It All Became Real


Friday, May 2, 5:30am.

I was standing in the warm water of the baptismal font, with my right arm raised to the square. My youngest son stood in front of me, holding my other arm, his hair wet from already having been baptized for eight of his ancestors.

The ninth name came up. It belonged to one of my great-great grandfathers. For some reason I froze. The simple words of the ordinance wouldn’t come. I began fighting back tears.

My son waited patiently, and the temple workers looked on with nothing but love and understanding on their faces, while I attempted to compose myself.

It was at that moment that my recent whirlwind of family history activity became something more than an exciting new experience, or an overdue acceptance of a duty. It became more than “cool.”

It became personal.

It became very real. The name on that paper represented a man who was one of my ancestors. He was once a living, breathing person who was born, worked, loved and died, without having received the authorized ordinance of baptism. Part of his very DNA exists in my body, and the body of my son.

But at that precise moment, my son and I were there to provide him with that opportunity – perhaps ending over a hundred years of waiting.

I found control, and my voice, and the words found their way through the tears.

It was so very real. Intimately real.

I can’t believe I waited this long to discover it – to feel it.

…for the prisoners shall go free. (D&C 128:22)

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  1. I was once told that whether or not someone accepts the work, they are required to be present to witness the work being done for them.

    A few years ago we had compiled a short list of names, 16 grandparents on my paternal side (2 of which I knew) and 4 of my EC’s grandparents (all of which she had the pleasure of growing up with). We took 4 of 5 FOML’s and one of their soon to be ECs to do this work.

    The only Polish that I know is “dziekuje” — thank you– I know no Russian or Czech. As a missionary and serving in the church in other countries (Europe and Asia) throughout my life, I am a firm believer in the gift of tongues when it is needed. Tears came to my eyes as the names of these not too distant ancestors started rolling off of my unpracticed tongue. The recorder made the comment afterwards that these must have been people that I knew very well. I just smiled, knowing that I had spent years trying to find them, had learned a great deal about them, and looked forward to someday meeting them.
    When we started doing my EC’s family, she started sobbing immediately while she waited to hand our son and daughter towels. Afterward she said she had never felt so close to her grandparents as she had that day. She knew that although they never accepted the restpred gospel in life, that they approved of the work that was being done for them.

    1. Just to be sure we are all on the same page….several Prophets have stated that a large percentage of those for whom the work is done do accept the Gospel but, there is no coercion in the Lord’s kingdom and I doubt the Lord would ‘require’ anyone to be present unless they want to be. We will always have our free agency.

  2. Oh MMM, you just have such a way. I could picture you and your son and I felt a little of how special it was. Tears were there, I’m sure. What a great experience – you are inspiring to many of us.

  3. Thanks for sharing so I could feel the spirit today.
    I marvel how the spirit testifies of truth even through someone’s
    words on a blog.

  4. Thanks for sharing. For me, the moment came during the confirmation or priesthood ordination. It came as a very strong desire to shout “holla loo yah”. Now that’s not something that would come from me, but it’s exactly what this ancestor that I was doing the work for would do–he was a Methodist revival minister who dedicated his life in the service of God. I love the stories behind these people and finding out who they really are.

  5. I was going through the temple for one of my ancestors. When I spoke her name at a certain part , I had to stop because of the overwhelming and distinct feeling I had that she was standing beside me. I will never forget that feeling.

  6. FINE!!!!!!!!!!! I will do my genealogy work. I know I need to, always have. I have been prompted. Often. But THIS!!!! Geee Wiz! How can I NOT now???

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. You have discovered the best part of doing family history work: What Elder Scott calls “Both halves of the blessing.” In doing the work to identify family names and then taking them to the temple to have the sacred ordinances performed, you (and each of us) can experience a true fullness of joy. Thanks for these wonderful posts.

