Often before the sun peers over the Eastern horizon, I lay quietly in my bed listening for the whisperings of the Spirit as I contemplate my day; specifically, what the Lord would have me do that day.
This is not me going over my long “to do” list, but a space set aside for receiving quiet instruction. I often keep pen and paper close at hand. I believe capturing my impressions and inspiration (the thoughts that come to me) help me to remember and organize them. I also believe that as I listen with the intention of acting upon what is given, I will receive more. I do not deem myself an expert at understanding these impressions and instructions. Like most of us, I am a work in progress and continue to learn how to hear Him and prioritize those things I’ve been given.
President Russell M. Nelson promises “that as you increase your time in temple and family history work, you will increase and improve your ability to hear Him.”1 This promise is the focus of the 2021 theme for Family History in the Church, “Hear Him Through Temple and Family History Work”.
“Promises from the Lord through living prophets give us the assurance,” Elder Dale G. Renlund noted, “that if we increase our personal time in Temple and Family History work and help others do the same through our callings in the Church, we will increase and improve our ability to hear Him. This is a spiritual work, a work that relies on and fosters revelation.”2
For many years my mind has been quite occupied with doing Family History on a daily basis. Since many of my callings in the Church and life’s work have revolved around family history, I can testify President Nelson’s promise is true. Drawing closer to those who reside on the other side of the veil has given me a greater desire to strive to hear the whisperings of the Spirit. This has been made evident as I have recorded my early morning impressions and aided friends & family in discovering, gathering, and sealing their ancestors in the temple.
Stories of Connection
Wilma and Harry
Wilma & Harry were my neighbors for many years. They were not members of the Church, yet welcomed my help searching for their ancestors. While doing research, I felt the presence of one of Harry’s progenitors. He kept pacing behind me every time I was on my computer. Sometimes I know who the spirits are that come to me or at least know whose family they are from.
When I told Wilma and Harry about my experience and stated that I knew it was Harry’s grandfather, they laughed. Remarkably, they believed me. Wilma said, “If you knew him, you would know why he is pacing.” She and Harry indicated he was not the most patient person. When I explained we sealed families in our temples and told them of my great desire to have the work done for him and all their ancestors, they happily said yes.
My Sister-in-law, Liz, is a convert to the Church and not all that interested in Family History; yet, she is one of the most dutiful people I know. So, she asked me to help her. Liz was able to take many of her ancestors to the temple after we researched her family lines. Yet, several months later, every time my fingers touched the keyboard, I could feel her people gathered around me.
When I told Liz, she was happy they congregated at my house and not hers! I explained I was not certain why. I wanted to understand why they were anxiously assembled by me every time I was on my computer. My striving led me to hear Him more clearly and guide me to two babies unknown to the family. After those discoveries, I no longer felt them closely gathered around me.
Recording Inspiration Leads to An Invitation to Hear Him
Early in January of this year in the morning light as I contemplated our ward’s family history goals and how to engage our members in this “greatest” work, I considered the idea of a 21-day challenge leading up to RootsTech. Yet, I hesitated. The Lord usually extends an invitation, not a challenge. The words 21 Days – An Invitation of Intention to Discover, Gather & Connect to Your Family came clearly in my mind. The purpose would be to help our ward members better develop their ability to “Hear Him” and lay a spiritual foundation for temple and family history work in the 1st quarter of the year. (I quickly captured these thoughts on my writing tablet I keep by my bedside; so I wouldn’t lose the ideas as quickly as they arrived.)
Others ideas came to my mind about how we, the North Carolina Morehead City Ward’s Temple & Family History Committee, could implement the 21 Days – An Invitation of Intention to Hear Him. Developing inspiring, yet simple memes and activities which could encourage members to share their knowledge, memories, and love for their family with intention, would help them turn toward their families. Seeing increased family history activity in our ward, culminating in Temple attendance by the end of the year (cross your fingers the temples will all be open!) would determine the success.
Our hope for all who would choose to participate was to:
Draw closer to the Savior
Discover-gather-connect with their family
Bring the Spirit of Elijah into their soul, heart, and home
Protect themselves and their families
With only five memes and their corresponding quotes and activities finished, the Bishopric announced it in Sacrament meeting, encouraging the Ward members to participate. The next day the Bishopric emailed the first of the 21 Days and I posted it in our Ward Facebook group.
The following week was Fast and Testimony meeting. My heart was filled with gratitude as half of those who bore their testimonies stated how this beautiful Invitation of Intention to Hear Him through Temple and Family History Work was affecting their lives by creating a desire to learn about their ancestors and do their temple work.
Elder Renlund is correct, “It is a spiritual work, a work that relies on and fosters revelation”; and President Nelson’s promise “that as you increase your time in temple and family history work, you will increase and improve your ability to hear Him” is true. I know this from many experiences; not only through my callings in the Church. I have developed it over time by attending the temple often, remaining close to my ancestors, and recording and acting upon the impressions and instructions given to me.
NOTE: If you would like to participate in the Invitation of Intention or implement it in your ward, click the link below to see all 21 Days.
- President Russell M. Nelson, Hear Him, ChurchofJesusChrist.org, Apr. 2020 General Conference, Accessed 6 March 2021.
- Elder Dale G. Renlund, 2021 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction, ChurchofJesusChrist.org, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 25 February 2021, Accessed 6 March 2021.
NOTE: All templates for the memes originated or were developed in Canva.com. Most of the images were found through Canva.com; some of which were from photographers who originally posted their photos on Pexels.com or pixabay.com. Where noted, other images were taken from ChurchofJesusChrist.org.