What a blessing family history research and temple work are in behalf of the dead. A man once said to me, "I'm saved," in a rather boisterous tone. And I said, "What about your father and your grandfather and your great-grandfather?" He said, "I guess they've gone to hell." And I said, "Are you more deserving of the blessings of the Savior of the world than those who gave you life, and through whom your inheritance has come, of mind and body and spirit? Can there be a just God who is not a respecter of persons who would deny the one group that which has been given freely to another?" --Gordon B. Hinckley, Birmingham, England, fireside, August 29, 1995.
Let us help all members of the Church qualify for and receive these heavenly blessings [of the temple]. After they have received them, teach them the high and holy opportunities that await them if they will search out their genealogies and minister for their loved ones in the Houses of the Lord. The Lord expects each of us to qualify as a savior on Mount Zion and labor in love for our families who have passed beyond the veil not having had the privilege of accepting the principles of the gospel. -Howard W. Hunter, The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, 231.
If we can literally be "caught up" in any work in the church, it is this work relating to genealogical research and to the temples. This, because there is the spirit of Elijah. The prophets have spoken of it. The Saints have felt it; and following the inspiration of it they have come to the temple to do the sacred work for both the living and the dead. -Boyd K. Packer, The Holy Temple, 210.
“Immerse yourself in searching for your ancestors, prepare their names for the sacred vicarious ordinances available in the temple, and then go to the temple to stand as proxy for them to receive the ordinances of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. As you grow older, you will be able to participate in receiving the other ordinances as well. I can think of no greater protection from the influence of the adversary in your life”
"The temple will be an ever-present reminder that God intended the family to be eternal.”
Ezra Taft Benson"What a privilege it is to be able to go to the temple, where we may experience the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of the Lord. Great service is given when we perform vicarious ordinances for those who have gone beyond the veil. In many cases we do not know those for whom we perform the work. We expect no thanks, nor do we have the assurance that they will accept that which we offer. However, we serve, and in that process we attain that which comes of no other effort: we literally become saviors on Mount Zion. As our Savior gave His life as a vicarious sacrifice for us, so we, in some small measure, do the same when we perform proxy work in the temple for those who have no means of moving forward unless something is done for them by those of us here on the earth. - Thomas S. Monson, "Until We Meet Again,"Ensign, May 2009, 113-14.
We have asked the families of the Church to organize themselves to perform most effectively their sacred responsibilities, including temple and genealogical work. We have counseled that Latter-day Saints not only establish family organizations, but that they hold reunions and plan meetings to further secure the family ties.
-Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 349
We have asked the families of the Church to organize themselves to perform most effectively their sacred responsibilities, including temple and genealogical work. We have counseled that Latter-day Saints not only establish family organizations, but that they hold reunions and plan meetings to further secure the family ties.
-Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 349
We call on you to pursue vigorously the gathering and writing of personal and family histories. In so many instances, you alone have within you the history, the memory of loved ones, the dates and events. In some situations you are the family history. In few ways will your heritage be better preserved than by your collecting and writing your histories.Â Â -Ezra Taft Benson,Â Sermons and Writings of President Ezra Taft Benson,Â 193.
“Whoever seeks to help those on the other side receives help in turn in all the affairs of life…Help comes to us from the other side as we give help to those who have passed beyond the veil.” John A. Widtsoe, Ensign, May 1980, 40"Through further revelation to Joseph Smith and subsequent prophets, there has come an understanding of and the provision for temple work and the family history effort that supports it. Every prophet since Joseph Smith has emphasized the imperative need to provide all ordinances for ourselves and our deceased ancestors."
—Richard G. Scott, "The Joy of Redeeming the Dead"
"I admonish all families: search out your heritage. It is important to know, as far as possible, those who came before us. We discover something about ourselves when we learn about our ancestors." - Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, May 2005
“We want the Latter-day Saints from this time to trace their genealogies as far as they can, and to be sealed to their fathers and mothers. Have children sealed to their parents, and run this chain through as far as you can get it. . . . This is the will of the Lord to his people. – President Wilford Woodruff, General Conference, April 1894
“I wish I had realized that family history is a perishable commodity. It disappears with time, as memories fade, and as loved ones pass on. I wish I had known that the most important aspect of family history is preserving a record of the present for the future." -Guy Black
Like partaking of the sacrament, attending meetings, reading the scriptures, and saying personal prayers, doing family history and temple work should be a regular part of our personal worship. -- Elder Allan F. Packer
What do you suppose the fathers would say if they could speak from the dead? Would they not say, “We have lain here thousands of years, here in this prison house, waiting for this dispensation to come? Here we are, bound and fettered, in the association of those who are filthy?” What would they whisper in our ears? Why, if they had the power the very thunders of heaven would be in our ears, if we could but realize the importance of the work we are engaged in. All the angels in heaven are looking at this little handful of people, and stimulating them to the salvation of the human family. So also are the devils in hell looking at this people, too, and trying to overthrow us, and the people are still shaking hands with the servants of the devil, instead of sanctifying themselves and calling upon the Lord and doing the work which he has commanded us and put into our hands to do. When I think upon this subject, I want the tongues of seven thunders to wake up the people. – Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 8:304
Many people do not understand the seriousness and the sacredness of life; they do not understand the sacredness of eternal marriage. There are some of our people who have no interest in their genealogy. They care nothing about their forebears; at least you would think so by the way they behave. They do not go into the temple to do work for their dead. . . . After we have been to the House of the Lord for our own blessings, let us think of our responsibility to our forebears. What will be your reception when you go on the other side? Will you be the one they will reach out to and bless throughout the ages of eternity, or will you be like the brother who was selfishly working out his problems here and letting those who could not help themselves go on without his help? (“The Tenth Temple,” Improvement Era, Oct. 1945, 562) – Teachings of Presidents of the Church, George Albert Smith, p. 86
The doctrine of the family in relation to family history and temple work is clear. The Lord in initial revelatory instructions referred to “baptism for your dead.” Our doctrinal obligation is to our own ancestors. This is because the celestial organization of heaven is based on families. The First Presidency has encouraged members, especially youth and young single adults, to emphasize family history work and ordinances for their own family names or the names of ancestors of their ward and stake members. We need to be connected to both our roots and branches. The thought of being associated in the eternal realm is indeed glorious." —Quentin L. Cook, "Roots and Branches"
“Mormonism,” as it is called, did not originate in the nineteenth century. It is not of any one time nor of any one place. It is the everlasting gospel, the same yesterday, today and forever. There never has been and never will be another gospel; but this one, framed in heaven, has been upon earth again and again, in a series of dispensations reaching like a mighty chain from the morning of creation down to the end of time. And all these dispensations must be linked and bound together before the God of Israel appears; for unless a condition of unity and power, resulting from faith and righteous works, exists at that time, the whole earth will be smitten with a curse. Not that the Lord wishes to curse, but rather to bless mankind. But the blessing that he desires to bestow at his coming would change into a consuming curse, if the necessary preparation were not made. – Elder Orson F. Whitney, General Conference, October 1920
"Jesus Christ gave His life as a vicarious atonement. He resolved the ultimate question raised by Job. He overcame death for all mankind, which we could not do for ourselves. We can, however, perform vicarious ordinances and truly become saviors on Mount Zion for our own families in order that we, with them, might be exalted as well as saved."—Quentin L. Cook, "Roots and Branches"
The genealogical society has spent years of time collecting [family history] information, and others spend years of time going into the House of the Lord to be baptized for those who are dead, to have husbands and wives and children sealed to one another, to unite the family as our Heavenly Father has instructed that we should do. It would be well if each of us would ask himself the question: What am I doing about it? Am I doing my part? Our Heavenly Father told the people through Joseph Smith that, unless we performed the work for our dead, we would lose our own blessings, and we would be cut off, and one of the very last things that the Prophet tried to do was to complete a temple in which the people could go and perform work for their dead. That is how important it is. It has to be done by someone. – Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, 85
“Create your history as you live in the present, discover the past by learning of the stories of your ancestors, and shape the future by sharing your stories.” —Elder Allan F. Packer of the Seventy
It matters not what else we have been called to do, or what position we may occupy, or how faithfully in other ways we have labored in the Church, none are exempt from this great obligation. . . . It is required of the apostle as well as of the humblest elder. . . . Some may feel that if they pay their tithing, attend their regular meetings and other duties, give of their substance to feed the poor, perchance spend one or two or more years preaching in the world, that they are absolved from further duty. But the greatest and grandest duty of all is to labor for the dead. We may and should do all these other things, for which reward will be given, but if we neglect the weightier privilege and commandment, notwithstanding all other good works, we shall find ourselves under severe condemnation. – President Joseph Fielding Smith, “Seeking after Our Dead,” Genealogical Society of Utah, 1928, pp. 35-36
Elijah came to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the children to the fathers. With that, natural affection between generations began to be enriched. Elijah came not only to stimulate research for ancestors. He also enabled families to be eternally linked beyond the bounds of mortality. Indeed, the opportunity for families to be sealed forever is the real reason for our research.
~ Russell M. Nelson, A New Harvest Time, Conference April 1998
"But what about you? Have you prayed about your own ancestors’ work? Set aside those things in your life that don’t really matter. Decide to do something that will have eternal consequences. Perhaps you have been prompted to look for ancestors but feel you are not a genealogist. Can you see that you don’t have to be anymore? It all begins with love and a sincere desire to help those beyond the veil who can’t help themselves. Check around. There will be someone in your area who can help you have success.
~Richard G. Scott, The Joy of Redeeming the Dead, Conference October 2012
“Any work you do in the temple is time well spent, but receiving ordinances vicariously for one of your own ancestors will make the time in the temple more sacred, and even greater blessings will be received. The First Presidency has declared, ‘Our preeminent obligation is to seek out and identify our own ancestors’ (First Presidency letter, Feb. 29, 2012; emphasis added)” Richard G. Scott, “The Joy of Redeeming the Dead,” Oct. 2012 general conference
The Lord expects of us all that we do what we can for ourselves and for our dead. He wants us to make the search for our ancestry because he does not do for us what we can do for ourselves. And after we have done all we can, then means will be furnished, or the way will be opened for the furnishing of the information which we are unable to discover."
Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 2:149
Many of your ancestors died never having the chance to accept the gospel and to receive the blessings and promises you have received. The Lord is fair and He is loving. And so He prepared for you and me a way for us to have the desire of our hearts to offer to our ancestors all the blessings He has offered us. “The plan to make that possible has been in place from the beginning. The Lord gave promises to His children long ago. …“'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 the earth with a curse' (Malachi 4:5-6).”—Henry B. Eyring, “Hearts Bound Together,” Ensign, May 2005
President John Taylor
"He who cares nothing for his ancestors will rarely achieve anything worthy of being remembered by his descendants"
There are many different things our members can do to help in the redeeming of the dead, in temple and family history work. Some involve callings. Others are personal. All are expressions of devotion and discipleship. All present opportunities for sacrifice and service.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks,Â Ensign, June 1989
“…The Almighty has never altered his purpose, never changed his designs nor abrogated his laws. . . His course is one eternal round. He has had one object in view, and that object will be accomplished in regard to man and the earth whereon he lives.
The only question with us is whether we will cooperate with God, or whether we will individually work out our own salvation or not; whether we will individually fulfill the various responsibilities that devolve upon us or not; whether we will attend to the ordinances that God has introduced or not; for ourselves to begin with, for our families, for the living and for the dead. Whether we will cooperate in building temples and administering in them; whether we will unite with the Almighty, under the direction of his holy priesthood, in bringing to pass things that have been spoken of by the holy prophets since the world was; whether we will contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the Saints. These things rest with us to a certain extent…” (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church (Priesthood Lesson Manual 2003) page 8)
"When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us. We feel part of something greater than ourselves. Our inborn yearnings for family connections are fulfilled when we are linked to our ancestors through sacred ordinances of the temple." Elder Russell M. Nelson
"We honor best those who have gone before when we serve well in the cause of truth." Gordon B. Hinckley
"Great hosts of the dead in the Spirit World are waiting for this work. Should it not stir us to do everything to relieve them of their distress? It surely should. When we have done our utmost, then will come the day when the authorities that preside on the other side will come and make known all who have received the Gospel in the Spirit World, and everyone entitled to have their temple work done. That is the simplest thing in the world. When the Lord is ready, it will be very simple and very easy. We can speed that day by doing now the work that we can do." Melvin J. Ballard
"Oh, I wish many times that the veil were lifted off the face of the Latter-day Saints. I wish we could see and know the things of God as they do who are laboring for the salvation of the human family who are in the spirit world; for if this were so, this whole people, with very few, if any, exceptions, would lose all interest in the riches of the world, and instead thereof their whole desires and labors would be directed to redeem their dead, to perform faithfully the work and mission given us on earth; so that when we ourselves should pass behind the veil and meet with Joseph and the ancient apostles, and others who are watching over us and who are deeply interested in our labors, we might feel satisfied in having done our duty.
(Wilford Woodruff, in Journal of Discourses, 21:302, August 1, 1880)
“Remember that the names which will be so difficult to find are of real people to whom you owe your existence in this world and whom you will meet again in the spirit world. When you were baptized, your ancestors looked down on you with hope. Perhaps after centuries, they rejoiced to see one of their descendants make a covenant to find them and to offer them freedom. In your reunion, you will see in their eyes either gratitude or terrible disappointment. Their hearts are bound to you. Their hope is in your hands. You will have more than your own strength as you choose to labor on to find them.”
—Henry B. Eyring, “Hearts Bound Together,” Ensign, May 2005
". . . Our efforts to promote temple and family history work should be such as to accomplish the work of the Lord, not to impose guilt on his children. Members of this church have many individual circumstances—age, health, education, place of residence, family responsibilities, financial circumstances, accessibility to sources for individual or library research, and many others. If we encourage members in this work without taking these individual circumstances into account, we may do more to impose guilt than to further the work.
The second principle is that we should understand that in the work of redeeming the dead there are many tasks to be performed, and that all members should participate by prayerfully selecting those ways that fit their personal circumstances at a particular time. This should be done under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord and with the guidance of priesthood leaders who issue calls and direct the Church-administered portions of this work. Our effort is not to compel everyone to do everything, but to encourage everyone to do something." Dallin H. Oaks, "Family History: 'In Wisdom and in Order,' " Ensign, June 1989, 6
“Revelation comes to individual[s]...as they are led to discover their family records in ways that are miraculous indeed. And there is a feeling of inspiration attending this work that can be found in no other. When we have done all that we can do, we shall be given the rest. The way will be opened up.” Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Nov 1975, 99
“You are a child of God. He is the father of your spirit. Spiritually you are of noble birth, the offspring of the King of Heaven. Fix that truth in your mind and hold to it. However many generations in your mortal ancestry, no matter what race or people you represent, the pedigree of your spirit can be written on a single line. You are a child of God!” Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 1989, p. 5
"Stand in holy places for your ancestors. ... As you participate in family history and temple work, you weave your life with the lives of your ancestors by providing saving ordinances for them." Mary N. Cook, "When You Save a Girl, You Save Generations"
"No matter your situation, you can make family history a part of your life right now. Primary children can draw a family tree. Youth can participate in proxy baptisms. They can also help the older generation work with computers. Parents can relate stories of their lives to their posterity. Worthy adult members can hold a temple recommend and perform temple ordinances for their own kin."
—Russell M. Nelson, "Generations Linked in Love"
Through family history we discover the most beautiful tree in the forest of creation—our family tree. Its numerous roots reach back through history, and its branches extend throughout eternity. Family history is the expansive expression of eternal love. It is born of selflessness. It provides opportunity to secure the family unit forever.
J. Richard Clarke, "Our Kindred Family-Expression of Eternal Love", April 1989
SOOOOO Many Ancestors - So little time
SHH!! Be very, very quiet, I'm hunting forebears.
"When we research our own lines we become interested in more than just names or the number of names going through the temple. Our interest turns our hearts to our fathers—we seek to find them and to know them and to serve them."—Boyd K. Packer, "Your Family History: Getting Started"
The Lord will help open doors as we do genealogy. I have a conviction born of a little experience...that there are forces beyond this life that are working with us. ... I have the simple faith that when you do everything you can, researching to the last of your opportunity, the Lord will help you to open doors to go further with your genealogies, and heaven will cooperate, I am sure. Harold B. Lee, Seminar, 4 August 1972, 1-3.
There is much to be done in our temples in behalf of those who wait beyond the veil. As we do the work for them, we will know that we have accomplished what they cannot do for themselves. President Joseph F. Smith, in a mighty declaration, stated, “Through our efforts in their behalf their chains of bondage will fall from them, and the darkness surrounding them will clear away, that light may shine upon them and they shall hear in the spirit world of the work that has been done for them by their children here, and will rejoice with you in your performance of these duties.” My brothers and sisters, the work is ours to do.
