“The poorest shack in which love prevails over a united family is of far greater value to God and future humanity than any other riches. In such a home God can work miracles, and will work miracles. Pure hearts in a pure home are always in whispering distance of Heaven.”
David O. McKay Church News, Sept.7, 1968
See side bar for additional labels, or if the above labels do not take you to the post.
For an idea to organize and teach GOSPEL TOPICS in your home, go to GOSPEL STUDY in the side bar.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Putting Your Heart Into Turning Hearts and Planting Promises (This post capsulizes 2016 BYU-I Education Week Presentations)

For a list of LDS family history videos,
click videos
Click: Family History
For the family history videos for youth click the section entitled: Youth

 The following link is to a video that has all the recent promises given by General Authorities about doing family history work, and how it will bless our lives here and now, not just our deceased ancestors.
For those who want to get started on doing family history and claim the blessings that await your family today - click this tab:  Start Here

75 Free New Webinars from the Family History Library

Note: click the associated links to watch videos in this post



This talk by Wendy Watson Nelson is extremely motivational for me and I think it will be for you, also! Among so many other wonderful things, she discusses her conversion to the importance and fun of family history work, and outlines the need for helping our ancestors who are not too cheerful about being called "dead," discusses what Elder Holland states about asking for angels to help us, and shares the rewards for doing family history and temple work.
pdf: https://womensconference.ce.byu.edu/sites/womensconference.ce.byu.edu/files/wendy_watson_nelson.pdf

Watch her talk here: http://www.byutv.org/watch/60960c78-e80f-4459-a4d9-cf26ad573401/byu-womens-conference-wendy-watson-nelson-2015



To reap the promised blessings Elder Scott lists, children and youth will most likely be involved in family history and temple work if they learn to love their ancestors through knowing them.  Their desire to serve those who are dead will increase as they "go and do" activities and discover that family history is a lot of fun! As they explore, participate, and share, they will most likely begin to love doing the work they 
were sent to earth to do, and continue to do it!

What can we as parents do to motivate, assist, and encourage? how can we help children and youth to have the "Seth" view of family history?  
Two of our granchildren were talking to me (their grandmother) and one asked if I had any fun games on my cell phone.  Seth took it, held it up, and said, "She has FamilySearch , doesn't she?"  He then proceeded to open my "Family Tree" app and have some fun showing his cousin just how fun it is!

Spend time with your family on the Youth Family History Site on LDS.org

 Elder Andersen adds to his  temple challenge to the youth ’s challenge is to “prepare as many names for the temple as baptisms you perform in the temple, and help someone else to do the same.”
Get inspired! Listen to the promises to the youth for accepting the challenge to contribute to this holy and redeeming work. Click on the following links to learn more.

Youth can accept the challenge right on the site!

For the following videos listed without a URL, find these videos on the youth family history site on lds.org
or on the media site
*search for "family history" videos

Contains a clip of Elder Bednar's promises


   The FamilySearch Family History Blog introduces the
  Family Discovery Center

The link to the center:

Introducing a whole new approach to family history! At a FamilySearch Discovery Center you'll see your ancestors come to life with interactive displays, fun facts, and exciting things to do.

More Ideas:
6 Fun Ways to do Family History

From lds.org


Preserve living memory: Interview living relatives or people in the ward to help document their treasured stories and memories. Encourage the youth to visit a living relative and record an interview that can later be transcribed and entered in the tree. https://www.lds.org/topics/family-history/youth-events/youth-organizer-admin-tool/family-history-activities/other-activites?lang=eng

Youth or Family Temple Trip: attend the temple and participate in temple ordinances for the family names that have been discovered

