We weren’t quite sure what to expect when the bishop of our ward in northern Utah, USA, encouraged the youth to attend the largest family history conference in the world—RootsTech, held in Salt Lake City. We followed his counsel, and a group of 30 people from our ward spent the day attending this amazing experience.
We listened to President Russell M. Nelson’s admonition to “do something to actually experience the joy [of family history and temple work] for ourselves.”1 We realized that the dates assigned to our ward by the Brigham City Temple for our youth baptism night and the ward temple night were only two days apart and we decided to follow President Nelson’s counsel.
One month later we held a name-gathering night, a combined Mutual activity for all of the youth and anyone else in the ward who wanted to participate. Everyone brought smart phones, tablets, or computers, and we hooked up to a printer so that we could print out temple-ready names right on the spot.
With the motivation of helping our ancestors (along with a pizza party), we helped each other until we found at least one family name in need of a temple ordinance. “I gained a testimony from the night I looked for names,” said Bryton W., 16. “I was struggling to find even one, but a leader kept pushing me, and I finally succeeded. It made me feel better knowing that I helped someone.”
We learned, worked, acted, taught, and shared. Finding family names to take to the temple touched us and bonded us together.
The following week, we took these names to the temple for our ward’s temple week. The youth did the needed baptisms and confirmations on Wednesday night, and the adults in our ward took it from there, culminating in sealings on Saturday. “It was my first time going to the temple,” said Tili W., 12. “I felt good knowing I was doing temple work for my ancestors. I want to continue doing this work, because I get a good feeling, almost like when I was baptized.”
Because of this experience, our ward has a new standard for participating in family history and temple work, and we are excited to continue finding names and taking them to the temple together.