Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Bond of Family


What is Family?

Family is defined as "a group consisting of people usually related to one another by blood or marriage and united by a significant shared characteristic. They are to be treated with a special loyalty or intimacy."

What might that characteristic be?
Here is my favorite definition:

A family consists of the characteristic in that we are all Children of God.


We are all children of our Heavenly Father. We are, we were, and we will forever be a people related to each other by our very natures and essence. Our spirits were designed and fashioned by an infinitely creative and powerful God. We were meant to treat each other with kindness. We are brothers and sisters. I think sometimes we forget this.

With this eternal perspective of who we each are, it would stand to reason that we would naturally be social creatures. God meant for us to interact and to yearn for love and give love in return. We are meant to have a family.

How does this relate to Family History Work?

I have found that when I am exploring the expanse of my family tree, there is a certain love I have developed for people that I haven't even met yet. As I delve into their lives and their legacy, I realize that I can take pride in what they have accomplished. For I  am a product of their lives. I celebrate when they succeeded in life, and I mourn when a hard trial came to them such as the loss of a loved one. 

Why does this matter?

Interesting question. Why DOES it matter? Are we just meant to have these relationships and feelings for nothing? If you have done family history/geneological work before, I think I would be safe to say that you have felt similar feelings of love and curiousity, as I have.

Why do I feel this way?

If you go to the very end of the Old Testament, there is a book called Malachi. Malachi 4: 5-6 to be exact:

¶Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:

 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite theearth with a curse.

Bascially what you are feeling as you do family history work is called the Spirit of Elijah.

“The Spirit of Elijah is a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family. Hence, people throughout the world, regardless of religious affiliation, are gathering records of deceased relatives at an ever-increasing rate.”
—Elder Russell M. Nelson, “A New Harvest Time,” May 1998 general conference

I love this. People no matter what religion they may be, are searching their family trees. Most of them, think it is just a neat, worthwhile hobbie. Which is true.To Latter-day Saints, however, there is a deeper meaning.

What is that?

"As members of Christ’s restored Church, (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) we have the covenant responsibility to search out our ancestors and provide for them the saving ordinances of the gospel. “They without us should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:40). And “neither can we without our dead be made perfect” (D&C 128:15). For these reasons we do family history research, build temples, and perform vicarious ordinances. For these reasons Elijah was sent to restore the sealing authority that binds on earth and in heaven."           -Elder David A. Bednar
Isn't this amazing? 
We do family History work not only because it is a neat and worthwile hobbie, but because we know that when we find our ancestors who have not had the opportunity in this mortal life to accept or reject the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, we can take their names to our sacred temples, and there we can perform proxy ordinances (such as baptism) for them. They then have the opportunity in the Spirit World in which they wait, to accept or reject the work that has been done in their behalf. This allows family relationships be perpetuated beyond the grave. Our families can litterally be (as the title of my blog says) Families for Eternity. This is why we do family history work.
What do you mean by "Spirit World"?
Latter-day Saints also believe in a plan designed by our loving Heavenly Father in which we can be together forever. It began "before the foundations of this world." We lived with Heavenly Father as Spirit sons and daughters. He had a body of flesh and bone and we wanted to be like Him. In order for that to happen Heavenly Father sent us to earth to gain both a body, and experience. Here we learn to keep the commandments, repent of our mistakes, and develop our unique gifts and tallents. When we die, our bodies go into the ground and our spirits go to a place called the "Spirit World" where we await the ressurrection and Judgement. Death does not change who we are and what we desire. We still have the same personalities and we are still related to our mortal families. We are taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we still have the opportunity to accept it, repent and experience the joy of keeping the commandments. However. Each person as the scriptures say, must follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone who holds the authority from God. This is obviously a physical action, that those in the spirit world can not do. Thus the reason for Temples. 

Have you ever seen a Latter-day Saint Temple?

Idaho Falls, Idaho Temple

This is where my parents were married and Sealed for time and all Eternity. Our family is Forever.

The Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple

This special temple is near my home in Utah, and where I have gone many times to serve my ancestors and recieve revelation from God. 

The Salt Lake City Utah Temple

A special place for all Latter-day Saints.
These three temples are among the most regal and majestic buildings in the world. There are temples such as these located all over the world, where members of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serve and make specail convenants with God and are sealed to their families, both past and present for Time and all Eternity. This is where we act in the place of our ancestors and are baptized by proper authority in their behalf. This is why this is all so important to us.We have the opportunity to help those in the spirit world recieve these sacred covenants. What greater service is there? We follow Jesus Christ who stands at the head of His church. This is His work, not ours. This is His perfect plan. This is Salvation. 

*If you have any questions about Family History Work, The Plan of Salvation, Or Temples, please visit the following websites:

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