Indexing Night

YW Personal Progress
  1. Download the Personal Progress Project worksheet and adapt the activities to be done locally.
  2. Ask the local family history consultant to teach a short class about getting started in family history-in place of attending a class at RootsTech.
  3. Work with the Young women to complete the activities on the worksheet.
  4. Share the devotional presented at RootsTech by Elder Neil L. Andersen
Visit Local Historic Sites or Genealogical Societies
For this activity, do some research to find local historic sites or genealogical societies near you. Genealogical societies can be a great resource to you and are usually thrilled to have visitors or have the opportunity to teach young people about their records and services. Use some of the following links to find the appropriate place to visit. 
  1. United States National Register of Historic Places listings
  2. List of U.S. National Historic Landmarks by State
  3. National Park Services
  4. Find the Nearest Genealogical Society
Find a Name We do family history work to find our ancestors and perform temple ordinances on their behalf. It can be difficult finding the names of ancestors needing ordinances to be performed. But we recommend presenting this opportunity for all the youth at some point during a youth event. https://www.lds.org/topics/family-history/youth-events/youth-organizer-admin-tool/family-history-activities/find-a-name?lang=eng 

Photopalooza Photo Scanning Activity 

Have the youth bring their cherished photos and documents to be scanned and preserved.  They can even upload the photos to their Family Tree on FamilySearch.org.                                                          

Smartphone Cemetery Activity

This activity allows the youth to photograph headstones in cemeteries using the BillionGraves smartphone app. These records are made available for free on FamilySearch.org and BillionGraves.com.

Reference the Temple and Family History Youth Activities page for more ideas added frequently.
Remember: Youth Mutual Activities Can Also Be Family Activities

download a family tree


Incorporating Children into Your Family Discovery Day.  As a family or through Rootstech:

he Family History Department invites all units to host a RootsTech family discovery day. This event is a great opportunity to help Church members find names to add to their family tree, take those names for temple ordinances, and learn how to teach family members to do the same.
A family discovery day should be an event at which all family members are welcome and are given the opportunity to do family history activities themselves, such as recording family stories, finding family names, or clearing family names for temple ordinances.

Extra, Extra! Read All About It!

Interview your grandparents to learn more about your family history.

Family History ABCs

Fill in the blanks with family history words.

Family History Fun

Help the boy identify his ancestors.

Family History Scriptures

Word search with family history scripture words.

Family History Scroll

Make a family history scroll.

FamilySearch Sleuth

Solve a FamilySearch records puzzle.

Family Story Swap

Family members can trade stories with each other.

Grandma’s Trunk

Celebrate family history by playing this game with your family.

I Can Climb My Family Tree

Fill out your own family tree.

"Hearts of the Children" Mobile

Create a “Hearts of the Children” mobile.

Coloring Page

"Temple Blessings Unite Families" coloring page.

Additional ideas for children:

·                                 Article: "Family History 1-2-3". Get started on your family history in three easy steps.
·                                 Video: Hannah’s View. A young child shares her perspective about life, the temple, and family history.
·                                 Video: The Hearts of the Children. From the 2013 Primaryleadership training


check out this family blog for a list of activity ideas for kids and teens

and this site:

and this one:

and this one created by Jr. High teachers and their team - ideas to help youth make family history projects for the next generation


Family History Activities for Children: 3-11





Scrambled Tree
Little Family Tree engages young children with their personal heritage and family history through photos, games, and activities designed for their level. (Most of the games are fun for the kid in all of us.)
The youngest children are just beginning to learn family relationships and are often interested in who they are and how they are connected to their family and the world at large. However, family history information and stories are rarely shared in a way that young children understand or find interesting.
Today's children intuitively understand how to use touch devices such as smartphones and tablets. They use them to play, watch, and learn. The objective of Little Family Tree is to bring a child's personal family history to them through this learning medium and to share it in a way that is accessible to them.

Personal family history information is obtained by having an adult login to an online family tree such as FamilySearch orPhpGedView. An online family tree account is required to play the game but a FamilySearch account can be obtained for free at FamilySearch.org.
another link for creating a fun family history game



This site could change your life!

you will log in with your 
familysearch information. Guests can also log into familysearch!


