I knew something was wrong. My cellphone had been buzzing nonstop during my late Monday afternoon meetings. When I finally had a chance to return the call, I found it was Mark McOmber, our ward mission leader.
Why was he so anxious? Was there an emergency? Was someone in our ward hurt? I hoped it was good news — maybe a baptism needed to be scheduled in the ward.
Mark’s voice was tense and edgy. “Thanks a lot,” he began sarcastically.
My heart began to thump loudly. What had I done wrong?
“You know that lesson you taught the young men yesterday?” he asked.
My mind raced back to the day before, trying to recall anything offensive I might have said during my lesson on the new "My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together" booklet and the new familysearch.org website. My goal was to try to convince the young men they could do family history work just as well as their parents and grandparents, if not better. And that they would enjoy it and receive spiritual protection as promised by Elder David A. Bednar in his October 2011 general conference address.
“You mean the lesson on family history?” I asked hesitatingly.
Mark had two sons who attended the lesson — Bryan, a priest, and Colton, a newly ordained deacon in our ward. I could not think of an offensive remark I may have made. Overall, I felt the lesson went well, but there were enough blank stares and sleepy eyes to make me wonder if I had just wasted 45 minutes of everyone’s lives.
“Yes,” he retorted. “My son Colton came home from church that day and spent the afternoon on familysearch.org. I have been told for years that all of the temple work for my ancestors is finished, but he immediately found five names with uncompleted ordinances. The website then required Colton to get permission to do the ordinances from the closest living relative of that person.”
Mark paused for effect and I wondered where this was going. Why was he so mad? Did his son figure out a way to override reserved names or crash the system?
Then he continued, “The closest living relative happened to be Colton’s grandmother, who was happy he was doing family history work and readily gave him permission. After that he found so many names it was hard to keep track. By Monday afternoon we counted that Colton had found more than 50 names, which totaled more than 130 temple ordinances that needed to be done.” Comment on this story
Now I was really confused. Was this not a good thing?
“Scott, I’m very busy. How am I ever going to have time to do all of this temple work?” Then he burst out laughing. “Nice job on the lesson.”
I smiled. “Nice job on the booklet and new website,” I thought.
Scott practices bankruptcy law with Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP in Phoenix.