Wish some of your family relationships were better? Perhaps even existent? More loving? Less contentious? More engaging? Less strained? Healed instead of wrecked? Fun instead of feisty? Man, I have. For a long time.
I finally decided to cash in with the Lord on His promises as given through His anointed servants. For years, I’ve listened to our prophet and modern-day apostles promise tremendous power to crush Satan’s influence, to overcome deep and hurtful familial divides, and to really connect in meaningful ways with those of the same bloodline or related by marriage. For years, I’ve reasoned that my situation was the exception, that it was possible for others but not for me.
But then I decided that I wanted His help more than I wanted to be right, justified, and stuck.
So, I upped my time in the temple. Big time. Like daily or near daily. I organized my time better. I became much more earnest and serious about my family history. Early mornings, I headed northward to the temple on the hill.
And then one evening when I was at home printing off names, the Holy Ghost whispered to my heart that prophetic and apostolic promises WERE in fact happening TO ME!
I had just come through a very successful weekend with some family members (previously, we’d had several episodes that were rough and less than comfortable) who had been visiting. We laughed and played together. We worshipped together. We shared meals and enjoyed a hike. No cross or unkind words. No judgement. Just imperfect yet striving love. It had been beautiful. The most beautiful it had been in ten years.
As I had hugged them goodbye, I hadn’t realized what had happened to me, but a few days later, the Holy Ghost told me, and I knew it was a power greater than my own, a bestowal of love beyond my reserves, a major move in the right direction, a victory for the side of right!
In one of his past General Conference talks, Apostle Renlund told about early church stalwarts and brothers, Orson and Parley Pratt, who in his words, faced a “fracture” between them – one so serious that Elder Renlund described it as “a deep and prolonged rift.” 1
Several years passed before any reconciliation was made. Know what brought them together? An ancestor.
Elder Renlund related:
“…Orson learned about a project to publish a book on the descendants of William Pratt, the brothers’ earliest American ancestor. Orson began to weep…as he glimpsed this treasure trove of family history. His heart melted, and he determined to repair the breach with his brother…” 2
And he did. He wrote a letter to Parley and asked forgiveness, and in Elder Renlund’s words,
“…it turned their hearts to each other. Family history and temple work provided the power to heal that which needed healing.” 3
Connecting over a distant ancestor healed the Pratt divide. It’s healing mine. And it can heal yours, too.
So, if you are in a less than ideal family situation, if there are strong feelings of things besides love, if you feel a separation, if you wish there was something you could do to lovingly and conscientiously mend the conflict, if you feel the Spirit prompting you to move forward, please consider allowing your heart and home to be rescued by family history and temple work.
Here are some of the promises from the Lord’s servants.
Then Elder Nelson:
“While temple and family history work has the power to bless those beyond the veil, it has an equal power to bless the living. It has a refining influence on those who are
engaged in it.” 4
“An equal power to bless.” Isn’t that incredible? The power of God, as manifest in the ordinances of the holy priesthood, gives living spirits with dead bodies the chance to accept proxy ceremonies and continue forward progressing. That’s an incredible power! But take note: the promise is to bequeath the living with that kind of power, too! Think of it! We can have the same forward propelling progress as our dead ancestors simply by engaging in a work that unites us across timelines.
A few short months after being called as prophet, President Nelson blessed us with this wondrous promise:
“My dear brothers and sisters, construction of these temples may not change your life, but your time in the temple surely will. In that spirit, I bless you to identify those things you can set aside so you can spend more time in the temple. I bless you with greater harmony and love in your homes and a deeper desire to care for your eternal family relationships…” 5
Greater harmony. More love. Increased desire to care. Such needful blessings for those of us lacking!
“As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I promise that if you look beyond the bonds of time and mortality and help those who cannot help themselves, you will be blessed with more closeness and joy in your family and with the divine protection afforded those who are faithful in His service.” 6
Sheesh. Additional incredible promises. More familial closeness. More familial joy. For the partaking.
“…As you respond in faith to this invitation, your hearts shall turn to the fathers…” 7
I know Elder Bednar was referencing deceased fathers, but my witness is that this work also turns our hearts towards our living fathers.
So, dear Meridian friends, if you – like me – are interested in and longing for improved family relationships, I invite you to consider the power associated with joining with Jesus, as a savior on Mount Zion, and linking your ancestors together in holy temple covenants and bonds. Something wonderful really can happen to you or those with whom you live and/or those with whom you share a last name.
Don’t believe it?
Neither did I until I got serious about it. Now I’m basking in not only existent but also better family relationships, ones that are more engaging, less strained, on the path towards healing and hope, and gosh, even fun now and again.
How about it? Worth a try?
- Renlund, D., “Family History And Temple Work: Sealing and Healing,” Ensign, May 2018, 47.
- Nelson, R., “Generations Linked In Love,” Ensign, May 2010, 94.
- Nelson, R., “Let Us All Press On,” Ensign, May 2018, 119.
- Cook, Q. From an address, “Our Father’s Plan Is About Families,” delivered at the Roots Tech 2015 Family History Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 14, 2015.
- Bednar, D., “The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn,” Ensign, October 2011, 27.