One idea is to make a collection of the conversion stories of the first family member to join the church in each of your ancestral lines.  Put these stories on familysearch.org and attach them to your tree! Instructions here: https://familysearch.org/blog/en/quick-start-video-photos-stories/ Keep posting stories of ancestors to inspire and edify all who read them. These stories then will be on the app "All The Stories" and also available to be plugged into the family game apps (those that draw stories and information from you family tree).

Here is one of our ancestor's conversion stories(my great great grandfather - my father's grandfather)


By Annie Eliza Rasmussen

Niels Rasmussen, the son of Henrich Rasmussen and Rebecca Hansen, was born May 29, 1854, in the town of Maderup, the parish of Saerslev, Odense, Denmark, and was the fourth of six children. His father was an expert weaver, but Niels said "poor in this world's goods." When his son, Alma, was on a mission to Denmark, he met neighbors of the Rasmussen family. They remembered the family well, and said "When Niels was five years old, his father was very proud of his singing. When visitors came to the house, his father stood him on the table and he sang for the company."
When seven years old, Niels went to school three days of the week, and in the summer herded cows and sheep for farmers in the vicinity the other four days. When he was nine years old, his father died, leaving his mother with six children to support. She worked hard, and since she had joined the church, her greatest desire was to join the Saints in the Rocky Mountains.
In 1866, three years after the death of her husband, his mother succeeded in raising enough money to take them to Utah. On May 10, 1866, in company with a number of other neighbors, who had also joined the church, they left all that was near and dear to them--relatives, friends, associates, and their home. Included in the relatives was his maternal grandmother who was then 81 years old. He disliked very much leaving her behind.
They arrived in Copenhagen on May 11th, and had to stay about two weeks. On May 28th, they left Copenhagen on the steamship, Aurora, for Kiel, Germany, and arrived there the next day. They left Kiel for Hamburg, Germany, and set sail on the sailing vessel, Cavour, May 29th, his twelfth birthday anniversary bound for New York. They arrived in New York after a tedious voyage of nine weeks and three days, due to bad winds. They stopped at Castle Gardens, an old theater used for emigration purposes, a few hours and then set sail on an American River steamer for Albany. They sailed all night and in the morning they boarded a train for the West.
About this time cholera had begun to appear and several people had died of the dreaded disease. It continued to spread at a "terrible rate of slaughter" on the railroad. It was no respecter of persons, as "men in their prime of life and apparently hale and hearty were stricken down, never to rise again." When they arrived at St. Joseph, Missouri, they sailed up the Missouri to Wyoming. Out of the company, numbering two hundred and eighty souls, eighty of all ages had died.
They arrived in Wyoming and stayed there for two days, and then started for Utah. His only brother, Peter, nineteen years of age, took sick with the cholera and suffered "the most terrible pain and excruciating torture". "It was heart rending to hear him cry in his agony", said Niels. His mother grieved about Peter. She waited on him and did all she could to alleviate his suffering, until she took sick with the cholera. Peter died and a few days later his mother followed him.
The oldest daughter, who was sixteen felt bad because of the death of her mother. Her mother was permitted to come back and speak to this daughter and said, "I can't stay long. I have to go back. It is a beautiful place on the other side. If I had known that it was such a beautiful place I would not have mourned for my son. Never leave the church. It is the true church. Take care of your brother and sisters."
Like the other dead, his mother and brother were buried in a shallow grave by the roadside, after being sewn up in sheets. They did not have the privilege of seeing Utah, their greatest desire. The family traveled in the ill-fated company in charge of Captain Abner Lowry, who was ably assisted by Brother George Farnsworth of Mt. Pleasant, Utah. Niels said, "We will never forget the untiring efforts of Brother Farnsworth in alleviating the sufferings of those afflicted with cholera".
A relief mule train, under Captain Arza E. Hinckley, sent out by President Brigham Young, met them about 400 miles east of Salt Lake City. All the orphans, of which there were many, were taken by that train. Included in the orphans were Niels and his four sisters. They arrived in Salt Lake, October 8th, 1866, while the main company, which lost nearly all of their cattle in the snow in the mountains, reached the valley two weeks later, October 22, 1866.
The day after their arrival in Salt Lake City, the orphans were all provided with homes. Niels and his oldest sister were taken care of by Brother Orson P. Miles and family of the Eighth Ward. Niels lived there until the following March, 1867, when he was taken to the home of Henry A. Dixon of the Eleventh Ward, who later moved to Provo. Here he stayed about one and a half years.
Nicoline, 14 years of age, and Mary 7 years of age, were placed in the home of C. W. Hostmark, and Annie, 9 years of age was placed in the home of Carl Larsen, where she remained until her accidental death May 30, 1867. She went to get a bucket of water in City Creek and was dragged into the creek by the strong current and drowned.
Niels returned to Salt Lake on a visit, and while there, was offered a position in the General Tithing store by Bishop Edward Hunter and Joseph C. Kingsbury. Later he was the bookkeeper in the Presiding Bishop's Office and was employed there until March 31, 1909.
In 1878, he filled a short-term mission in the United States, laboring principally in
Nebraska and Iowa from May 7th to December 20, 1878.

