Genealogy and Temple Work: A Team
For this month's LDS entry, I found a rather old article in the August 1983 Ensign by George D. Durant. It is titled, Genealogy and Temple Work: “You Can’t Have One without the Other,” and I believe it contains valuable incite into both genealogy and temple work as a pair.
Here are a few paragraphs from the article:
Genealogy and temple work—you can’t have one without the other. They are two inseparable parts of one supernal decree the Lord has given us to aid in the redemption of the dead. The process of identifying one’s family should be much more than a hobby to a Latter-day Saint. From an eternal perspective, to consider the word genealogy and not its partner temple work—or to think of temple work and disregard its twin, genealogy—makes no more sense than to try to play a game with only half a ball.
Some people feel that temple work, by its very nature, is the more important work, the sacred half—the top half of the ball, we might say. But a rolling ball does not have a top and a bottom. I’ve heard some members say, “I love going to the temple and performing the sacred ordinances. But genealogy just isn’t interesting to me.” Others say, “If I could, I would spend all my time doing genealogy. It is so exciting that I’d stay at the library from the time the doors open until they kick me out at night.” If we all felt one way or the other, we would have either a huge backlog of names at the temple or long lines at the temple waiting for names not there.
Elder Boyd K. Packer made the relationship between the two very clear when he said: “You cannot have regard for temple ordinance work without having great respect for genealogical work as well. Genealogical work is the fundamental service for the temples. The temples could not stay open without success in the genealogical program.” (The Holy Temple, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980, p. 224.)
In October 1975, Elder Packer told a group of Regional Representatives:
“During the last two months … I have visited a number of high priest groups. Mostly I have been listening. I have been trying to determine what high priests quorums are doing about this work—and why not! It has been a most interesting inquiry. …
“I visited a high priest group with 39 members, well educated, well-to-do, and many of them retired. During the last year they have been responsible for 1,122 endowments at the temple. During the same period they have submitted, from their own genealogical research from their own family records, two names—one of which had not yet cleared. This, I find, is about typical.
“Genealogical work in the Church, for the most part, is left to those few members who have taken a keen interest in it, who have found great excitement in it, and who devote themselves totally to it.” (Ibid.)