--Thomas S. Monson, The Holy Temple--a Beacon to the World, April 2011
If I want my children and grandchildren to know those who still live in my memory, then I must build the bridge between them. I alone am the link to the generations that stand on either side of me. It is my responsibility to knit their hearts together through love and respect, even though they may never have known each other personally. My grandchildren will have no knowledge of their family's history if I do nothing to preserve it for them. That which I do not in some way record will be lost at my death, and that which I do not pass on to my posterity, they will never have.
---Dennis B. Neuenschwander, "Bridges and Eternal Keepsakes," Ensign, May 1999, 83
“It remains the responsibility of each individual to know his kindred dead. … Even if the [temple] work is done, then it is still each person’s responsibility to study and become acquainted with his ancestors.”
President Joseph Fielding Smith quoted in Hearts Turned to the Fathers: ---A History of the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1894–1994 (1995), 184
"This work is a spiritual work, a monumental effort of cooperation on both sides of the veil, where help is given in both directions. Anywhere you are in the world, with prayer, faith, determination, diligence, and some sacrifice, you can make a powerful contribution. Begin now. I promise you that the Lord will help you find a way. And it will make you feel wonderful."
--Richard G. Scott, in Conference Report, October 2012
Be it understood that if we go to the temple, and not for our own dead, we are performing only a part of our duty, because we are also required to go there specifically to save our own dead relatives and bind the various generations together by the power of the holy priesthood. We must disabuse our minds of the idea that merely “going to the temple” discharges our full responsibility, because it does not. That is not enough. We must get down to specifics and do the work for our own dead progenitors. God holds each of us responsible for saving our own kindred—specifically our own.
--Elder Mark E. Petersen, Ensign, May 1976, pp. 14-16
No work is more of a protection to this Church than temple work and the family history research that supports it. No work is more spiritually refining. No work we do gives us more power. No work requires a higher standard of righteousness.
Our labors in the temple cover us with a shield and a protection, both individually and as a people.
So come to the temple—come and claim your blessings. It is a sacred work.
--Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, October 2010
President Gordon B. Hinckley ("Rise to a Larger Vision of the Work" Ensign, May 1990, p.97)
"Now, brethren and sisters, I invite you to look beyond the narrow boundaries of your own wards and rise to the larger vision of this, the work of God. We have a challenge to meet, a work to do beyond the comprehension of any of us-- that is, to assist our Heavenly Father to save His sons and daughters of all generations, both the living and the dead, to work for the salvation not only of those in the Church, but for those presently outside, wherever they may be. No body of people on the face of the earth has received a stronger mandate from the God of heaven than have we of this Church.”
“The Prophet Joseph Smith explained the terrible dilemma which would face God's children without temple work for our dead. Said he: 'One dies and is buried, having never heard the Gospel of reconciliation; to the other the message of salvation is sent, he hears and embraces it, and is made the heir of eternal life. Shall the one become the partaker of glory and the other be consigned to hopeless perdition? Is there no chance for his escape?' (History of the Church, 4:425-26). Fortunately our ancestors will have the opportunity to receive and accept the saving ordinances as we identify them and complete these sacred ordinances for them by proxy. We do for them what they cannot do for themselves. It is a very satisfying experience."
President James E. Faust,"The Phenomenon That Is You," Ensign, Nov. 2003, 55
The salvation of the dead is one of the cardinal purposes for which the Everlasting Gospel was restored, and the Church of Jesus Christ reestablished, in this day. The phenomenal interest manifested by the Saints in this very important phase of the Saviour’s redemptive mission is a most promising sign. Our temples are thronged from early morning far into the night, by those intent upon redeeming their departed ancestors and helping to forge the link that will eventually bind the Gospel dispensations and bring together all things in Christ, both in heaven and on earth—a work peculiar to the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. What happiness awaits those devoted labourers in the House of the Lord, when they pass into the Spirit World and there receive a rapturous welcome from those for whom they have rendered this inestimable service!