He was active in the church. In the First Ward he was Ward clerk for a number of years, Superintendent of the Sunday School from December 1886 to 1901, Second Counselor to Bishop Joseph Warburton from October 27, 1897 to June 1, 1909 when the Ward was divided, forming Emigration Ward.
He married Laura A. H. Thorup September 11, 1879 and Christine V. Thorup November 21, 1885, devoted sisters. He was the father of thirteen children, three sons and ten daughters.
He was a lover of music and gave his children a musical education. He played the violin and loved to sing the songs of Zion. One of his favorite songs was "0 Ye Mountains High."
For a number of years Niels studied how to become a dry farmer, so when he left the Presiding Bishop's Office in March, 1909, he began dry-farming in Welby, Utah and made a success of it. All the farmers of longstanding said he taught them how to become successful dry farmers.
He died March 6, 1914 in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the age of 59 years, 9 months, and 8 days. He was the last survivor of his father's family and lived a busy and useful life.

--Written: March 10, 1940

Here is an inspirational story of my husband, Scott's maternal great great grandfather on his father's mother'sside (Rose Sorensen):

Frederick Christian Sorensen

The first miraculous healing which took place during the administration of the first missionaries in Denmark seems to have occurred during the latter part of September 1850 in the city of Copenhagen.  Brother Fredrick Christian Sorensen, the object of this incident was for many years a prominent member of the Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) in Ephraim, Sanpete County, Utah.  He gave to Andrew Jensen, Church Historian, the account of the following incident.

In my younger days I suffered from consumption (tuberculosis) and was given up by three doctors as being incurable.  This was before I became a member of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  When I became a convert to Mormonism I felt that I had only a short time to live.  I could not walk without leaning upon a walking cane or staff and suffered with unceasing pain in my breast.  Brother Erastus Snow advised me to consult a somewhat popular physician in Copenhagen who had the reputation of being successful in treating the disease from which I suffered.  This I did and the doctor told me that I was too old to be cured, though only thirty-one years of age.  He assured me that I could possibly live another year but he did not believe that I could live six months more.  I went home with tears in my eyes for I had a wife and children that I loved and I desired to live for them and the Gospel which I had received in which I had already experienced much joy, and  I took much interest in the Church.  In the meeting the following Sunday, Brother Snow asked me what the doctor had said and I immediately told him.  He invited me to come to his office the next day.  As Brother Snow had not yet acquired a good knowledge of the Danish language, he had to converse with me assisted by an interpreter.

