Tuesday, May 6, 2014

First Presidncy And Apostles Encourage Youth To Become Involved In Family History


Recently, as can be seen from the documents below, the First Presidency and members of the Twelve have encouraged the youth to become more involved in Family History and Temple work.  If you continue to the bottom of this article you will discover that back in the 1970s and even in the 1940s this was being encouraged.   It is not a new idea, but it does appear to be a significant new emphasis.  I wholeheartedly encourage the youth and young adults to give this counsel serious and prayerful consideration, then get up and do something about it!

First Presidency (2012): [Note the second paragraph.]

Elder Bednar (2011):

An Invitation to the Rising Generation

I now invite the attention of the young women, young men, and children of the rising generation as I emphasize the importance of the Spirit of Elijah in your lives today. My message is intended for the entire Church in general—but for you in particular.

Many of you may think family history work is to be performed primarily by older people. But I know of no age limit described in the scriptures or guidelines announced by Church leaders restricting this important service to mature adults. You are sons and daughters of God, children of the covenant, and builders of the kingdom. You need not wait until you reach an arbitrary age to fulfill your responsibility to assist in the work of salvation for the human family.

The Lord has made available in our day remarkable resources that enable you to learn about and love this work that is sparked by the Spirit of Elijah. For example, FamilySearch is a collection of records, resources, and services easily accessible with personal computers and a variety of handheld devices, designed to help people discover and document their family history. These resources also are available in the family history centers located in many of our Church buildings throughout the world.

It is no coincidence that FamilySearch and other tools have come forth at a time when young people are so familiar with a wide range of information and communication technologies. Your fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord—not just to communicate quickly with your friends. The skills and aptitude evident among many young people today are a preparation to contribute to the work of salvation.

I invite the young people of the Church to learn about and experience the Spirit of Elijah. I encourage you to study, to search out your ancestors, and to prepare yourselves to perform proxy baptisms in the house of the Lord for your kindred dead (see D&C 124:28–36). And I urge you to help other people identify their family histories.

As you respond in faith to this invitation, your hearts shall turn to the fathers. The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be implanted in your hearts. Your patriarchal blessing, with its declaration of lineage, will link you to these fathers and be more meaningful to you. Your love and gratitude for your ancestors will increase. Your testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. And I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives.

Parents and leaders, please help your children and youth to learn about and experience the Spirit of Elijah. But do not overly program this endeavor or provide too much detailed information or training. Invite young people to explore, to experiment, and to learn for themselves (see Joseph Smith—History 1:20). Any young person can do what I am suggesting, using the modules available at lds.org/familyhistoryyouth. Aaronic Priesthood quorum and Young Women class presidencies can play an important role in helping all youth become acquainted with these basic resources. Young people increasingly need to be learners who act and thereby receive additional light and knowledge by the power of the Holy Ghost—and not merely passive students who primarily are acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:26).

Parents and leaders, you will stand all amazed at how rapidly your children and the youth of the Church become highly skilled with these tools. In fact, you will learn valuable lessons from these young people about effectively using these resources. The youth can offer much to older individuals who are uncomfortable with or intimidated by technology or are unfamiliar with FamilySearch. You also will count your many blessings as young people devote more time to family history work and temple service and less time to video games, surfing the Internet, and Facebooking.


My beloved young brothers and sisters, family history is not simply an interesting program or activity sponsored by the Church; rather, it is a vital part of the work of salvation and exaltation. You have been prepared for this day and to build up the kingdom of God. You are here upon the earth now to assist in this glorious work.

I testify Elijah returned to the earth and restored the sacred sealing authority. I witness that what is bound on earth can be bound in heaven. And I know the youth of the rising generation have a key role to play in this great endeavor. I so testify in the sacred name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

David A. Bednar, “The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn,” Ensign (November 2011): 24-27.

Elder Andersen (2014):

A Challenge to Set a Personal Goal

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was the featured speaker at the youth devotional, telling attendees that while youths in the church today have become extremely devoted in performing proxy baptisms in LDS temples, “in the months and years ahead you will be just as outstanding in finding and bringing names to the temple with you.”

He asked those who had ever participated in a temple baptism to stand. Virtually everyone in the congregation did.

He then asked them to stay standing if they had participated in a temple baptism for an ancestor, and finally, to remain standing if they had submitted more names of ancestors for baptisms than they had personally performed in the temple. Only a smattering remained standing after the last question.

“I believe that in three years almost everyone will be standing,” Elder Andersen said. “I want to challenge each of you to set a personal goal to help prepare as many names for the temple as baptisms you perform in the temple.”

