My Bishop gave me the above topic for a talk in Sacrament service today. What follows is the talk I gave…. Please enjoy! (If you would rather watch me give this talk, please click here for the YouTube link!)
Hi! My name is Maggie (actually “Margaret”) Slighte. I am one of many Margarets in my family. Since both of my grandmother’s names were “Margaret,” I don’t think that my parents had much of a choice when naming me. I loved both of my “Margaret” grandma’s and my “Margaret” aunt and I am happy to continue the tradition.
In February 2013, my interest in my family history was rekindled. I had started working on family history over ten years earlier, but divorce had relieved me of all
of my possessions and the ten boxes of family history work never would find its way back to me. However, in early 2013, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and a new-to-me netbook that connected to an internet full of newly indexed
documents. (A HUGE “THANK YOU” to anyone who has ever indexed!)
It was at this time that I remember signing up for an LDS account, with a strange fluttering in my heart that made me somewhat upset that my access was in any way limited. Yet I had no interest at that time in being a member of the church…or so I
Three years later, in the spring of 2016, I found myself in the Snowflake Temple President’s office discussing with Elder Bradley Foster the circumstance in 2013 when I was FIRST impressed to search out my ancestors.
Elder Foster was looking for something or another in the Temple President’s desk when I arrived as directed to be set apart as an office worker at the Snowflake Temple. When he asked me about my conversion, I was not shy about the fact I feel
my ancestors brought me to the church. He agreed.
I am Blessed. When I received the call from the Bishop early this week about this talk, and he told that he wanted me to speak today about the blessings we receive when we perform Family History work for our ancestors, I remembered that was precisely the subject of Elder Renlund’s talk at General Conference only two weeks ago!!
In my preparation for this talk, I studied not only Elder Renlund’s talk at General Conference, but also all of those given at RootsTech 2018.
Some of the SPECIFIC blessings that Elder Renlund stated are available to us when we work on Family History and Temple work are:
• Increased understanding of the Savior and His atoning sacrifice;
• Increased influence of the Holy Ghost to feel strength and direction for our own lives;
• Increased faith, so that conversion to the Savior becomes deep and abiding;
• Increased ability and motivation to learn and repent because of an understanding of who we are, where we come from, and a clearer vision of
where we are going;
• Increased refining, sanctifying, and moderating influences in our hearts;
• Increased joy through an increased ability to feel the love of the Lord;
• Increased family blessings, no matter our current, past, or future family situation or how imperfect our family tree may be;
• Increased love and appreciation for ancestors and living relatives, so we no longer feel alone;
• Increased power to discern that which needs healing and thus, with the Lord’s help, serve others;
• Increased protection from temptations and the intensifying influence of the adversary; and
• Increased assistance to mend troubled, broken, or anxious hearts and make the wounded whole.
You see, the promised blessings aren’t JUST for the ADULTS on this side of the veil. As President Eyring has stated: The blessings are for EVERYONE! Everyone: Children, youth, seniors and active adults!
Children LOVE to hear stories about their families. Specific blessings are waiting for our youth as we introduce them (or sometimes in the case of electronics, they introduce US) to our ancestors. It is just as essential for us to share with them the importance of the Ordinances involved in Family History work.
As Sister Jones stated at RootsTech this year, Studies show when youth are involved in family history work, an intergenerational consciousness is created that helps in all aspects of family interaction. Children can have an active roll in
encouraging the work to be performed inspiring life-long Gospel-centered habits.
Children with experience in family history are EXCITED to go to the Temple when they reach their 12th birthday. They have gotten to know the ancestors they have helped to discover and are invested in the Ordinances they help to perform.
I am personally looking VERY forward to two and a half years from now when my
granddaughters are 12 and will be eligible for a limited-use recommend. However, I realize that the time to continue to teach them about family history is now.
I remember when I was working at the Snowflake temple. New patrons would come up to the window and ask what they were supposed to do with the cards after all of the Ordinances were performed. I answered, “that’s your souvenir for all the hard work you did.” As I look back through my box of cards of completed ordinances, I am reminded that my first time at the temple to perform Baptisms was only three weeks after my Baptism. I took all of my grandparents and my deceased father with me to the Temple.
The Spirit of Elijah touched me early in my conversion. My heart was turned towards my father. And towards his father. My father’s father was a man who had left mortality in a cloud of PTSD after world war II. I felt his desire to have his work done when I glimpsed his face in a photograph for the first time in my life at a family history center only 3 days after my Baptism. I was excited to take my newly-discovered grandfather with the rest of my grandparents and deceased father to the Temple when I visited for the first time 3 weeks after my Baptism.
The way I looked at it, I may not have much family (besides my granddaughters) in the church who are alive, but I will make sure there are plenty to meet me when I cross over!
It is due of the blessings I received after that particular trip that I KNOW that Elder
Renlund is telling the truth when he states that our lives will be abundantly blessed
when we spend time performing this work. My relationship with my father
was notoriously abusive. I ceased contact with him when I was a teenager, and I was relieved when I learned of his death 17 years after I had done so. But he was one of the first people I chose to take to the temple. I can’t express the amount of forgiveness that act has allowed and in fact, caused. I never thought I could see that man as a child of God. But God does.
Elder Foster stated at Roots Tech this year that he has learned that if you want to endear someone to you, do something nice for their children. Then he went on to say, “imagine how Heavenly Father will think about you when you help gather His children?”
As much as our ancestors are OUR family, they are ALSO each one a child of our Heavenly Father. Sometimes our memories aren’t the best. This temporal life is hard and full of drama and pain. Family history work is one way we can put our troubles aside and be one step closer to being like our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Let us all take upon ourselves President Nelson’s challenge to “Prayerfully consider what kind of sacrifice preferably a sacrifice of time that we can each make to spend more time working on Family History and Temple work this year.”
I have an abundant testimony of Temple and Family History work. Although most of my non-LDS family still don’t understand why I go to the temple to do work for
our ancestors, the stories I can share with them about our mutual family has softened their heart towards me as a member of the church. I remain hopeful they will join me here as well.
I am one of the Temple and Family history consultants called to assist Ward members with their Family history. Please don’t be shy about talking to me about
how to get started on YOUR Family History and Temple work!
I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen