Spotlighting Our Ancestors

Natalie Flynn Carlson, Utah, USA

For family home evening, we used to have family spotlights. A name of a family member would be drawn, and the family would get to hear details about the individual, their likes and dislikes. It was a great way to get to know each other better. After going through our various family members several times, we decided to enhance the spotlight activity.

Now, instead of drawing the name of an immediate family member, we select one of our ancestors. The presenter shares details such as how they are related to us, when and where they were born, and specifics about their immediate family. We highlight their baptismal and temple ordinances. Did they receive them during their lifetime? If not, how long did they have to wait for their temple work to be done? When possible we also share stories from their lives, including their conversions.

Spotlighting our ancestors has had a tremendous impact on our family. Our children are young and are already realizing the importance and sacredness of the temple and its grand purpose. They are seeing their ancestors as real individuals that they are connected to and with whom they will one day be reunited.

Helps for Home Evening

“The Strength of Our Heritage,” page 36: Read the article to your family, then reread this statement by Elder L. Tom Perry: “Just as the pioneers made the desert blossom as a rose, so too our lives and families will blossom if we follow their example and embrace their traditions.” Consider asking, “How can our family better follow the example set by the early pioneers?” You may want to close by singing “Come, Come, Ye Saints” (Hymns, no. 30).

“Facing the Future with Hope,” page 15: You may wish to summarize the story of Brother Grilo or tell a personal story of you or someone you know facing the future with hope. Help family members apply the message to their lives by asking questions like, “What are some challenges that make it hard for you to have faith in the future? What can you do to keep a positive attitude as you face these challenges?” Conclude by reading the last two paragraphs of the article.

“When Good Plans Don’t Work Out” page 26: Before discussing the article together, you may want to ask if anyone can share an experience of a time when they had a plan that didn’t work out the way they expected. Read or summarize the article, and then discuss what can be learned from the examples of these young adults who found happiness in living their “plan B.”