HYRUM, Cache County — In late 2013, Bishop Mark Stevenson issued a challenge to the youths of the Hyrum 12th Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to find and gather the names of their ancestors to take to the temple. Their deadline was March 15, 2014. Following are the stories of two youths who took the challenge to heart.
The Heaton family decided Bishop Stevenon’s challenge was one they all wanted to participate in. They invited family history consultants George and Ruth Castleton over for a family home evening. The Castletons taught the Heatons how to locate individuals who needed their temple work done. Sam Heaton, a deacon, caught on quickly. While his parents received extra guidance from the Castletons on one computer, Sam decided to branch out on his own. He logged onto the laptop and found a family of seven, many generations back, who needed to be sealed together.
When Sam interrupted the adults to tell them his good news, his mom was a little dubious over his find. Sam had searched through her ancestors, on a family line she was sure had been completed. However, the Castletons verified that Sam’s find was legitimate. Not only was Sam happy about his discovery, but he was hooked on family history.
Less than two months has passed since that family home evening. Sam has found 24 individuals who need their temple work done. He has experienced joy and excitement in searching out his ancestors. Sam thinks it is cool to attend the temple and be baptized not only for his own ancestors, but especially for those who he personally found. His discoveries have helped him find greater joy in attending the temple as well as in his own life.
After the bishop’s challenge, the Beehives and Mia Maids of the Hyrum 12th Ward decided to visit the Logan Tabernacle’s FamilySearch center. They asked Ruth Castleton to meet them there and teach the basics of family history.
Teean Drollinger, a Beehive, is a tech-savvy teenager. She felt comfortable on the computer and, after watching a video and listening to Castleton explain how to find names, started searching through her ancestors. By the end of the night, she had discovered 30 individuals who needed temple work done.
Teean was surprised by some of the names she found because her grandfather is a family history buff, and she had assumed he had completed everything. However, she learned that family history is a work that requires the efforts of many. In a visit with her grandfather, the two were able to talk about their hobbies in family history. Not only has family history helped Teean grow closer to those ancestors she never knew, but it has also helped strengthen her relationship with her grandfather.
Before, Teean had thought family history difficult and a little boring. But with each name she found, her excitement over her discoveries grew. She now views family history as fun and exciting. Teean thinks searching out her own ancestors and doing their work is a wonderful opportunity and is excited to meet those individuals one day, knowing she has helped their progression.
Sam and Teean are just two examples of the youth in the Hyrum 12th Ward who have experienced joy as their hearts have turned to their fathers through family history. They have used their familiarity with technology as a tool for good that has brought happiness into their lives and those of their ancestors.
Elizabeth Reid has bachelor degrees in economics and history. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education and business fields. Her favorite occupation is that of wife and mother. She blogs at gelatoandchocolate.blogspot.com.