Making Connections – Family History
1. Write down a gospel principle that they recently learned from a parent, sibling, or other family member.
2. Write down any experiences you have had doing family history work (such as being baptized for an ancestor, participating in indexing, or preparing the name of an ancestor for temple ordinances).
3. Why does Heavenly Father want us to do family history work?
We did exactly as the lesson asked us to do with the Richard G. Scott part. I gave each kid a copy of the last few paragraphs of his talk:
The Joy of Redeeming the Dead
“Any work you do in the temple is time well spent, but receiving ordinances vicariously for one of your own ancestors will make the time in the temple more sacred, and even greater blessings will be received. The First Presidency has declared, 'Our preeminent obligation is to seek out and identify our own ancestors.'
“Do you young people want a sure way to eliminate the influence of the adversary in your life? Immerse yourself in searching for your ancestors, prepare their names for the sacred vicarious ordinances available in the temple, and then go to the temple to stand as proxy for them to receive the ordinances of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. As you grow older, you will be able to participate in receiving the other ordinances as well. I can think of no greater protection from the influence of the adversary in your life.
“In the Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission the youth were invited to each index 2,000 names and then qualify at least one name from their own families for temple ordinances. Those who accomplished this goal were invited to go on a long journey to the new Kyiv Ukraine Temple. One young man shared his experience: 'I was spending a lot of time playing computer games. When I started indexing, I didn’t have time to play games. At first I thought, “Oh no! How can that be!” When this project was over, I even lost interest in gaming. … Genealogical work is something that we can do here on earth, and it will remain in heaven.'”
– Elder Richard G. Scott, “The Joy of Redeeming the Dead,” October 2012 General Conference
I have all of these images in this file, and I think I printed them out and put them in a grab bag. Then I had each kid draw a picture out of there, and I had two areas on the ground in front of them with stand-up cards labeled "Important" and "Not Important." I had each kid say what the picture showed and put it in the pile. It seems like a dumb activity, but it helped to kind of get them moving and not so sedate, and they actually really liked it. Here are the images (I feel like I had a ton more, but they aren't in my file. Just google stuff that you think isn't worthwhile and then google family history stuff and print those images out so that each of your students gets something out of the grab bag):
Then we did exactly what the lesson suggested on the Redeeming the Dead and Your Responsibilities part. Here are my sheeties for that:
Redeeming the Dead
Many of Heavenly Father’s children have died without having the opportunity to receive the fulness of the gospel. In His mercy and infinite love, the Lord has prepared a way for them to gain a testimony of the gospel and receive the saving ordinances of the priesthood.
In the spirit world, the gospel is “preached to those who [have] died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets. These [are] taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and all other principles of the gospel that [are] necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit” (D&C 138:32–34).
Many in the spirit world embrace the gospel. However, they cannot receive priesthood ordinances for themselves because they do not have physical bodies. In holy temples, we have the privilege of receiving ordinances in their behalf. These ordinances include baptism, confirmation, Melchizedek Priesthood ordination (for men), the endowment, the marriage sealing, and the sealing of children to parents. The Lord revealed this work to the Prophet Joseph Smith, restoring a practice that had been revealed to Christians shortly after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 15:29).
As you receive priesthood ordinances in behalf of those who have died, you become a savior on Mount Zion for them (see Obadiah 1:21). Your effort approaches the spirit of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice—you perform a saving work for others that they cannot do for themselves.
Your Responsibilities in Family History Work
In family history work, you have three basic responsibilities:
1. Receive the temple ordinances for yourself and help immediate family members receive them.
2. Hold a current temple recommend and attend the temple as frequently as circumstances allow.
3. Gather family history information so you can help your ancestors receive the blessings of the temple.
You can participate in temple and family history work, at least to some extent, regardless of where you live or what your circumstances are. While you probably will not be able to do everything, you can do something. The following ideas may help you get started:
• Record important details about your own life. Record your birth date and birthplace and the dates of your baptism and confirmation. Keep a personal journal to record the highlights of your life, including personal experiences that will strengthen the faith of your children and other future generations.
• Learn about your ancestors. Begin by recording information from your memory and from accessible sources at home. Record the vital information you accurately remember or can find about siblings, parents, uncles and aunts, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Where possible, obtain copies of certificates or other documents that include this information. As you gather more information, you may want to search in other locations, such as public records. The local ward or branch may have a family history consultant who can help you. You may also want to visit the Church’s official Web site for family history, www.familysearch.org.
• As you identify your ancestors, use pedigree charts and family group forms to record the information you find. These forms are available on paper and also in Church-produced software programs, such as Personal Ancestral File.
When you have gathered the necessary information about your ancestors who have died without receiving the gospel, ensure that temple work is performed for them. Even if you do not live near enough to a temple for you and your family members to be able to do the ordinance work, you can submit ancestors’ names to a temple so others can do the work for them. You may be able to visit a nearby family history center or consult with local ward or branch family history consultants to see how to do this.
The Prophet Joseph Smith declared that there are “principles in relation to the dead and the living that cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation. For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation, as . . .they without us cannot be made perfect—neither can we without our dead be made perfect” (D&C 128:15). Through your participation in family history work, you and your ancestors progress toward salvation.
Then we watched the Elder Bednar video and I had the kids jot down their ideas on this worksheet as we watched:
Why Family History Is Important