Introduction

Member’s Guide to Temple and Family History Work, (2012), v–vi


Welcome! You are about to embark on a fascinating journey that will take you back into history and forward into the eternities.

Never has there been a more exciting time to do temple and family history work. Many more temples are being built worldwide than ever before. Technological advances continually increase our ability to locate and search records and to communicate with others. People around the world are researching, compiling, and publishing family histories in print and on the Internet.

President Thomas S. Monson said:

President Thomas S. Monson“In this work, no lock will open without [the key of faith]. I testify that when we do all we can to accomplish the work that is before us, the Lord will make available to us the sacred key needed to unlock the treasure which we so much seek. …

“My brothers and sisters, do not be weary in well doing. If you feel your contribution is small or insignificant, remember that the worth of souls is precious in the sight of God. Our opportunity is to prepare the way, and to accomplish the ordinance work, after faithful research, that these souls may prepare for the glory which is their divine opportunity” (“The Key of Faith,” Ensign, Feb. 1994, 5, 7).

The primary purpose of family history work is to find ancestors’ names and perform temple ordinances for ancestors. This work involves a simple process:

  • Gather information to identify your ancestors.

  • Record information about your ancestors to link them into families.

  • Perform temple ordinances for your ancestors who have not yet received them.

The process often leads to information about others of your ancestors—the parents, children, and siblings of those you have found—and the process begins again.

information cycle

This guide will help you use the process to identify your ancestors and bless them through temple ordinances. You will also learn about resources that can help you in this process, including the FamilySearch Internet site, which is found at www.familysearch.org.

If you already have experience in doing temple and family history work, you can adapt your use of this guide to your experience. Activities to enrich your experience and additional resources to study are suggested at the end of each chapter. You can also visit the Help Center at www.familysearch.org to find more resources to help you continue learning.

You may find that this guide is all you need to get started, or you may want the additional help of a family history consultant. Family history consultants can use this guide to help individuals and families in their homes. This guide is also the basis for a Temple and Family History course that can be taught during Sunday School, as determined by local priesthood leaders.

As you participate in temple and family history work, you will be blessed with a stronger testimony of its importance, a greater appreciation of the Lord’s love for His children, and a motivating desire to do temple work for your ancestors. You will have a better understanding of your family origins and an increased love for your ancestors.