The prophet Abraham experienced the transitional seasons of life, much like young adults today face. We read about him in the Pearl of Great Price: “In the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my fathers, I, Abraham, saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence” (Abraham 1:1). Abraham had approached the time to go out on his own and begin his life as an adult. He knew there was “greater happiness and peace and rest” (verse 2) for him than he currently had.
Abraham sought for and received those blessings of greater happiness, peace, and rest, and they are available to all members of the Church, including young adults. How do you prepare to receive them? Let’s focus on one of several activities you can be doing right now: participating in temple and family history work.
As Latter-day Saints, you have learned the importance of the temple and of temple ordinances. Over the centuries, many people have died without knowledge of the gospel. These people are your near and distant relatives. They are waiting for you to do the necessary research to link your families together and perform saving ordinances in the temple in their behalf.
Having some knowledge of technology aids temple and family history work. You are a specially prepared generation with the technological talent to do this. My grandma Bangerter had a deep testimony and feeling of urgency for family history work. Many years ago, when she was compiling 25,000 names of her family, she had to enter each name by hand on forms. She would have been so grateful for a computer program to help her be more accurate and efficient. Now she has hundreds of talented young people among her descendants who are capable of assisting her from this side of the veil.
The Lord has promised to plant in your hearts the promises given to the fathers and that your hearts would be turned to the fathers so that the earth would not be utterly wasted at His coming (see D&C 2:2–3). Your technical skills are a partial fulfillment of this prophecy, and I hope you are feeling a sense of urgency about this work. You were born in this age to do temple and family history work. Your family needs your help. Your ward or branch needs your help in this important responsibility.
You will receive personal blessings as a result of participation in temple and family history work. One of these is the opportunity to qualify for a temple recommend, which signifies your worthiness before the Lord. A temple recommend is a symbol of obedience.
Recent instruction from the First Presidency clarifies the policy for obtaining temple recommends and receiving endowments. It was reiterated that receiving one’s temple endowment is a serious matter that should be extended only to those who are sufficiently prepared and mature enough to keep the covenants they enter into. The First Presidency also affirmed that single members in their late teens or early 20s who have not received a mission call or who are not engaged to be married in the temple should not be recommended to attend the temple for their own endowment.1 Every worthy member who is 12 or older can, however, receive a limited-use recommend to perform baptisms for the dead.
Those of you who are not worthy today of the privilege of carrying a recommend can work with your bishop or branch president to qualify yourselves for a recommend as soon as possible. Please don’t be without this vital document.
I testify that the Atonement is real and that sins can be forgiven upon proper repentance.
You can help keep temples busy. Temple and family history work is your work. Much depends on you! You can accomplish so much with your energy and skills.
As you participate in temple and family history work, you are certain to have the Spirit to comfort you in your challenges and guide you in the important decisions you are making. As you participate in this work as individuals, in your ward and institute groups, and in your Relief Societies and priesthood quorums, you will form good friendships and have meaningful social experiences. And because your associations and friendships are expanding and the Spirit is working with you, there is an increased likelihood for you to find a spouse and form an eternal family.
As you participate as individuals, with your friends, and in your quorums, Relief Societies, and institute groups, these activities will add to your faith and happiness all of your life. They are marks of discipleship that will strengthen your future marriages and families and invite the Spirit to be with you.
The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is true. Because it is true, much depends on you, the rising generation. I hope that you—like Abraham—will be followers of righteousness, that you will seek the blessings of the fathers by participating in this work, and that you will thereby find greater knowledge, happiness, peace, and rest.
What Can I Do?
Here are some ideas to consider.
Attend the Temple
Consider inviting family members, ward or branch members, institute classes, or other friends to join you.
Support the efforts of your ward or branch to participate in temple work.
If possible, take the names of your own ancestors.
Consider helping babysit so parents can attend the temple.
Digitize photos, slides, video tapes, and other records; having them in electronic format can help you safeguard and share pieces of history.
Verify the accuracy of family records. New.familysearch.org is a good place to start. Online tutorials and your ward or branch family history specialist can help you delve into the site. If you are already familiar with the site, consider teaching someone else how to use it.
Take advantage of travel opportunities. If you visit an area where your ancestors have lived, arrange to spend some time at local cemeteries, libraries, or other places that might help you learn about your progenitors.
Keep a journal.
If possible, take a camera wherever you go.
Learn or teach someone else how to index (indexing.familysearch.org), which makes records from around the world searchable online.
Talk to family members about significant events in their lives. Record the interviews.
Start a family blog, perhaps asking family members to create entries about focused subjects (such as “My most memorable Christmas”) or asking them to post their photos and recollections generally.
Nurture family relationships by keeping in touch through e-mail, phone, and letters. Plan reunions when possible.
Organize a trip to a local cemetery. With your peers, photograph headstones, if permissible, and make them available to others online. This can be a great service opportunity, especially for small cemeteries.