  8. Wow! You have caught the vision….I began serving in the Baptistry in the San Diego Temple a number of years ago and it is one of my most favorite places to serve! I believe that many spiritual experiences take place in the Baptistry. Heavenly Father is so wise in His plans and designs. How else could He unite us with those individuals who paved the way for our earthly sojourn and keep us connected as a human family? I attended a Ward Temple Night Endowment Session a couple of years ago and as I was waiting for my husband to join me, I noticed nearly all of those attending that session had one of my Family File Cards in their hands. I sat in the back of the session and watched all those names receive their
    endowments. When I reached the Celestial Room, the feeling was indescribable….and I know one day I will see all those people again and our reunion will be sweet indeed…..

  9. All your posts lately about family history have really inspired me in my new calling- ward youth family history consultant. Thanks so much for the heart felt posts.

  10. My husband and I felt the same way when we were finally able to take his Grampa and Gramma’s names to the temple. In doing the research for them, we were surprised to learn that they had been married on the same day as we were, only 60 years earlier, and in the same town! It was even more special because we had our 12 yr old daughter with us, and were able to have her do some other family names. Such a wonderful spirit was felt that evening!

  11. Thank you – before I read your post, I was sitting in the chapel watching the satellite transmission of the Ft. Lauderdale Temple Dedication. Almost all of my genealogy is done as far as I can but I have one remaining to do – Rosana – no last name because she was Cherokee. All of a sudden I had the strong feeling to get hers done! Your post and that spirit-filled moment mean I have to go to the Temple right away! Thank you again and you deserve the very sacred blessing you received.

  12. What an intimate moment, nothing, no one can understand how YOU felt at that moment, even I dare say, those who have experienced the same thing. We can understand those feelings, but that intensity of the Spirit’s whispers at that precise moment are sacredly personal and intimate. I’m so grateful for the deep abiding knowledge that I am a daughter of God, and He knows me much better than I could possibly know myself. You are a son of God, with those same privileges. He does not discriminate, He gives to each of His children what each one needs at the precise moment that child needs.

    Thank you for sharing this sweet personal moment you had with your Earthly family.

    1. Save you names? Sure – but I’m taking you to the temple with me to get some baptisms done first.

      1. 3M, the post from FOML1 is almost better than the experience you shared. What a great young man you and your EC have raised. WIsh him success from your blogger friends and tell him he’s in our prayers.

        1. FOML 1 is a daughter, and she is amazing. A perfect example of a child exceeding her parents.

  13. I enjoy reading your blog and the insights that you share. I have been a long-time addict of family history (well, as long as anyone in their 20s can be) and it has been a joy over the last few weeks to see it work its magic on you.

  14. Can’t wait for my turn in a couple of weeks to do work for family members I have found! I’ve never had the opportunity to do ordinances for members of my own family before, but I hope that I can extend the lines back further through research and make a habit of it.

  15. I remember hearing all the stories about how great family history was, but I didn’t really get it until college. I was studying abroad in London and looking for a specific name that had always eluded us. And one day at the family history library, there she was on the microfiche! It was exciting! I’d found her, and now we could keep going. The thrill of seeing family headstones in Wisconsin cemeteries happened a few years later. This is one work that’s hard to get excited about by proxy. 🙂 You’ve got to go do it yourself to see how amazing it really is.

  16. I shall your joy, elation and goosebumps. It IS so very real. I have had those moments – the most sacred one was in a sealing room in Bountiful. I won’t share. They who wait, know what they are gaining and are grateful.

  17. Such moments of profound joy and connectedness exemplify the purpose and meaning of temples, and of ordinances covenants. What a wonderful, well-deserved blessing you experienced!

  18. Last night I received a gentle prompting from the spirit to get busy with my family history. I am the only LDS in my entire family, save my children. Thank you for the confirmation of my special blessing, and duty to my lineage. You’re awesome by the way!

  19. I thought I would have the same great experience with my 6th great grandmother’s baptism but I didn’t…it happened at her confirmation a few minutes later when the words “I confirm you a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” were pronounced. There was an outpouring of joy in the room that was not coming from me. I am now connected to her in a special way that I can’t quite explain and I can’t wait to meet her in the future! Everyone come join in the amazing-ness of family history!! What the prophets say is true!

  20. Thank you so much for posting a power testimony of family history work. Want to hear a neat quote my parents shared with me? “When our youth do baptisms using temple names, there are smiles. When they perform these ordinances for the family members they have found, there are tears.”

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