Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Why aren't the Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint fully open to patrons?


Provo, Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

There is an obvious answer to the question posed in the title of this post. The temples are only partially open because of the pandemic. Perhaps there is a more serious reason. One of the biggest concerns I have had, if not the biggest concern, during this time of the pandemic, is the closure of the temples. But then, a question was raised by one of the BYU Family History Library missionaries lately that asked why we expected the temples to open if we weren’t doing our temple work? I have seen a huge drop in family history activity in my own Ward which is not surprising at all. This year, my own Ward has seen the percentage of members submitting a name to the temple drop from around 30% to the present number of about 17% and from my own experience, 17% activity is relatively high for most wards. 

In some areas of the world, the temples are open to regular patrons. What is not that the case here in Utah Valley? I live about half a mile from the Provo, Utah Temple and could walk there in about 10 minutes. But close proximity to the Temple does not seem to promote an increase in temple activity in our area. Why did family history activity drop when so many people could not attend church meetings or participate in their usual activities? That is a very good question. 

President Russell M. Nelson, the President, and Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has repeatedly said, quote:

Our message to the world is simple and sincere: We invite all of God's children on both sides of the veil to come unto their Saviour. 


Most members of the Church can fully understand what President Nelson is saying. But understanding and doing are two different things. If we are going to extend the blessings and ordinances to those on the other side of the veil, we need to make the effort to search out our relatives and make their names available so they can choose to have their ordinances done. 

But here we are back at the beginning. If the Temples are closed, how do we do the ordinance work for our ancestors? So, do we stop searching? Do we stop adding names to the temple reservation list? My answer is no. We continue to do our part to identify and reserve the names of our relatives even though we cannot physically enter the temples to participate in the physical ordinances on their behalf. 

It seems to me that it is as simple as that. As a missionary assigned to the Brigham Young University Family History Library, I am ready and able to help anyone who asks with searching out their family history. As this post is written we are in the middle of the University's Christmas break. Because of the pandemic, the BYU Family History Library is not open and will open again on January 11th. The missionaries will be online to help anyone who needs help. Here is the contact information for the Family History Library that will reopen on :

Family History/Religion Help Desk

For general reference questions and scanner reservations.*

Contact the Help Desk

Email:, Phone: (801)-422-6200

Chat: See link in the left sidebar.

*Scanning equipment is currently only available for BYU student and faculty use. 

Family History Assistance (Missionary Volunteers)

For family history help by email or phone, or to schedule a virtual family history consultation or group instruction.*

Email:, Phone: (801) 422-3766

*Although we cannot currently host groups in person, we can schedule YSA or other groups for virtual classes or other group instruction.

Meanwhile, if you need help, you can contact me directly. You can find me by email at or by Facebook at or in a hundred other ways. 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Christmas on Temple Square Performance Collections


Social Sing and Serve: A Christmas on Temple Square Performances

Every evening during the month of December so far, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has presented an hour-long musical concert of groups and individuals from around the world. Here in the Mountain Standard Time Zone, we have enjoyed these concerts at 6:00 pm. They have been a wonderful part of overcoming the challenges of a Christmas season overshadowed by a pandemic. In addition, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon MST, there is an organ concert called Piping Up. You can see the concerts and the recordings on the Tabernacle Choir YouTube Channel. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Family History Guide adds new videos to its YouTube Channel for #RootsTech Connect


The Family History Guide YouTube Channel

The Family History Guide is getting ready for the 2021 RootsTech Connect virtual conference from 25th to the 27th of February, 2021. In conjunction with the Conference, we will be adding a number of new videos. During the Conference, we will also be in the Virtual Exhibit Area. So far there are over 150,000 people registered for this world-wide online conference. 

The Family History Guide will have a dedicated webpage for RootsTech Connect and will be available to answer questions online for the Conference. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the new videos on our YouTube Channel

Remember, The Family History Guide is sponsored by The Family History Guide Association, a 501 (c) 3 corporation. The Family History Guide website is entirely free due to the donations of people like you. You can also select The Family History Guide as a charity on and your holiday purchases will help support this fabulous website.

Friday, December 11, 2020

The Family History Guide: Quick Research Basics help you Form a Research Strategy


The Family History Guide P4 G3: Form a Research Strategy

Those of us working on expanding The Family History Guide website have been developing a series of videos called, "Quick Research Basics." These short videos will complement different Goals and Choices for learning about family history research. All of this and much more is available for free.

Remember, The Family History Guide is sponsored by The Family History Guide Association, a 501 (c) 3 corporation. The Family History Guide website is entirely free due to the donations of people like you. You can also select The Family History Guide as a charity on and your holiday purchases will help support this fabulous website. 

Monday, December 7, 2020

The Christ Child: A Nativity Story


The Christ Child: A Nativity Story

Quoting from the video description:

This new depiction of the Nativity story recounts in beautiful detail the sacred events found in the Bible about Jesus's birth over 2,000 years ago. Journey with Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Witness the awe of the shepherds in the plains of Judea. Feel the joy of the wise men as they kneel before the Light of the World – our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Visit to learn more about the significance of this special first Christmas.

This short video was released last year and has set a new tone and standard for nativity videos. I am grateful for the artistry and talent that created this lovely message. #givethanks



Friday, December 4, 2020

#LighttheWorld this Christmas Season


#LighttheWorld is an initiative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and part of a larger program called #ComeuntoChrist. Here is the theme of the project:
When Jesus Christ was born, angels proclaimed, “On earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). This December, the promise remains the same. As we love and serve each day the way Jesus did, we can end 2020 on a hopeful note.

Here is another more complete explanation: 

#LightTheWorld is an invitation to transform Christmas into a season of service. It’s a worldwide movement to touch hearts and change lives by doing the things Jesus did: feeding the hungry, comforting the lonely, visiting the sick and afflicted, and showing kindness to everyone. Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). #LightTheWorld is the perfect way to let our light—and His light—shine brightly.

Also, remember Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

We can make a difference, one day at a time. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Virtual Christmas on Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah #LightTheWorld


Christmas on Temple Square to be Celebrated Virtually in 2020

Our family has a long tradition of visiting the Christmas lights on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, and at other Temples, including Mesa, Arizona, and Washington, D.C. This year, the pandemic has limited the availability of this wonderful activity. However, we now have an online, virtual opportunity to visit the Salt Lake City Temple and elsewhere. Here is the statement from the post linked above.

The seasonal lights on Temple Square and at the temples in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles will be turned on in the evenings after Thanksgiving. The lights on Temple Square will only be viewable from surrounding roads and exterior city sidewalks as the plaza will be fenced off and the gates will be closed at 4:30 p.m., with no public access to Temple Square. The lights will turn on at 5 p.m. Those walking by are encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing. No public parking will be available in the Conference Center or Joseph Smith Memorial Building parking lots. In Washington and Los Angeles, the lights will be viewable only to those driving by in cars. 

The Mesa, Arizona Temple is still under renovation. Beginning on December 1st, there will be presentations every night from Temple Square. You can see these on the Temple Square Facebook page.

The first performance on December 1, 2020 is now on Here is a link.

Celebrating the Light of the World: A Christmas on Temple Square Performance

Remember, these performances will be online every day this month. We have never been able to attend all of the concerts before and now we can.