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“The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead.”

The Prophet Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 356

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The Purpose of Family History and Temple Work

The Role of Ordinances and Covenants

Ordinances and covenants become our credentials for admission into [God’s] presence. To worthily receive them is the quest of a lifetime; to keep them thereafter is the challenge of mortality. Once we have received them for ourselves and for our families, we are obligated to provide these ordinances vicariously for our kindred dead, indeed for the whole human family.

ElderBoyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 1987, page 24

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Families Are Essential In Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness

God is the designer of the family. He intended that the greatest of happiness, the most satisfying aspects of life, the deepest joys should come in our associations together and our concerns one for another as fathers and mothers and children.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 1991, page 74

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Latter-day Saints Are To Become Saviors On Mount Zion

How are they to become saviors on Mount Zion? By building their temples, erecting their baptismal fonts, and going forth and receiving all the ordinances … upon their heads, in behalf of all their progenitors who are dead, and redeem them that they may come forth in the first resurrection and be exalted to thrones of glory with them.

Prophet Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 6:184; see also Obadiah 1:21

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The Mission of Elijah

It is important to know why the Lord promised to send Elijah. Elijah was a great prophet with great power given him by God. He held the greatest power God gives to His children: he held the sealing power, the power to bind on earth and have it bound in heaven. … And the Lord kept His promise to send Elijah. Elijah came to the Prophet Joseph Smith on April 3, 1836, just after the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, the first temple built after the Restoration of the gospel.

President Henry B. Eyring, Ensign, May 2005, page 78

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When Elijah appeared to the Prophet Joseph, he said, “Behold, the time has fully come … to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers. … Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands” (D&C 110:14–16).

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An Outpouring of The Holy Ghost Accompanied Elijah’s Return

Elijah came to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the children to the fathers. With that, natural affection between generations began to be enriched. This restoration was accompanied by what is sometimes called the Spirit of Elijah—a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family. Hence, people throughout the world, regardless of religious affiliation, are gathering records of deceased relatives at an ever-increasing rate.  Elijah came not only to stimulate research for ancestors. He also enabled families to be eternally linked beyond the bounds of mortality. Indeed, the opportunity for families to be sealed forever is the real reason for our research.

Elder Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, May 1998, page 34

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The Blessings of This Work

Great Blessings Come To Those Who Participate In Temple Work

Today is a day of temple building. Never before have so many temples been erected and dedicated. … Temples will bless all who attend them and who sacrifice for their completion. The light of Christ will shine on all—even those who have gone beyond.

President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, May 1999, page 56

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Temple and Family History Work Can Bless and Protect You and Your Family

The Lord will bless us as we attend to the sacred ordinance work of the temples. Blessings there will not be limited to our temple service. We will be blessed in all of our affairs. We will be eligible to have the Lord take an interest in our affairs both spiritual and temporal. …  Our labors in the temple cover us with a shield and a protection, both individually and as a people.

President Boyd K. Packer, The Holy Temple [1980], pages 182, 265

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The Importance of Performing Temple Work For Our Ancestors

The work of seeking out our dead and ensuring that the ordinances of exaltation are performed in their behalf is a mandate from our Heavenly Father and his Beloved Son. They do not leave us to struggle alone but rather, in ways which are sometimes dramatic, prepare the way and answer our prayers.

President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, Mar. 1995, page 58

In a spirit of love and consecration, we must extend ourselves in the work of redemption of the dead through service in the temples of the Lord. This service more nearly approaches the divine work of the Son of God, who gave his life for others, than does any other work of which I know.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 1983, page 8

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The Blessings That Come To Those Who Engage In This Work

Family history work has the power to do something for the dead. It has an equal power to do something to the living. Family history work of Church members has a refining, spiritualizing, tempering influence on those who are engaged in it. … Family history work in one sense would justify itself even if one were not successful in clearing names for temple work. The process of searching, the means of going after those names, would be worth all the effort you could invest. The reason: You cannot find names without knowing that they represent people. You begin to find out things about people. When we research our own lines we become interested in more than just names or the number of names going through the temple. Our interest turns our hearts to our fathers—we seek to find them and to know them and to serve them. In doing so we store up treasures in heaven.

President Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Aug. 2003, page 17

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Continuing Our Efforts

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught the eternal consequences of temple work. In 1842 he wrote a letter urging the Saints to do baptisms for their deceased ancestors:

“Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. … Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free” (D&C 128:22).

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Lord Will Help Us — After We Have Done All We Can Do

If we will go forward with the research work the way will be opened on the right and on the left. You will be astonished to find avenues open. The dead know where their records are, so you are to search until you have gone as far as you can. When you have done all you can do and have reached the limit, what will happen? As always in the past, man’s extremity is God’s opportunity. The Lord never helps us while we can help ourselves. This is our day. We don’t expect Him to do miraculous things that we can do ourselves. When we have done our utmost, then will come God’s opportunity.

Elder Melvin J. Ballard, “The Inspiration of Temple Work.” The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Vol. 23, October, 1932, pp. 148-149

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