--Heber J. Grant,
In James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (1965–75), 5:241
"The objective of family history work is to make the blessings of the temple available to all people, both living and dead. As we attend the temple and perform work for the dead, we accomplish a deep sense of alliance with God and a better understanding of his plan for the salvation of the human race. We learn to love our neighbors as ourselves. Truly there is no work equal to that done in the temple."
(Howard W. Hunter, "We Have a Work to Do," Ensign, Mar. 1995, 65
"We are responsible for the blessing, the eternal blessing, of all who have lived upon the earth, the uncounted unnumbered generations of men and women who have lived upon the earth, all who today live upon the earth, and all who will yet live upon the earth. How great is our responsibility. We must stand a little taller and work a little harder to accomplish it." Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 640
When I think of the love I feel for each member of our family, I sense, to a slight degree, the love that our Heavenly Father bears for His children. While the family is under attack throughout the world, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims, promotes, and protects the truth that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” and our vast family history efforts are but two evidences of how this Church brings hope and help to the sacred institution of the family. --Russell M. Nelson, Generations Linked in Love, April 2010.
Thanks to Linda Massey for the following quote:
What if, when you wake up tomorrow, you only have what you were grateful for today.
"The process of finding our ancestors one by one can be challenging but also exciting and rewarding. We often feel spiritual guidance as we go to the sources which identify them. Because this is a very spiritual work, we can expect help from the other side of the veil. We feel a pull from our relatives who are waiting for us to find them so their ordinance work can be done. This is a Christlike service because we are doing something for them that they cannot do for themselves."
President James E. Faust, "The Phenomenon That Is You," Ensign, November 2003, 55-56
“Every thought or word or act we direct at this sacred work is pleasing to the Lord. Every hour spent on genealogical research, however unproductive it appears, is worthwhile. It is pleasing to the Lord. It is our testimony to Him that we accept the doctrine of the resurrection and the plan of salvation. It draws us close to those who have gone before. It welds eternal links in family associations and draws us closer to Him who is our Lord.”
Elder Boyd K. Packer - The Holy Temple p. 255
"It is tremendously significant to me that this declaration, this repetition of the wondrous words of Malachi concerning the work for the dead was given to the boy Joseph four years before he was allowed to take the plates from the hill. It was given before he received either the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood, before he was baptized and well before the Church was organized. It says much concerning the priority of this work in the plan of the Lord."
Gordon B. Hinckley, Address given at the 100th anniversary of the Genealogical Society of Utah, 13 November 1994
When you were baptized, your ancestors looked down on you with hope. … They rejoiced to see one of their descendants make a covenant to find them. Their hearts are bound to you. Their hope is in your hands.”
~ Henry B. Eyring, Hearts Bound Together, Conference April 2005
"As far as I know, no other people on the face of the earth do the things that have been revealed unto this people in the house of the Lord. It requires unselfishness of a consummate kind to go to the house of the Lord, to act in behalf of someone you have never met, you've never known. . . . You go there in his or her behalf. But something will happen to you when you do that. I make you a promise that every time you go to the temple, you will leave a better man or woman than you were when you went inside the doors of the temple."
President Gordon B. Hinckley - From regional conference, St. George, Utah, Nov. 24, 2002
(Church News - July 2, 2005)
"We are a covenant-making people. These eternal blessings are for all who wish to worthily receive of them, both the living and the dead. In the mercy of God we are privileged to receive these blessings by proxy for our deceased ancestors who did not have this privilege in life. They, of course, may choose whether to accept these blessings. Our duty is to search out our forebears and give them the opportunity to accept and receive these blessings. As the Prophet Joseph Smith said, 'The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead.'" James E. Faust
"Eternity Lies before Us,"
April 1997 General Conference
“Often Church members suffer from a lack of perspective, perhaps understandably, as to the vastness and intensity of the Lord’s work in the spirit world. The scope is enormous! Demographers estimate that some sixty to seventy billion peple have lived on this planet thus far. Without diminishing in any way the importance of the absolutely vital and tandem work on this side of the veil, we do need a better grasp of ‘things as they really will be’ (Jacob 4:13). Otherwise, we can so easily come to regard family history as a quaint hobby and its resulting temple work as something we will get around to later.
“Not only does the word vastness characterize the work there, but so does intensity.”
