Photograph by Christina Smith
When President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Wendy, spoke at the RootsTech family history conference in February 2017, they used the words family, stories, Elijah, and detours to teach about the importance of family history and temple work.
Using the words family and stories, President and Sister Nelson reminded us about the importance of keeping family stories and traditions alive, and preserving family treasures to help us remember who we are and who came before us.
“It’s wonderful to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers by telling important family history stories in ways that are accessible and memorable,” President Nelson said.
“Perhaps having family history documents, stories, photos, and memorabilia always before our eyes can strengthen our testimonies. As we place them on the walls of our homes, on our tables, on our computers, iPads, or even on our cell phones, maybe we will be prompted to make better choices and draw closer to the Lord and to our families. However, if we leave it at that level, we haven’t really done enough.”
The word Elijah explains how family and temple work are related. President Nelson taught, “I like to think about the spirit of Elijah as ‘a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family’” (Apr. 1998 general conference).
Regarding the word detours, he said we shouldn’t let anything distract us from our purpose of providing temple ordinances for our ancestors. “As Church members, our interest in family history work has been motivated by instruction from the Lord that our ancestors cannot be made perfect without us, and we cannot be made perfect without them. That means we are to be linked together by the sacred sealing ordinances of the temple. We are to be strong links in the chain from our ancestors to our posterity. If our collections of stories and photos should ever become an end point in themselves—if we know who our ancestors are, know marvelous things about them, but we leave them stranded on the other side without their ordinances—such diversion will not be of any help to our ancestors who remain confined in their spirit prison.”
So you’re invited to follow President and Sister Nelson’s counsel and challenge to “make a sacrifice of time to the Lord by increasing the time you spend doing temple and family history work, and then watch what happens.”
To watch all of President and Sister Nelson’s RootsTech presentation on family history, go to lds.org/topics/family-history/familydiscoveryday/nelson.