In October 2014 General Conference, Elder Allan F. Packer spoke about family history in his talk, “The Book.” He said,
Like partaking of the sacrament, attending meetings, reading the scriptures, and saying personal prayers, doing family history and temple work should be a regular part of our personal worship.
He spoke about this on February 14, 2015 at the Family Discovery Day as well:
Last year, our theme was “Igniting Interest in Family History,” and we introduced the “spiritual passport,” which encouraged members to begin collecting the stories and information that would help them and their ancestors qualify for eternal life. I am pleased to report that not only did the total number of names submitted for temple work increase, but the number of individual submitters increased by over 25 percent. This is great progress, and we congratulate all. Some of the increase has been from one-time events and focus. These help but are only a step in the cultural change needed for family history work to become part of the regular worship of Church members.
How can we make family history and temple work a regular part of our worship? Many of us are familiar with making temple work a regular part of our worship, by going to the temple weekly, monthly or however often we are able. However, as Elder Packer says, members are not regularly involved in family history work. In “The Book,” he said,
Relatively few members of the Church are regularly involved in finding and doing temple ordinances for their family. This calls for a change in our priorities. Don’t fight the change, embrace it! Change is part of the great plan of happiness.
This work needs to be done, not for the benefit of the Church but for our dead and for ourselves. We and our deceased ancestors need the stamps in our spiritual passports.
Family History work can become a regular part of our lives if we schedule time for it. I schedule at least one hour per week to learn about my ancestors. One hour may not seem like much, but I can accomplish a lot if I keep track of what I’m working on from week to week. As I consecrate that small amount of time each week, I feel that I’m engaged in the Lord’s work and that brings me great satisfaction.
Here are some tasks that I like to work on as part of my regular family history research:
- Cleaning up Family Tree by standardizing dates and places and merging
- Attaching sources to family members in Family Tree
- Reserving temple ordinances for any new family members I find as I attach sources
- Compiling stories, photos, and patriarchal blessings of ancestors into photos books to print
- Condensing family stories to share with my children
- Contacting other family members about shared family history efforts
Here are more ideas from the October 2014 New Era article “25 Cool Ways to Connect through Family History.”
How do you make family history a regular part of your personal worship?