Neal A. Maxwell – book: The Promise of Discipleship (2001) – p. 105
"Now let me say something to all who can worthily go to the house of the Lord. When you attend the temple and perform the ordinances that pertain to the house of the Lord, certain blessings will come to you: You will receive the spirit of Elijah, which will turn your hearts to your spouse, to your children, and to your forebears. You will love your family with a deeper love than you have loved before. You will be endowed with power from on high as the Lord has promised." Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 254
"Another most significant way to enhance your capacity to understand and live eternal truth is through temple worship. Only by receiving the fullness of temple ordinances and living the covenants made there can you enter into the highest degree of glory and receive the greatest measure of happiness eternally. Temple attendance has a calming, settling, consoling influence that distills peace and contentment. The accompanying family history work to identify ancestors to receive those ordinances yields similar blessings."
Richard G. Scott
BYU Education Week, 19 August 1997
“But how are they to become saviors on Mount Zion? By building their temples, erecting their baptismal fonts, and going forth and receiving all the ordinances, baptisms, confirmations, washings, anointings, ordinations and sealing powers upon their heads, in behalf of all their progenitors who are dead, and redeem them that they may come forth in the first resurrection and be exalted to thrones of glory with them."
Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 6:184; see also Obadiah 1:21.
The work of seeking out our dead and ensuring that the ordinances of exaltation are performed in their behalf is a mandate from our Heavenly Father and his Beloved Son. They do not leave us to struggle alone but rather, in ways which are sometimes dramatic, prepare the way and answer our prayers.
~ Thomas S. Monson, Happy Birthday, Ensign, Mar. 1995, 58).
"As we learn to be loving, caring families in mortality, our hearts will naturally turn to members of our kindred family in the spirit world. As they continue to live beyond the veil, they wait—they wait for us, their family, to share the blessings of the ordinances of the priesthood. They yearn to belong to the eternal family circle. They are anxious for us to make this possible. Are we not compelled to do so?" J. Richard Clarke, Our Kindred Family--Expression of Eternal Love
“If we do not value our priesthood and the work of this priesthood, the building up of the kingdom of God, the rearing of temples, the redeeming of our dead, and the carrying out of the great work unto which we have been ordained by the God of Israel – if we do not feel that these things are more valuable to us than the things of the world, we will have no oil in our lamps and we shall fail to be present at the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
(Wilford Woodruff: JD 27:208)
"There is something powerful in searching out someone who needs temple ordinances, learning who they are, and then being part of their receiving these sacred ordinances. This is how you become “saviors on Mount Zion.” There is a joy and satisfaction that is only understood through spiritual feelings. We are linked to them forever."—Neil L. Andersen, "Find Our Cousins!"
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.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, March 1995
The Spirit of Elijah is “a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family. ~ Russell M. Nelson, A New Harvest Time, Ensign, May 1998, 34
"Make covenants and receive ordinances for yourself. Then steadily and consistently work to provide ordinances in the temple for your own ancestors." —Richard G. Scott, "Personal Strength through the Atonement of Jesus Christ
"So often we think of our responsibility to do something for those who have gone before. We need to understand that probably one of the most important benefits of preserving our heritage is what it does for us today. If we want our problems to be solved, one of the surest ways of doing that is to search for our past, for therein we receive strength, guidance, and understanding. All of you here today are giving an added eternal dimension to your lives as you learn and study the past. We can receive strength and help from those who have gone on before. To raise our families today, we need to do family research and genealogy."
--Elder John H. Groberg, 2002
“I wish you to understand this subject, for it is important; and if you will receive it, this is the spirit of Elijah, that we redeem our dead, and connect ourselves with our fathers which are in heaven, and seal up our dead to come forth in the first resurrection; and here we want the power of Elijah to seal those who dwell on earth to those who dwell in heaven. This is the power of Elijah and the keys of the kingdom of Jehovah” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 6:252
“There somehow seems to be the feeling that genealogical work is an all-or-nothing responsibility. Genealogical work is another responsibility for every Latter-day Saint, and we may do it successfully along with all the other callings and responsibilities that rest upon us…You can fulfill your obligations to your kindred dead and to the Lord without forsaking your other Church callings. You can do it without abandoning your family responsibilities. You can do this work. You can do it without becoming a so called expert in it.”-- Elder Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Jan 1977, 8