Moment: Temples Helping Turn Hearts toward Ancestors

Contributed By By Dale Zollinger Kirby, Church News contributor

  • 28 January 2014

Dale Zollinger Kirby, a member from Oregon, received family history books from a stranger that helped him with his family history.

On Monday, December 23, 2013, I drove 50 miles to the Portland Oregon Temple, which is closed on Mondays to patrons. There I spent the next four hours gardening among the tropical plants in the atrium.

As I was leaving, a lady stopped her car in front of the temple’s main entrance. I asked if I could help her.

“I have here two major volumes of family names that I would like to donate to some responsible person in the LDS Church,” she said.

She told me that since she had attended the open house events of the Boise Idaho Temple and the Portland Oregon Temple, she had a strong desire to add these books to the Church collection. She had driven the 200-mile round trip from Eugene to Lake Oswego, Oregon, to give the books to someone who would make sure they got to the right places.

I volunteered that I would accept her donation and would make sure the books became a part of the genealogical records of the Church and its members.

“I’ll give the books to you personally; I trust you with them,” she said. She gave me the records and a big hug, but not her name. Her smile evidenced that she was satisfied with her visit at the temple.

One of the books included 20 Zollinger names, my mother’s paternal family and my middle name. Upon arriving home I checked in Family Tree and found that some of the Zollingers’ relatives in the book have not been blessed by temple ordinances, so my wife and I submitted their information.

Spiritual influences interested in the salvation of the children of God brought two mortals together just at the right moment in time, both influenced by the Spirit of the Lord, which causes the hearts of generations of families to turn toward each other.

The final episode of this experience has not yet taken place. Results coming from this special delivery of 1,285 pages could reach into the eternities. The first volume has been placed in the Church Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Since the library already has a copy of the second book, it has been donated to an accredited genealogist who is currently doing a project on one of the families in the book. Both of these old books are now available for families and researchers to use the data as guided by divine inspiration.