The returning of the Prophet Elijah during the last days was foretold by the Lord through his Prophet Malachi, when he declared, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse”1. As declared, Elijah the prophet appeared to Joseph Smith on March 27, 1836, during the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. As part of the restoration of other Priesthood keys by Moses and Elias during that grand vision, the prophet Elijah restored the keys of the sealing power. The sealing power restored allows husbands, wives and their children to be sealed together for eternity. As members of the Church, we are able to receive all ordinances necessary for us to return to God’s presence and receive the greatest of all of His Gifts - Exaltation. With the spirit of Elijah, we have power to organize the patriarchal order and then seal it so that it is everlasting.2 This sacred sealing power, restored through the prophet Joseph Smith, makes it possible for us to perform all the ordinances necessary for our ancestors to be joined together in eternal families and qualify, as they accept the gospel, to also receive the blessings of exaltation.
Elder Quinten L. Cook counseled the leaders of our Area to make a more concerted effort in doing their personal family history work. Heeding his counsel, the Area is now working on helping members to be more engaged in this work. As part of this effort, we have encouraged all active adults and youth to register a family search account, to start adding ancestors to their family tree, and to reserve names for the ordinances. We have encouraged them to complete as much of the first four generations of their family tree as possible.. These efforts will bear fruit as we talk to our living parents and grandparents. Most of the information I obtained for my family history work was from my grandmother. Sustaining this effort will help all of us create our own family tree and help us see the grand picture.
One of the other ways to make the family history experience more fun is to capture the living memory of ourselves and others. On the FamilySearch website we read, “Each person, no matter how ordinary, has extraordinary memories to share. Many of the most precious and heart-changing photos and stories are tucked away in our homes and our minds.”3 The website provides a way for us to preserve memories so that they can be shared for generations to come. Elder David A. Bednar said, “I hope to now build upon President Hinckley’s teachings about our ‘chain of the generations.’ He clearly and emphatically described what we should not do, which is become a weak link in the chain of the generations. I want to focus upon what we should do, which is become a welding link in the chain of the generations.” As we faithfully perform our duty, the Lord will help us be a welding link that binds our generation together.
I experienced the blessings of temple and family history work first hand as I entered the temple to do my own endowment and be sealed to my companion. Feeling the sense of eternity through the ordinances helped me better realize the need for my ancestors on the other side. An overwhelming joy filled my heart as I performed baptisms for the ancestors on my wife’s side. My wife Anne said, “It’s been many years since my grandma K. Ponnamal Sundaram passed away, but when I performed the saving ordinances for her in the temple, I saw her face as I remembered her and I sensed the joy she felt accepting the ordinances performed on her behalf”. I know that many of you have similar and other sacred experiences doing the work for your ancestors. All this denotes that this is the work of the Lord and that our ancestors are waiting for our help. By performing these sacred ordinances, we become saviors on Mount Zion for them.
The work of salvation for our families cannot be completed just by saving ourselves. We need to do temple work for all those who have passed on to the other side of the veil. God loves all his children. Everyone born on this earth deserves our help and support. I promise you, if you anxiously engage in this sacred work, you will feel the spirit of Elijah. You will have more appreciation for them and the blessings that you can provide for them through temple and family history work. May God bless you to see the vision of this great work is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. ■
Caption: Elder Robert K. William
1. Malachi 4: 5-6
2. Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide: Religion 324-325, (1981), 85–86
3. See https://www.familysearch.org/photos/