R. Scott Lloyd, “‘Find our cousins,’ Elder Neil L. Andersen urges youth at RootsTech conference,” Church News, 9 February 2014.

Elder Cook (2014):

Clarion Call to the Rising Generation

The leadership of the Church has issued a clarion call to the rising generation to lead the way in the use of technology to experience the spirit of Elijah, to search out their ancestors, and to perform temple ordinances for them.  Much of the heavy lifting in hastening the work of salvation for both the living and the dead will be done by you young people.
If the youth in each ward will not only go to the temple and do baptisms for their dead but also work with their families and other ward members to provide the family names for the ordinance work they perform, both they and the Church will be greatly blessed. Don’t underestimate the influence of the deceased in assisting your efforts and the joy of ultimately meeting those you serve. The eternally significant blessing of uniting our own families is almost beyond comprehension.

Quentin L. Cook, “Roots and Branches,” Ensign 44 (May 2014): 46-47.

Elder Stapley (1972):

Youth Encouraged in Family History in 1972 Deacon Manual

There is a ground swell of interest in family exaltation developing among our church youth today.  A program inaugurated about a year ago to introduce family exaltation to the members of the Aaronic Priesthood is meeting with success.  This all helps to strengthen the program.  Deacons have a special role in family exaltation.  Each bishop has been directed to read the deacons handbook regarding his role in the area of priesthood responsibility.  Here are some titles of the lessons given in the 1972 deacons class:
  1. My Priesthood Records Show My Place in God’s Kingdom
  2. My Personal Record Sheet Will Serve As a Foundation for My Book of Remembrance
  3. As a Priesthood Bearer, I Have an Obligation to Preserve My Heritage of Righteousness for My Children
  4. I Must Seek the Best in My Family to Give My Best to Others
  5. To become like God, I Must Be Sealed to An Eternal Family
  6. When I Do My Part in making Exaltation Possible for My Forbears, I May Receive the Help of the Lord
Think how much your own effectiveness would have been enhanced if you had received your interest and knowledge in this vital subject at the time you were of that age.
The deacon has a special opportunity to learn about the family exaltation mission of the Church and has a part in it.  He can fill assignments in the following ways:
By giving attention to the instruction so that he will learn about the relationship between family exaltation and the priesthood and how this affects him personally.  That is, he is a product of generations past, and generations to come will be blessed by his faithful service.
By preparing and maintaining his personal record book which should include his own genealogical records and vital information about his own life.
By receiving instructions on the importance of the principle of performing temple work, including baptism for the dead for those who never had an opportunity to hear the gospel while in mortality.  Family goals are set for him and he actually begins to build his own family group sheet and this becomes a part of his over-all achievement record.

Stapley, Delbert L.  “Family Exaltation.”  In Seventh Annual Priesthood Genealogical Research Seminar, unpaged.  Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1972(?). 

Elder Widtsoe (1921):

Need People of All Ages

We need more workers to accomplish the wonderful work that was outlined last night at the reception given by the First Presidency. Even three companies a day in each temple will not be enough; we shall have to organize four, or five, and for all I know, the day may come, unless we build more temples, when we shall keep the temples open twenty-four hours a day. We need more converts to temple work, drawn from all ages, from the young, from the middle-aged, and from the rich and poor, from among the busy and those of leisure. The time has come, I verily believe, in this new temple movement, to bring into active service all the people, of all ages. From the children doing baptisms, to the aged grandparents doing endowments for the dead, all the members of the family, if we do our duty well, must be brought into the work. Temple work is quite of as much benefit to the young and the active, as it is to the aged, who have laid behind them many of the burdens of life. The young man needs his place in the temple even more than his father and his grandfather, who are steadied by a life of experience; and the young girl just entering life needs the spirit, influence and direction that comes from participation in the temple ordinances. If I say nothing else tonight that will linger, I hope you will remember that temple work is for the young and for the middle aged and for the aged for all and not for one specialized, separated class within the Church organization.

John A. Widtsoe, “Temple Worship,” The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 12 (April 1921): 51-52.

Elder Widtsoe (1943):

Perhaps They Need it the Most

It is sometimes thought that the work done in the temples is for the aged, and decrepit. Temple work is, primarily I was about to say, for those engaged in the active affairs of life, for those who are in the midst of life's battle, the young and the middle-aged. Perhaps they need it most. Certainly, it is quite as much for these as for those who seek refuge in their old age in the blessings of the temple. 

John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, (April 1943), p. 37.

Lets think together again,  soon.

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