As you flip through the pages of the New Era this month, look at the wide variety of color combinations that bring a rich energy and vibrancy to each picture, painting, or design. Many of the colors were made possible because two of the primary colors—red, yellow, or blue—were combined to create a new color, one that couldn’t exist if the primary colors were kept separate.
Family history and temple work share a similarity with those colors: you can receive more blessings by combining the two important works. That’s because family history and temple work are actually two parts of a single work—the work of salvation. Of course you’ll still receive great blessings by helping others with their family history and by attending the temple to do work for people whose names are provided there. But you receive even greater blessings—enjoy the full palette of colors—when you combine the two parts and find your own family names and then perform the work for your ancestors in the temple.
As Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught:
“Temple and family history work is one work divided into two parts. …
“Father in Heaven wants each of us to receive both parts of the blessing of this vital vicarious work. He has led others to show us how to qualify. It is up to you and me to claim those blessings.
“Any work you do in the temple is time well spent, but receiving ordinances vicariously for one of your own ancestors will make the time in the temple more sacred, and even greater blessings will be received.”1
So, what are some of the “greater blessings” that come when we receive “both parts of the blessing”? At right are several promises from modern-day Apostles.
A Refining, Spiritual Influence
“Family history work of Church members has a refining, spiritualizing, tempering influence on those who are engaged in it. They understand that they are tying their family together. … When we research our own lines we become interested in more than just names. … Our interest turns our hearts to our fathers—we seek to find them and to know them and to serve them.”2
Part of a Greater Work
“Spiritual connections … are formed. … When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us. We feel part of something greater than ourselves.”3
A Safeguard against Temptation
“Each of us benefits from all of those who have gone before. Learning those stories helps us really understand who we are and where we came from. … Are you doing the research in your own family and helping other people with their research? That for a young person in the wickedness of the world in which we live today is one of the greatest safeguards against the temptations of the adversary.”4
Aid from the Unseen World
“Perhaps if we would do our work in behalf of those of the unseen world who hunger and pray for the work we can do for them, the unseen world would in return give us help in this day of our urgent need. There are more in that other world than there are here. There is more power and strength there than we have here upon this earth.”5
What Will You Do?
What will you do to “claim those blessings” of finding family names and then taking them to the temple? Make a plan today to bring the promises of receiving both parts of the blessing in your life.
Youth Voices: Blessings of Family History
Youth from New York, USA, were recently invited by their stake presidency to find a family name to take to the temple as part of a special youth conference. They discovered great blessings as they felt their hearts turning to their fathers (see Malachi 4:5–6).
Taking Family Names to the Temple
“I used to think that family history was just another thing to check off, but now I realize these are real people who have been waiting for years. My temple experience is different when I take family names. I suppose it’s because of all the hard work, time, and prayers that went into finding one name. But one name is worth it because that is one person who needs to be with Father in Heaven.” —Hannah A., 13
“After finding a person, you start to connect with that person in the spirit world. Bringing your own names is a way to strengthen this bond. It helps you to understand your eternal family.” —Spencer S., 15
“Bringing family names to the temple helps you realize the reality of who these people were. They are not just names on a piece of paper; they are real brothers and sisters who share your history—and are a part of it.” —Lilli N., 16
“I’ve noticed a difference in my life. It’s a warm and protective feeling.” —Noah R., 13
“You can feel in your heart that you are part of a greater work. Giving your family the opportunity to receive temple blessings is a feeling like no other.” —Corinne C., 17
“I’ve felt more comfortable and calm since I started doing family history. When I take family names to the temple, it gives me an overwhelming sense of joy.” —Tyler M., 16
“It has increased my love for the Savior, Heavenly Father, and my ancestors. It has helped me become closer with my direct family and increased my testimony of the gospel.” —Alexandra H., 14
“I’ve been a lot happier.” —Ross S., 12
“With each name, I feel an overwhelming sense of peace and excitement, like the person has been waiting just for me.” —Rhiannon B., 15
“I know where I came from, and my confidence is building.” —Eliza L., 13
“I’ve been less contentious in my house.” —Gehrig L., 12
“I understand the importance of families more and more. I want to be closer with my family on earth.” —Emma L., 15
“It’s helped me further understand God’s plan for us. I feel closer to Heavenly Father and the gospel because I better understand the ordinances that are taking place.” —Noah C., 14
I Found a Name
“To prepare for a youth temple trip, our ward put together a Mutual activity to search for family names we could bring. I was sitting next to my friends and somewhat complaining that I could not find any names that needed ordinances done. After much searching on familysearch.org, I found a name. I was so excited!
“I quickly ran to our family history consultant and asked her what the next step was. She showed me how to save the name and print it out so I could do the temple work. She also said the woman was a real person and not just a name on a screen. I felt the Spirit and knew the person had been waiting for her work to be done and for me to find her. I was able to take her name to the temple. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve my ancestors and help bring them the joy of the gospel.”
Leah G., New York, USA
What If I Don’t Have Access to the Internet?
Although your family history names need to be submitted online in order to do temple work for them, you don’t need to have Internet access at home. Gather names, information, and family stories from your living relatives, and then see if there’s a local family history center where you can submit the names on familysearch.org. In areas with limited Internet access, talk to ward or stake family history consultants about the resources they have for getting the data entered electronically for you.
Does That Mean I Shouldn’t Go to the Temple If I Don’t Have Family Names?
Not at all! Attending the temple brings rich blessings both for you and for those you are baptized and confirmed for, whether or not they are your ancestors. You should still attend the temple even if you don’t have a family name. The First Presidency has taught: “Members with limited ability to do their own family history research are encouraged to perform vicarious ordinances with names provided by other members or by the temple” (First Presidency Letter, Oct. 8, 2012).
An Invitation from the First Presidency
“When members of the Church find the names of their ancestors and take those names to the temple for ordinance work, the temple experience can be greatly enriched. … We especially encourage youth … to use for temple work their own family names or the names of ancestors of their ward and stake members.”
First Presidency Letter, Oct. 8, 2012.
Richard G. Scott, “The Joy of Redeeming the Dead,” Ensign, Nov. 2012, 93–94.
Boyd K. Packer, “Your Family History: Getting Started,” Ensign, Aug. 2003, 17.
Russell M. Nelson, “Generations Linked in Love,” Ensign, May 2010, 92.
David A. Bednar, “The Time Is Now,” lds.org/youth/family-history/leaders.
John A. Widtsoe, in Conference Report, Apr. 1943, 39.