family hist-or-y, i am doing it! my family hist-or-yyy!

And the love I feel, when I'm doing it, is very sweet to meeee!

That is the Primary song I have had stuck in my head for the past few weeks! 
Ya wanna know why?

As we all know, I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Something that I've heard when I've talked to people who don't know about the church is our interest in family history work and the Temples. When I was a freshman in college, I had many chances to talk about the Temple as it was a question that came up with my fellow classmates and roommates who were not from Utah. 

I've always had a special, special place in my heart for the Temple. 
It is where I go to feel at home and to feel closer to my Savior.

When you go to the Temple, you can bring names of your ancestors or the Temple will provide names of those who need their work done. However, I've never really brought family names with me until recently. 

The first time I took family names to the Temple for baptisms and confirmations was when I was a senior in high school. I took my sister who had only been to the Temple a handful of times (she was just 12) and we brought some names my great aunt had given us. Then three years later, Hope had found some names after Elder Bednar's talk about family history work in October 2011 {read here}. About 40 and we did the baptisms and confirmations for those individuals as a family one Saturday. Thomas gets extra blessings, because Hope and I get to share the girl names while he does all of the boy names. You'll see why I feel he gets even more blessings in a minute. Hope found some more and they were able to do the baptisms and confirmations for those just barely in March.

I had been attending both my home ward and my YSA ward for about a year, but in April, I decided to really start attending my home ward and go to my YSA ward when I wanted to....that didn't really come into full swing until a few weeks ago when I felt very strongly that I needed to be in my home ward. Six hours of church on Sunday never hurts anyone, right? The two callings between two wards kind of started to do me in a bit, though, and I decided my focus needed to be on spending time with my family on Sundays and my calling in the home ward (Young Women advisor) until I leave for Seattle in September. 

Our stake president challenged our stake in April to work on our family history. He set up goals for each of us to accomplish and it has been amazing to see how it has affected me personally and the members of our ward as well as our stake.

In May, we had a Young Women activity focused on indexing {read more about it here}. I so enjoyed that and I had done it a few times before, but what a fun way for us to learn about the past and help people find their ancestors. 

On June 30th, I was getting ready for church and I had a strong impression that I needed to stay home, then attend Sacrament Meeting. It was a fifth Sunday and my dad was teaching, but for some reason, I felt I needed to stay home. I played some hymns on the piano and read a few scriptures, then I had the distinct thought to go get on Family Search. I had never really gotten on to look to see what work needed to be done, because I had always heard that my great aunt and a relative on my dad's side of the family had done most of the work already. I decided to look just to see what had been done. 

Within 24 hours of getting on, I had found 88 people who needed their Temple work done for them. Within three days, I had 111 people who needed various Temple work to be done for them. 

I had signed up in the middle of June for a temple trip with my YSA ward to the Brigham City Temple on July 13, 2013. So, I decided I would take my sister and her friend with me (picture above) to that to help with our family names. That morning, I asked Hope if she had any names that needed to be done and she said no, but within a half hour, she came upstairs and she had 50 men and women from my dad's side of the family that needed their temple work done!!

We had a wonderful experience going to the Brigham City Temple Temple to do the baptisms and confirmations for these individuals and my cousin was even able to take some of the names to do baptisms and confirmations at the Idaho Falls Temple as well. 

It has brought many tears to my eyes over the past few weeks! What an amazing thing to have found these names!! What a special thing to do Temple work for your own family! 

We made sure there weren't any duplicates of any of these people, there were a few, but in total, we have about 160 family members that need some or all of their temple ordinances to be done for them! We've started on getting it done and it is an incredible blessing to be given the chance to help in the work of salvation for those who have gone before us. 

Back in May, when I posted this video, Kylee and I talked about the importance of knowing the Plan of Salvation--life continues after death and we can be with the loved ones who have gone before us one day. Through my membership in the church, I know my family can be linked together forever through the Temple. I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father who has provided a way for us to accomplish the goal of an eternal, happy family and this is through family history and Temple work. 

Today, it is the 24th of July--a state holiday we call Pioneer Day. We celebrate our pioneer heritage and the ancestors who have gone before us. One of the neatest things about familysearch.org is the chance to see pictures of our ancestors. In fifth grade, I did a report on my great great great grandmother on my mom's side (from my grandma's family) and how she came to America, worked very hard, and came west with the Pioneers. For the assignment, I had to make a paper doll and tell her story. For years, I wondered what she looked like, what she sounded like, and what it would be like to have her tell me the story. A few nights ago, I was able to pull her up on familysearch.org and see her picture. It was another amazing moment that brought tears to my eyes. Though we don't have pictures of everyone in our family, it is amazing to see what they look like and to know where you have come from. It makes it that much more important to carry on a legacy of dedication, obedience, and compassion when you know where you come from. 

Long winded story, but bottom line--I am immensely grateful for the heritage I have and for this holiday I've had to reflect on it, along with the past few weeks I've had to immerse myself in this wonderful work. 
I feel just so lucky and blessed.

If you'd like to learn more about Temples or family history work, please visit here and here or watch this video

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