Dear Goldie Rose,
This question is for Goldie Rose but everyone can answer if they want. I love reading about family history stories especially ones Goldie writes about. I was never into family history until a family came to me in a dream and asked me to do their temple work. Obviously this is an unusual experience but I was wondering if anyone has any good family history/ temple work stories they are willing share. I also want to know from Goldie Rose what's the best thing about doing family history work
-My Name Here
Dear Fellow Reader,
EEEEEEEE!!!! -ahem- -regains composure-
I've always wanted to have my ancestors come to me in dreams. I think that would be super cool and I'm insanely jealous that has happened to you. I think it's also cool if anyone receives dreams that mean something and God is trying to tell you something. I just have weird dreams that make no sense. Alas.
But! I have had a random prompting that occured to me in the middle of the night that have had to do with family history. It ended up being exactly what I needed in order to get through a brick wall that I couldn't solve in order to continue my research.
Side Note: If you're having trouble with a specific person you're researching, put their name in the temple prayer roll every two weeks (when able) and you will see a difference! I did that with my 3rd great grandfather and it worked.
One of the things that I have is a temple/family history journal. I write down all of the cool spiritual experiences that I had in the temple so I could read them back whenever I'm feeling discouraged about my family history research. The last time we did sealings was pretty special! This was the first time we went after Carl Jr. was born. We were placed with a family where the mom was probably in her 70s or 80s. All of her children were there with their spouses.
I had four siblings all ready to be sealed to their parents, but first, we needed to seal the parents together. Carl and I were proxy for the parents and then I asked the sealer if we could seal the siblings altogether. The family looked in amazement and remarked, "I never knew that you could do that!" Carl and I moved to our respective places on the altar so four of them could join us at the altar. Instead of having to do four ordinances for each sibling, we did them all at once. There was a sweet spirit in the room as I could feel the family joining us in celebration that they were going to be together forever! I just felt so happy, and I could see the others who were participating in the ordinance feel it too.
After that ordinance, they began looking through all of their family cards since they wanted to see if they had siblings that needed to be sealed together. They ended up having five siblings from one family! We did that ordinance next. Every single person in the room was either a witness or at the altar. If we weren't there, that special ordinance wouldn't have been able to happen. (Another reason I'm so thrilled that women are able to be witnesses. Before the change, it was really hard to seal sons to his parents as there was always a shortage of men since you needed two men for witnesses.) I believe they felt the spirit even stronger during this ordinance because this time around it was their own family. We had to get back to Carl Jr., so we asked if we could leave early as I wasn't used to being gone from him so long (and we waited a LONG time in the sealer's office because there was a huge flux of people wanting to do sealings.) They were so sweet and glad that we joined them during their session. Since originally I think they had set an appointment and we didn't.
Hmm.. the best things about doing family history work...
For starters, I really love knowing that I'm automatically going to have a bunch of friends in the afterlife. Looking back at my stack of cards, hopefully many of those people accept the ordinances I did on their behalf. Sometimes I just like imagining passing through and being welcomed. I envision being greeted by Viola Ellis, Carl Jr. Peterson, Michael Peterson, Goldie Rose and her husband Carl, the Elliott family, Walsh family, Nicholson family, Clark family, Moody family, and so on. In reality, you may or may not have promised some of your ancestors that you would find them and do their work for them. I know that I've made many of those promises before I came to this Earth. For example, I believe that my ancestor Goldie Rose is a kindred spirit. She is one of the ones I promised that I'd find and seal her to her husband.
I've read the book "The Message" by Lance Richardson, who has a near-death experience and goes to the spirit world. I HIGHLY recommend it if you're interested in what happens there. It's not doctrine, but I didn't feel any conflicts reading it. It talks about how some of your best friends lived centuries before us. Although Goldie Rose wasn't born centuries before me, I know she's one of my best friends.
Another great thing about doing family history is knowing that you're helping people who can't help themselves. You're their literal savior (with a lower case s). Your ancestors are the reason why you're here today in this specific place and time. It's only fair that you help them have the opportunity to accept the gospel and receive all the blessings that you have. I think about this a lot and all the trials that they had to experience when they were living. I draw strength from that. For example, the grandpa I never met had a lot of trials- shyness, polio, the fight on whether or not to go on a mission, and leukemia. He always reacted with grace and dignity. As I learned more about my grandparents and great grandparents, I realized that I have qualities of theirs within me. Which in return draws me closer to them. For example, my grandpa's mother LOVED doing family history, even before she joined the Church. I've seen some of her genealogy research that she did on Randy Ellis that she wrote down. I was able to touch the pages and I felt such a connection to her. If/when I have a daughter, I'm going to be using her middle name for my daughter's middle name.
I think another great thing about family history is finding the missing piece to the puzzle. I think that's why I emphasized in Southern U.S. Genealogy. It's hard since the records are scarce due to the Civil War. But when I finally figure things out, it's so rewarding. I just feel so accomplished. I look on Ancestry at public family trees and see that they don't know what I know. It's kinda silly, but I relish in knowing things that other people don't know. (But of course, I update my family tree and make it public so people can see what I learned if they look at it.)
Lastly, there's also a lot of blessings that one receives from doing family history. (I also like this article from FamilySearch.) The one blessing that hits home most to me from the first link was by Dale G. Renlund, "You’ll find not only protection from the temptation and ills of this world, but you’ll also find personal power—power to change, power to repent, power to learn, power to be sanctified, and power to turn the hearts of your family together and heal that which needs healing."
Right around the time I started to do family history in 2016, there was a huge rift in my family that none of us ever saw coming. I felt so empty, depressed, and I honestly didn't think my family was ever going to be made whole again. But in due time, my family healed and we began to get closer and closer. I can't say I can take all the credit of gluing my family back together with my genealogy, but I believe I played a big part in it. We're not perfect, but we do have a family Marco Polo where we update everyone on our lives and see how everyone is doing. I'm sure as I continue to do family history, we'll get even stronger.
Thank you for asking me this question. I have such a deep love for family history and my ancestors. I have a hard time putting my feelings into words (hence, the longer time it took me to answer this question). But hopefully I did it justice.
Your dream sounds way cool!
I don't have any stories to share about temple work, and I'm not nearly the genealogy guru that Goldie Rose is, but I can share the story that first got me interested in family history work:
My grandma was born in Havana, Cuba. Her mother worked for Fidel Castro, but decided to leave her job in government when my grandma was a young girl. As a result, her family was told to leave the country. As natives of Puerto Rico, most of her family had American citizenship, so they left Cuba to go there. My great-grandfather was a native Cuban, and had to wait three years in Cuba before he was allowed to join the rest of the family. Eventually, they all made their way to New York, where my grandma met a pair of missionaries at the New York World’s Fair. She joined the church and has gone on to do a number of really amazing things (including raising my dad).
I was never interested in genealogy until I learned about my grandma's history. That made it real to me. She has incredible stories to tell, and I'm lucky to know her. Being able to hear about her life as a girl and young adult inspires me to learn more about my ancestors, especially those in her line. I'm still pretty amateur at family history work (I might need to take a lesson from Goldie), but I want to learn more about my heritage and history, because it turns out that these people had some pretty remarkable lives.