to find the names of one or more of your ancestors or their descendants.
- Take these names to the temple or share them with others so they can take them to the temple. (When possible, do this as a family.)
- Finally, teach your family and others to do the same thing.
As Elder Brimhall admonishes, we can make significant progress if we just follow the counsel of the First Presidency.