Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testified: “Together we are striving to organize the family tree for all of God’s children. This is an enormous endeavor with enormous rewards” (“Generations Linked in Love,” Ensign, May 2010, 93).
In this lesson students will review the urgency spoken of by latter-day prophets for them to search out the names of their ancestors. They will also review the guidelines for submitting those names to temples and learn how to use computer tools to determine what ordinances are needed for their known ancestors. Help your students see that the detailed efforts they put into the process of identifying and clearing names for temple ordinances will be of great worth in the Lord’s plan for the salvation of His children.
Latter-day prophets have expressed urgency for us to perform saving ordinances for the dead.
Church family history databases help determine which gospel ordinances are needed for known ancestors.
Follow the guidelines for submitting names for temple ordinances.
If you have a current temple recommend and have been endowed, you may serve as proxy for those persons of the same gender whose names you have cleared for temple ordinances, or you may allow others to serve as proxy for persons you have cleared for temple ordinances.
Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 138:32–35 and share what the verses teach about the work being done in the spirit world. Then ask:
Considering for a moment how much work it takes to search out, record, and prepare a name for temple ordinances to be performed, what kind of preparation do you think is being made on the other side of the veil by the individual you are doing the work for?
Why do you think righteous spirits in the spirit world might be anxious to have their temple work completed?
Ask students to open their student manuals to the headings “Angels need our help” (7.1.1) and “The work of redeeming the dead must accelerate” (7.1.3). (You may want to write these titles on the board for students to refer back to as they work.) Ask students to read silently and mark the sentences or phrases that emphasize the urgency of work for the dead. After allowing students sufficient time, ask several students to share one or two of the items they selected and to explain what they mean to them. Then ask:
From your understanding of the Lord’s plan of salvation, why do you think there is an urgency to perform the temple work on behalf of our kindred dead? (We are in the last days prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ; in the Lord’s plan, this is how He has made provision for those who died without a knowledge of the gospel to receive all the promised blessings; we are the only ones on the earth authorized to do this work on their behalf.)
Bear testimony of the truth and importance of the Savior’s mission to redeem all of Heavenly Father’s children. Help students understand that it is a privilege for us to participate in that mission.
Ask students to share any experiences they have had using FamilySearch to determine the temple ordinance status of any of their ancestors.
If classroom computer facilities are available, log on to FamilySearch and demonstrate (or have a student log on and demonstrate) finding the ordinance information for individuals or families in your (or the student’s) ancestral lines. (Be respectful of any desires to protect personal information. This activity will work only if someone is willing to display information about his or her family lines.)
Another option would be to log on to FamilySearch and read information on tutorials and help screens relating to temple ordinance information. (Note: These activities will require a considerable amount of class time.)
Have students open their student manuals to the headings “Follow the Guidelines for Submitting Names for Temple Ordinances” (7.3) and “There Are Guidelines for Submitting Names to the Temple When There Are Unusual Circumstances” (7.4). Divide the class into small groups, and have each group make up a quiz of five to seven questions relating to guidelines for doing temple work for the dead (make sure the answers can be found in the student manual).
After groups are finished composing their questions, have each group pair up with another group and take turns asking their questions to each other.
After the groups are finished, show a computer demonstration of the steps needed to submit a name for temple work. Be sure to allow time for questions or comments from the students about guidelines for submitting names for ordinance work.
Write “Proxy” on the board.
What does it mean for a person to act as “proxy” for another person? (It means that someone has the right to represent another person or perform an act on his or her behalf.)
Add the following explanation to the board: “Someone who does something for another person.”
Explain that in the Church we often use the word proxy when speaking of doing something for someone else who cannot do it for himself or herself. Add this additional information to the board.
Using our chalkboard definition as a guide, who can we read about in the scriptures performing proxy work on our behalf? (Jesus Christ—He atoned for our sins and was resurrected so that we could also be resurrected.)
How does the word proxy apply to family history work? (We perform proxy baptisms for the dead; we serve as proxies for other ordinances of salvation for our deceased ancestors.)
What is required in order for us to go to the temple and act as proxy for those whose names we have submitted to the temple? (Obtain a valid temple recommend from local priesthood leaders.)
You might consider closing this lesson by inviting one or two students who have a temple recommend to briefly share how being interviewed for a temple recommend has been a blessing to them. Close by sharing your testimony about how we reflect the Savior’s love when we provide the ordinances of salvation for our deceased ancestors.