Each person who listens to General Conference has the opportunity to listen to the messages prepared and have different messages speak to their hearts. This most recent General Conference, one of the central themes that stuck out to me was the importance of doing family history work, so I wanted to take some time to collect what was said for my personal edification and thought I would share it with you all here as well!
Saturday Afternoon Session
"Young Women In The Work" by Bonnie L. Oscarson
Sister Oscarson mentioned family history work as one of many areas that young women can be involved in in contributing to their wards and families. She noted the example of
"several young women in the Las Vegas area who have been called to serve as ward temple and family history consultants. They were glowing with enthusiasm about being able to teach and help members of their ward find their ancestors. They had valuable skills on the computer, had learned how to use FamilySearch, and were excited to share that knowledge with others. It was clear that they had testimonies and an understanding of the importance of seeking out the names of our deceased ancestors so that essential saving ordinances can be performed for them in the temple."
Read the full talk here.
Family History and Temple Work: Sealing and Healing by Elder Dale G. Renlund
Elder Renlund shared an example of the healing power of family history as he told the story of brothers Orson and Parley Pratt--brothers who had had a falling out and were then able to reconcile following the softening of hearts brought about by family history. Elder Renlund shares:
"When God directs us to do one thing, He often has many purposes in mind. Family history and temple work is not only for the dead but blesses the living as well. For Orson and Parley, it turned their hearts to each other. Family history and temple work provided the power to heal that which needed healing."
"As Church members, we do have a divinely appointed responsibility to seek out our ancestors and compile family histories. This is far more than an encouraged hobby, because the ordinances of salvation are necessary for all of God’s children."
He then goes on to provide a bulleted list of healing blessings we gain access to by participating in family history and temple work. "
- Increased understanding of the Savior and His atoning sacrifice;
- Increased influence of the Holy Ghost7 to feel strength and direction for our own lives;
- Increased faith, so that conversion to the Savior becomes deep and abiding;
- Increased ability and motivation to learn and repent8 because of an understanding of who we are, where we come from, and a clearer vision of where we are going;
- Increased refining, sanctifying, and moderating influences in our hearts;
- Increased joy through an increased ability to feel the love of the Lord;
- Increased family blessings, no matter our current, past, or future family situation or how imperfect our family tree may be;
- Increased love and appreciation for ancestors and living relatives, so we no longer feel alone;
- Increased power to discern that which needs healing and thus, with the Lord’s help, serve others;
- Increased protection from temptations and the intensifying influence of the adversary; and
- Increased assistance to mend troubled, broken, or anxious hearts and make the wounded whole.9"
After sharing the story of a heart transplant recipient, Rod, with his donor family and the blessings experienced there, he reminds us of the words of President Russell M. Nelson.
"We can be inspired all day long about temple and family history experiences others have had. But we must do something to actually experience the joy ourselves...I invite you to prayerfully consider what kind of sacrifice—preferably a sacrifice of time—you can make [to] do more temple and family history work"
This talk was one of my personal favorites from this conference on family history, and I love the list of blessings he gives, as well as the reminder of the directive from President Nelson! Read the full talk here.
Sunday Morning Session
Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives by President Russel M. Nelson
Speaking of receiving revelation, President Nelson said:
"Oh, there is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, “To those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe!”13
Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon,14
and regular time committed to temple and family history work.
To be sure, there may be times when you feel as though the heavens are closed. But I promise that as you continue to be obedient, expressing gratitude for every blessing the Lord gives you, and as you patiently honor the Lord’s timetable, you will be given the knowledge and understanding you seek. Every blessing the Lord has for you—even miracles—will follow. That is what personal revelation will do for you." (Emphasis added)
Sunday Afternoon Session
Prepare to Meet God by Elder Quentin L. Cook
Speaking of the restoration of priesthood keys in the Kirtland temple, Elder Cook reminds us that Elijah restored the
keys of the sealing power in this dispensation, which is family history work and temple ordinances enabling salvation for the living and the dead.12".
He goes on to say:
"Family history work, heaven-blessed by technology, has dramatically increased in the past few years. We would be unwise to become complacent about this divinely appointed responsibility and expect that Aunt Jane or some other committed relative will take care of it. Let me share President Joseph Fielding Smith’s jarring comments: “None is exempt from this great obligation. It is required of the apostle as well as the humblest elder [or sister]. Place, or distinction, or long service in the Church … will not entitle one to disregard the salvation of one’s dead.”16
We now have temples across the world and the resources of the patron assistance fund to help those in need who are far from a temple.
As individuals, we would do well to evaluate our effort in pursuing missionary work, temple and family history work, and preparations to meet God."
Read the full talk here.
Let Us All Press On by President Russell M. Nelson
While not overtly referencing family history as the previous talks have done, I thought that President Nelson's parting words deserved a place here as well. He admonished:
"I exhort you to study the messages of this conference frequently—even repeatedly—during the next six months. Conscientiously look for ways to incorporate these messages in your family home evenings, your gospel teaching, your conversations with family and friends, and even your discussions with those not of our faith. Many good people will respond to the truths taught in this conference when offered in love. And your desire to obey will be enhanced as you remember and reflect upon what you have felt these past two days."
Then later continued:
"Our message to the world is simple and sincere: we invite all of God’s children on both sides of the veil to come unto their Savior, receive the blessings of the holy temple, have enduring joy, and qualify for eternal life.2"
Read the full talk here.
I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to have guidance and direction from living prophets and look forward to studying their messages in the coming months? What were your favorite quotes from General Conference? Share them in the comments below!
Also, if you're a visual person and think that having a visual representation of your family history would help motivate you, come check out our modern family tree charts and preview your personal family history in the template of your choice for free!
*For those of you who aren't familiar with LDS General Conference, it is an opportunity for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (and anyone else who would like to participate!) world-wide to hear inspiring messages and direction from our living prophets and apostles.You can watch and read sessions of General Conference at lds.org.