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: firstname.lastname@example.org, 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: email@example.com, 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.