I visited the office on the Monday as requested and was invited to take a seat on the sofa.  As some of the people recently baptized were present nothing was said to me until they were gone.  While I sat and waited the pain in my breast made me nervous and I felt inclined to go home, but when the strangers had taken their departure Brother Snow locked the door and began to speak to me about the power of heading by the power of God.  He asked me if I believed in the Bible and I answered him that I believed that he and the other brethren possessed the same power as the Apostles of ancient days.  The brethren then anointed me on the breast and head an laid their hand upon me and blessed me.  When they took their hands off my head, the pain in my breast ceased and I have never suffered from that sickness since.

Brother Snow told me that if I would continue to exercise faith the sickness would never return.  When on my way home to Cristenhaven where I lived, I had gone as far as the house, when I began to doubt and said to myself, Are you really healed?  In order to convince myself in this regard, I placed my walking cane by one of the pillars of the building and swung my arms backward and forward , something I had not been able to do without suffering intense pain; but on this occasion these movements caused me no suffering, notwithstanding, I moved them backward and forward with all of my strength.  Thus I was convinced that I was healed by the power of God.
I was the first person in Denmark that was healed by the power of God as a recipient of the gift of the Gospel in this dispensation.

Brother Snow expressed the wish that I should bear testimony of this occurrence wherever I had an opportunity to do so, but to always give the glory to God and not to man.

One idea is to have teens record these stories and put them on familysearch.org. There is an audio app now available to record and place directly on familysearch.org. Instructions are on this link:

note: video content may be able to be uploaded to familysearch.org in the future as explained here:

I found this story on "All My Stories" - I had never read it before!
In 1832, Weltha Bradford Hatch and her husband, Ira, lived in the tiny town of Farmersville, New York, USA, near Lake Seneca. When missionaries Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt called at the Hatch home, Weltha purchased a Book of Mormon and read it right away. Convinced of its truthfulness, she asked for baptism. Her husband, however, cautioned her to wait due to mounting persecutions and an approaching baby. Shortly after the delivery, Weltha was baptized—but only after a hole was cut in the ice on the river in which the ordinance was performed!1 Ira was intrigued by the gospel message. He wanted to know more and also felt impressed to make a contribution to the building of the Kirtland Temple. So he and Weltha traveled by buggy to Kirtland, Ohio, USA, to meet the Prophet Joseph Smith. Upon arriving, they were told the Prophet could be found with a group of men cutting trees in a nearby grove. After they reached the grove, one of the men set his axe into a tree, strode over to them, and said, Brother Hatch, I have been expecting you for three days; the money which you have brought will be used to help build the pulpit in the temple. This man was Joseph Smith. Needless to say, Ira was baptized, and he and Weltha returned to their home, gathered their belongings, and joined the Saints in Kirtland.2 Footnotes: 1. See Wandering Home: Stories and Memories of the Hatch Family (1988), 3. 2. See Wandering Home, 3.

One idea to help children connect with their ancestors is to have them "re-enact" family history stories.

Start by signing up for an account on Familysearch!  Fill in information for living people. Information for dead people will populate.


Grandma's Pie
 Grandma’s Pie shows you where your ancestry is from, 
in interactive pie form!
Angelle's Pie Chart - all ancestors

Who is missing? See black spaces
Angelle herself
Click on a person



One Page Genealogy
One Page Genealogy is the place for you to view, customize, and download your family tree all on one page! View up to 20 generations of ascendancy or descendancy. Change colors and tree styles. Download and print to show your family and friends!

One Page Genealogy allows you to create three different types of charts.
Note: You can always click the "Download New File" button at the top of the page to restart the chart creation process.

  • Ascendancy: creates a tree with each generation being the parents of the last generation.      

  • Descendancy: creates a tree with each generation being the children of the last generation by spouse.

