My mother, Mildred Bennion Eyring, grew up in the farming community of Granger, Utah, USA. One of her brothers, Roy, followed the family business of raising sheep. As a young man he spent many weeks away from home. Over time he became less interested in the Church. Eventually he moved to Idaho, USA, married, and had three children. He died at the age of 34 when his wife was 28 years old and their children were small.
Even though Roy’s little family was in Idaho and my mother had moved about 2,500 miles (4,025 km) to New Jersey, USA, she often wrote them letters of love and encouragement. My uncle’s family affectionately referred to my mother as “Aunt Mid.”
Years passed, and one day I received a phone call from one of my cousins. I was told that Roy’s widow had died. My cousin said, “Aunt Mid would want you to know.” Aunt Mid had long since passed away, but the family still felt her love and reached out to tell me.
I was struck by how much my mother had filled a role in her family similar to the role the Nephite prophets had filled in their families by staying close to relatives they wanted to bring to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Nephi wrote a record that he hoped would influence the children of his brothers to return to the faith of their patriarch, Lehi. The sons of Mosiah showed that same love as they preached the gospel to the descendants of Lehi.
The Lord has provided ways for us to feel love in families that can continue forever. Young people in the Church today are feeling their hearts turn to their families. They are searching for names of family members who did not have the opportunity to receive the ordinances of salvation in this life. They take those names to the temple. When they enter the waters of baptism, they have the opportunity to feel the love of the Lord and of the family members for whom they are performing proxy ordinances.
I can still remember the love in the voice of my cousin who called and said, “Our mother has died, and Aunt Mid would want you to know.”
Those of you who perform ordinances for family members are reaching out in love, as did the sons of Mosiah and the prophet Nephi. Like them, you will feel joy for those who accept your offering. You can also expect to feel the same great satisfaction as Ammon, who said of his missionary service among distant family members:
“Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel” (Alma 26:16).
I bear testimony that the feelings of love you have for your family members—wherever they may be—are a fulfillment of the promise that Elijah would come. He did come. Children’s hearts are turning to their fathers, and fathers’ hearts are turning to their children (see Malachi 4:5–6; Joseph Smith—History 1:38–39). When you feel the urge to find the names of your ancestors and take those names to the temple, you are experiencing the fulfillment of that prophecy.
It is a blessing to live in the time when the promise of hearts turning is being fulfilled. Mildred Bennion Eyring felt that urge in her heart. She loved her brother’s family, and she reached out to them. They felt their hearts turn in love to Aunt Mid because they knew she loved them.