Special Witness: To Save Our Ancestors


David B. Haight

To Save Our Ancestors

Did you know that as a young man, Elder David B. Haight liked to hike and fish and camp? He loves his family and has spoken often about the importance of family history:

This period of time in which we live, the dispensation of the fulness of times, will see the culmination [reaching the highest point] of all of God’s work on the earth. For this reason, we are anxiously engaged in the Lord’s work, which includes the performance of certain ordinances for all who have lived and will live upon the earth.

Just a few minutes’ drive [up] one of the many beautiful canyons that grace [the] Wasatch Mountains, stands a huge granite mountain. From the road deep in the canyon floor, most automobile passengers do not see the large, arched portals [entrances] cut high in the side of the mountain. Few would realize that behind these portals are six large storage rooms cut deep into the solid granite and that in them lie the world’s largest collection of genealogy records. These are not ordinary records, but records listing the births, marriages, and deaths of nearly two billion people who have lived on the earth. They are the product of over fifty years of tireless effort the world over by Church representatives, by microfilm camera operators, and those who care for these records housed row upon row in microfilm cabinets deep in the mountain. …

“Why do you do this?” some ask. “Why does the Church [give] millions of dollars and tens of thousands of hours to this immense but unusual project? Why have such great concern for those who have died?”

Our answer is simple, yet profound: “Because we love them. Because they are entitled to the same blessings that we enjoy. Because this is a major part of the heavenly plan for this, the dispensation of the fulness of times, for the blessing of all people.”

We gather these records to identify our ancestors. We identify our ancestors so that we may perform for them the saving ordinances of the gospel in holy temples dedicated to that purpose.

(Ensign, May 1991, page 75.)

[photos] Granite Mountain Vault photo by Eldon K. Linschoten