To save your chart, simply press the save button () on the top bar and choose where you want to save it. One Page Genealogy charts have a .opg extension on them for easy finding.
To upload your chart, simply press the upload button () on the top bar and find the .opg file you would like to upload. Then press the 'open' button.
Simply press the download button () on the top bar to save your chart as a PDF.
You can then take the downloaded PDF to a nearby print service center.

What is a game that tests your knowledge of your family tree? If you think you know your family tree, try out our newest game and prove your knowledge to your friends and families.

Virtual Pedigree  https://virtual-pedigree.fhtl.byu.edu/ 
Virtual Pedigree allows you to navigate your genealogy with a new and revolutionary fluid interface including the number of the generation of your ancestors. Simply click (or touch!) and drag, and begin exploring! It gives you hints and help as you explore your tree. Take it for a spin.

The Family History Guide (on-line)

Visiting grave sites can provide opportunities for stories about ancestors and explanations of death, resurrection, angels, and forever families.

Our daughter, Jana, loves to tell ancestor stories and have family members do a related activity.  If the story tells about fortitude, for example, then after she relates the story, she challenges the group to do cartwheels as a group (each person doing a certain number) with the total number of cartwheels equaling 200 (or appropriate number).

Our "Grandpa Max" is the grand son of the baby born on the plains (the 11th child) - Henry Adheimer Maxfield who is pictured here in front of a landscape on Prince Edward Island.

Angelle anderson is the daughter of of Janice Clark, who is the daughter of Vaughn Elijah Maxfield, who is the son of Henry Dilworth Maxfield,  who is the son of Henry Adheimer Maxfield, who is the son of…
John Ellison Maxfield
Pictured here with his wife Sarah Elizabeth Baker

