In his inspired and very skilful way, our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has created the First Presidency message in this month's Ensign and Liahona magazines titled “Hastening the Work.” The message explains how the missionary, genealogy and temple work of the Lord has sped up over time.
While preparing to share the message with my home teaching families, one thing which caught my attention is he explains in basic terms his Swedish ancestors and their names on the Monson line. The "son" at the end of the Monson name denotes that these ancestors took on the first name of the ancestor's father. This was a typical pattern in the day to show the surname that way.
He quotes the Prophet Brigham Young, the second president of the LDS Church, sharing that "Every good Latter-day Saint in the spirit world is busy" and adding "They are preaching, preaching all the time and preparing the way for us to hasten our work in building temples here and elsewhere."
President Monson wrote, "I think the first thing we must do if we are to perform our work well is to have the Spirit of our Heavenly Father with us. ... He will open the way for the fulfillment of the blessings that so earnestly and diligently we seek."
Our family has learned how helpful prayer is in bringing down those roadblocks in researching and discovering our earlier ancestors. This becomes a great help as we continue the research and processing of our family names. How wonderful of an experience it is to have family names researched or research them yourself and do the ordinances for our deceased ancestors in the temples.
There are interface computer programs available to help you process found names of your ancestors, such as FamilySearch, Roots Magic, Legacy and others. This is one thing which has accelerated the genealogy and temple work.
With the youths and their natural talent toward computerization, we are seeing this acceleration coming to pass in this work at an unprecedented speed. I think of the talk in general conference titled "Roots and Branches" given by Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve. He explains that some youths on Sundays, and other occasions, process and find family names for temple ordinance work done by their loved ones and relatives. This is something we do in our family. We love sharing our names with other relatives and friends in the ward and the stake.
It is amazing to see the marvelous blessings that come to those who help with the temple work for our ancestors. We have seen cases of healing, protection and other blessings in the lives of those who help us in this great work. Time will not allow a full run-down of those blessings from doing this work, but suffice it to say, they are powerful and unique, and nothing short of miraculous.
The RootsTech conference last February, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve showed the youths how their talent of digitization and computerization can help bless the lives of so many others inside their families. They seek out their kindred in the records and processing the names into the family file cards for temple ordinance work. Elder Andersen's challenge to the youths is to "Prepare as many names for the temple as you perform baptisms in the temple."
Perhaps you do not have access to family names of your own, or someone in your ward or branch who may have some. You do not have to have a lot of names to do this work. It starts out with one name, right?
Is it not true that the LDS Church started out with six members in 1830? Call on your ward family history consultant to help you get registered on FamilySearch.org or started in doing this. Perhaps you can help someone in your ward or stake who does have names by taking their cards to the temple and performing the temple work for them.
If you haven't already, sign up for FamilySearch.org and take a look at the Family Tree feature to build your tree with stories, photos and names of your ancestors and processing family file cards to take to the temple.
With many helping hands and hearts, this work will hasten even more. So, dive in. Do something, and become a part of this great and marvelous work in the way that works best for the Lord. Work where He needs you most.
As the Hymn No. 252 in LDS Church's hymnal states in “Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel,” “Push every worthy work along ...”
Genealogy graduate Russell Bangerter is president of Ancestral Connections, Inc., at ancestralconnect.com. He is a professional genealogist, author and speaker; and adviser to Treasured Souls to Keep, at treasuredsoulstokeep.com.