Creating a Personal History

Of the Council of the Twelve

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    Elder Boyd K. Packer

    There somehow seems to be the feeling that genealogical work is something one either ignores or devotes himself to exclusively. Genealogical work is another responsibility for every Latter-day Saint. And we may do it successfully along with all other callings and responsibilities that rest upon us.

    You believe in the resurrection. You must know that baptism for someone who is dead is quite as essential as baptism for some one who is living. There is no difference in the importance of it. One by one, it must happen. They must be baptized here, or someone else must be baptized for them here.

    The whole New Testament centers on the resurrection of the Lord. The message is that all are resurrected. Every scripture and every motivation that applies to missionary work has its application to ordinance work for the dead.

    There is a way that it can be done. And there is a place to begin. You can begin with you, with whom you are and what you have right now. It is a matter of getting started. If you don’t know where to start, start with yourself. If you don’t know what records to get, and how to get them, start with what you have got. It really won’t take you long to write the account of your life, and it will have an accuracy because you have collected these records.

    Once you begin this project, very interesting and inspiring things will happen.

    Several years ago, Sister Packer and I determined that we should get our records in order. However, under the pressure of Church responsibilities with my travels about the world, and the obligations with our large family and a home to keep up both indoors and outdoors, there just was not enough time. We were restless and finally determined that we would have to make more time in the day.

    So during the Christmas holidays, when we had a little extra time, we started. Then as we moved back to a regular schedule after the holidays, we adopted the practice of getting up an hour or two earlier each day.

    We gathered everything we had together and in the course of a few weeks, we were amazed at what we were able to accomplish. The thing that was most impressive, however, was the fact that we began to have experiences that told us somehow that we were being guided, that there were those beyond the veil who were interested in what we were doing. Everything that needed to happen began to happen.

    As we have traveled about the Church and paid particular attention to this subject, many testimonies have come to light. Others who assemble their records together are having similar experiences. It was as though the Lord was waiting for us to begin.

    We found pictures, records and stories we had wondered about for a long time. It seemed as though they came to us almost too easily. More than this, things that we never dreamed existed began to show up. We began to learn by personal experience that this research into our families is an inspired work. We came to know that an inspiration will follow those who move into it. It is just a matter of getting started.

    Once we started, we found the time. Somehow were able to carry on all of the other responsibilities. There seemed to be an increased inspiration in our lives because of the work.

    But we must decide, and the Lord will not tamper with our agency. If we want a testimony of genealogical and temple work, we must do something about it.

    The Lord will bless you once you begin this work. This has been very evident to us. Since the time we decided that we would start where we were, with what we had, many things have opened to us. We are still not, by any means, experts in genealogical research. We are, however, dedicated to our family. And it is my testimony that if we start where we are, each of us with ourselves, with such records as we have, and begin putting those in order, things will fall into place as they should.