We Did This For You!
  Ensign November 2004
Temple work is the work that we have been prepared to do. It is a work for every generation, including and especially the youth.                                                                                               A little over a year ago, my husband and I visited Nauvoo. As we walked through the Old Pioneer Cemetery searching for the grave of an ancestor, Zina Baker Huntington, I was touched by the peaceful solitude and spirit I felt. I walked through the trees and read the names on the gravestones, many of them children and families. I wept as my heart was turned to our forefathers, many of whom had joined the Church and come to Nauvoo. In my mind I asked many questions: Why did they leave their comfortable homes and families? Why did they suffer persecution, sickness, even death? Why did they sacrifice all that they had to come to this place and build a temple? They hardly had shelter, and yet they were building a temple! Why did they do it? And when the temple was nearly completed, how could they leave it behind? As I sat silently contemplating this scene, the answer came forcefully yet softly to my mind and heart: “We did this for you.”                                                             Those words, “We did this for you,” reminded me that our ancestors, along with many other faithful Saints, sacrificed everything because of their testimonies and faith in Jesus Christ. They knew that the gospel had been restored to the earth once more and that they were led by a prophet of God. They knew that the Book of Mormon was true and understood its message and witness. They knew that through the restoration of priesthood keys, families could be sealed together for eternity through holy priesthood ordinances available only in a temple. They knew that temple work was the key to the salvation and exaltation of the human family. They knew the importance of this work, and they were willing to give all that they had in order to provide a house acceptable to the Lord wherein this holy work could be performed. They sacrificed everything so that past and future generations would have access to the eternal blessings of the temple.                                                                             Prior to coming to Nauvoo, the Saints sacrificed greatly to build the first temple of this dispensation in Kirtland, Ohio. It was there that the Lord Himself appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Three other heavenly messengers also appeared there. One of these was Elijah the prophet, who restored, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, keys pertaining to the restoration of the priesthood and the “great work to be done in the temples of the Lord.”1 This happened in accordance with the promise that is recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants wherein the Lord said: “Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet. …“And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.“If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.”2 The early Saints understood what this scripture meant, and on that beautiful morning in the old cemetery in Nauvoo, I understood also. How can the promises made to the fathers be planted in the hearts of the children? How can the hearts of the children be turned to their fathers? This can happen only when we understand our identity and roles in this work and remain worthy and prepared to enter the temple and act on behalf of those who have gone before. Brigham Young said: “We have a work to do just as important in its sphere as the Savior’s work was in its sphere. … We are now called upon to do ours; which is to be the greatest work man ever performed on the earth.”3 In the vision of the redemption of the dead given to President Joseph F. Smith, he saw many of the noble and great prophets who had been on the earth prior to the Savior’s coming. He also saw the Prophet Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, his father, and “other choice spirits who were reserved to come forth in the fulness of times to take part in laying the foundations of the great latter-day work.”4 Who were those other choice spirits? Our generation was somewhere there among those “noble and great” leaders, prepared in the world of spirits to be on the earth at this time! The scriptures tell us that “even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men.”5 The labor we were prepared and reserved to perform includes “the building of the temples and the performance of ordinances therein for the redemption of the dead.”6 Brigham Young foresaw the time in which we are now living. He said, “To accomplish this work there will have to be not only one temple but thousands of them, and thousands and tens of thousands of men and women will go into those temples and officiate for people who have lived as far back as the Lord shall reveal.”7 When I was young, my grandfather Martin taught me that in the latter days, temples would literally dot the earth. At the time my grandfather expressed this thought to me, I could hardly imagine it. But I was raised with this knowledge and feeling in my heart. Recently I looked on the Church’s Web site under “temples,” and I could plainly see that the temples, designated by red dots, are starting to spread over much of the earth.8                        Our beloved prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, has said, “We are determined … to take the temples to the people and afford them every opportunity for the very precious blessings that come of temple worship.”9 Our prophet knows that it is difficult to do temple work if we are not near a temple. This is our day, and temple work is the work that we have been prepared to do. It is a work for every generation, including and especially the youth of the Church.                         In order to perform this great work, we must be worthy. No wonder we are surrounded on every side with things designed to discourage, distract, or disqualify us. We must keep our focus, and we must remember that the temple is the reason for everything we do in the Church.                           Youth programs such as Personal Progress and Duty to God encourage youth to be worthy to attend the temple. These programs are designed to help youth make and keep commitments, thus preparing them to make and keep covenants. They also encourage youth to participate in journal writing, family history, and performing baptisms for their ancestors. TheFor the Strength of Youth pamphlet teaches doctrine and principles that, if understood and lived, will help youth be worthy to attend the temple. These programs are powerful tools to be used by youth, parents, and leaders. They help youth prepare to be worthy to attend the temple. And our youth do not have to wait until a mission or marriage to visit the temple. They can have temple experiences beginning at age 12 by doing baptisms and confirmations, and these can continue throughout their teen and adult years. Great blessings will literally “be poured out upon the heads” of those who are endowed in the temples, and a portion of these blessings will come to our youth as they live worthily to participate in the house of the Lord.10                                  The Salt Lake Temple baptistry is a thrilling place to be on Saturday mornings! I was there early one morning to be baptized for some of my ancestors. As I sat waiting on the bench in the baptismal area, I noticed that the young woman on my left was reading her patriarchal blessing. The girl on my right was reading her scriptures. I asked her if she had come here with a group. Her reply was: “No, I come with my friend every Saturday. It makes my whole week go better.” These young women, along with many other young men and women, know a grand secret—the temple blesses not only our families’ and ancestors’ lives, but also our own. We are promised that those who are endowed in the temple will go forth from that holy house “armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine angels have charge over them.”11 These are great blessings and promises. What youth does not desire to prepare to receive these blessings in order to navigate in today’s ever-darkening world?                      When President Faust talked to the young men in the priesthood session last October, he called on them to lead out and become a part of temple and family history work. He said: “I encourage you … to begin to unlock the knowledge of who you really are by learning more about your forebears. … You can easily access a vast collection of family history records using the Internet on your home computer or at your nearest family history center. … Temple work is essential … because ‘we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect.’”12                       The youth have been prepared “for such a time as this.”13 They are intelligent and bright. They are proficient on computers and the Internet. They are a great untapped resource for good in the world! They have been reserved for these latter days, and they have a great work to do. And not only do they have a great work to do there, but the temple will also be a refuge for them that will protect them from worldly pressures and influences.                                          As I contemplate President Faust’s words, I can visualize an army of righteous youth prepared and worthy to attend the temple. I can see families sealed together for eternity. I can see youth who understand what it means to be “saviours … on mount Zion.”14 I can see youth whose hearts are turned to their fathers.15 And I can envision youth growing up in such a way that they will come forth from the temples filled with strength to resist worldly pressures.16 I can see a generation of youth who will “stand … in holy places, and be not moved.”17                             Zina Baker Huntington, along with so many other faithful Saints, sacrificed everything in order that we might have the blessings of the restored gospel. It is my prayer that we might understand our role in this great work and remain worthy to enter His holy temples. I know that if we will do this, the joyful day will come when we shall meet our ancestors once again and be able to say to them, “We did this for you.” In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
  1. Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe (1954), 406.
  2. D&C 138:53; emphasis added.
  3. See D&C 138:55–56; emphasis added.
  4. Discourses of Brigham Young, 394.
  5. See www.lds.org; see also “Temples throughout the World,” Friend, July 2002, 36–37.
  6. “Some Thoughts on Temples, Retention of Converts, and Missionary Service,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 50.
  7. “The Phenomenon That Is You,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2003, 53–54; see also D&C 128:18.
  8. See D&C 109:22.
  9. D&C 87:8.                                         

