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April 30, 2007

Family History Service

Here is a great quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley in the March 1995 Ensign. The article is titled A Century of Family History Service.

There is nothing else to compare with this treasury of family history on the face of the whole earth. I feel the Lord has designed that it should be so. This is his church which carries his name, and one of its purposes is to make available to the millions beyond the veil of death the full blessings that lead to eternal life.

There are millions across the world who are working on family history records. Why? Why are they doing it? I believe it is because they have been touched by the spirit of this work, a thing which we call the spirit of Elijah. It is a turning of the hearts of the children to their fathers. Most of them do not understand any real purpose in this, other than perhaps a strong and motivating curiosity.

There has to be a purpose in this tremendous expenditure of time and money. That purpose, of which we bear solemn witness, is to identify the generations of the dead so that ordinances may be performed in their behalf for their eternal and everlasting blessing and progress.

The real fruit of this identification finds expression only in the House of the Lord, the temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And as the work of family history research goes on and grows, there is a concomitant flowering of temples. More temples have been constructed and dedicated in the last dozen years than were constructed and dedicated in all the prior history of the Church. This is the great season of temple building and temple activity. The beautiful temple in Orlando, Florida, was recently dedicated. A wonderful new building on the high bench overlooking Bountiful, Utah, will be dedicated in January. A dozen more are in some stage of development.

I am confident that the Lord will permit us and direct us to go on building these sacred structures as we become worthy of them. Our important test of that worthiness will lie in doing the research that becomes the foundation for the major work to be carried on in them.

The work of the Lord is a work of salvation. For whom? Through the grace of our Eternal Father and without any effort on the part of the beneficiaries, the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God has made it possible for all to rise from the dead. And beyond this, by virtue of that divine sacrifice and through his limitless grace and goodness, opportunities for eternal life may be opened to all through personal or vicarious service.

That which goes on in the House of the Lord, and which must be preceded by research, comes nearer to the spirit of the sacrifice of the Lord than any other activity of which I know. Why? Because it is done by those who give freely of time and substance, without any expectation of thanks or reward, to do for others that which they cannot do for themselves.

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