Please Do My Work


When my husband and I had been married for less than a month, he had to attend basic military training. I was not allowed to accompany him, so for the six months he was gone I stayed in Provo, Utah, and worked. This was not my idea of a married life—my husband almost 2,000 kilometers away and unable to come home for even a visit. I was a very unhappy bride.

One night during this time, I was awakened from a deep sleep by a voice which came into my mind. As I listened to what was being said, I realized that my great-great-grandfather was speaking to me. I lay there for a moment, listening and thinking. My great-great-grandfather was telling me to have his family sealed to him. He had lived in the United States in the mid-1800s. Due to the American Civil War and the economic conditions prior to the war, my great-great-grandfather George Wilkie had been away from his beloved wife and four sons a great deal. Eventually he died while serving his country in the Civil War.

I had read copies of letters George Wilkie had written home to his family and letters his family had sent to him during his many absences. I had also read his journals. These letters and journals reflected the love family members had for one another, as well as their desires to be reunited.

My ancestors were not Latter-day Saints and did not have the blessings of the gospel. Now, in the middle of the night, here was my great-great-grandfather Wilkie saying to me, “Terry Lynn, please have my family sealed to me. I want to be with them through eternity. Please have our temple work done! You are now away from your husband—imagine that for eternity. It is awful! I want to be sealed to my wife.” Then, as suddenly as it had come, the voice was gone. At first, I thought I must be imagining things, and I lay there and thought about my great-great-grandparents. I decided I should do their genealogy and would start the work when I had the time. Then I began to fall asleep again. I was startled when the voice returned and said much the same thing, only this time urging me to have the work done soon. I decided to do something about it the next day. Apparently, however, my grandfather knew I would probably be distracted the next day, because he spoke to me yet a third time, and told me to do something NOW!

I could not quite believe what was happening, but in the middle of the night I got up and began working on genealogy. I sorted through miscellaneous papers and records and found the information I needed to begin. I then wrote letters requesting birth, marriage, and death certificates. When I had done all that I could do at that time, I finally went back to bed.

I worked on genealogy a lot during the six months my husband was gone. Eventually, I was able to go to the temple with my cousin and have my great-great grandparents sealed. I can testify that I felt their presence there in the temple and knew that, at last, they could be truly happy and together eternally.

Throughout the next four years my husband was required to be away from home much of the time. I was often comforted and strengthened reading the journals of my great-great-grandparents. Knowing that they had experienced similar situations somehow helped me to put my life in the proper perspective. I felt very close to them, and even though I had never met them, I felt I knew them. The example my great-great-grandparents unknowingly set for me has been, and continues to be, an inspiration.

[illustration] Illustrated by Dilleen Marsh

Terry L. Fisher, mother of three and part-time student at Brigham Young University, is a counselor in the Primary presidency of the BYU 102nd Ward.