Family history work is fundamental to protecting the sacredness of the institution of the family, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said during the Sunday afternoon session of conference.
"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," he said. "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."
God loves all of His children and each one can receive the blessings of the Atonement if they obey the eternal laws and commandments. God provided a way for those who die without the gospel to be part of an eternal family and instituted the ordinance of baptism for the dead before the world began, he said.
A natural desire to learn about ancestors dwells in everyone's heart, regardless of age.
"When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us," Elder Nelson said. "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."
The Church has built temples closer to the people and family history is advancing quickly. In the October 2005 conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of the duplication of proxy work, but announced a new technology that would help solve that problem, a system called the "New FamilySearch." This also enables any member of the Church to participate in family history and temple work.
"No matter your situation, you can make family history a part of your life right now," Elder Nelson said. "Primary children can draw a family tree. Youth can participate in proxy baptisms ... Worthy adult members can hold a temple recommend and perform temple ordinances for their own kin."
The New FamilySearch system helps members find their ancestors, decide what ordinances to do and prepare the names for the temple. It's accessible wherever the Internet is available and about 60,000 history consultants serve throughout the world who can assist those who need help.Comment on this story
The new system reveals errors needing correction and members may be frustrated as they work through these challenges, but the Church understands these concerns. "The Church, under the inspired leadership of President Thomas S. Monson, is working diligently to assist you in solving these problems," he said. "Together we are striving to organize the family tree for all of God's children. This is an enormous endeavor with enormous rewards."
"While temple and family history work has the power to bless those beyond the veil, it has an equal power to bless the living," Elder Nelson emphasized. "It has a refining influence on those who are engaged in it. They are literally helping to exalt their families."
To watch this talk on video go to ksl.com.