                                                       Elder David A. Bednar
The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn
October Conference 2011 
I invite the young people of the Church to learn about and experience the Spirit of Elijah. 
As we study, learn, and live the gospel of Jesus Christ, sequence often is instructive. Consider, for example, the lessons we learn about spiritual priorities from the order of the major events that occurred as the fulness of the Savior’s gospel was restored in these latter days. In the Sacred Grove, Joseph Smith saw and talked with the Eternal Father and Jesus Christ. Among other things, Joseph learned about the true nature of the Godhead and of continuing revelation. This majestic vision ushered in “the dispensation of the fulness of times” (Ephesians 1:10) and is one of the signal events in the history of the world.  Approximately three years later, in response to earnest prayer on the evening of September 21, 1823, Joseph’s bedroom filled with light until it “was lighter than at noonday” (Joseph Smith—History 1:30). A personage appeared at his bedside, called the young boy by name, and declared “he was a messenger sent from the presence of God … and that his name was Moroni” (verse 33). He instructed Joseph about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. And then Moroni quoted from the book of Malachi in the Old Testament, with a little variation in the language used in the King James Version:   “Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. “… And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming” (verses 38, 39). Moroni’s instructions to the young prophet ultimately included two primary themes: (1) the Book of Mormon and (2) the words of Malachi foretelling the role of Elijah in the Restoration “of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). Thus, the introductory events of the Restoration revealed a correct understanding of the Godhead, emphasized the importance of the Book of Mormon, and anticipated the work of salvation and exaltation for both the living and the dead. This inspiring sequence is instructive about the spiritual matters of highest priority to Deity.   My message focuses upon the ministry and Spirit of Elijah foretold by Moroni in his initial instructions to Joseph Smith. I earnestly pray for the assistance of the Holy Ghost.                                                                                    The Ministry of Elijah     Elijah was an Old Testament prophet through whom mighty miracles were performed. He sealed the heavens, and no rain fell in ancient Israel for 3½ years. He multiplied a widow’s meal and oil. He raised a young boy from the dead, and he called down fire from heaven in a challenge to the prophets of Baal. (See 1 Kings 17–18.) At the conclusion of Elijah’s mortal ministry, he “went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11) and was translated.  “We learn from latter-day revelation that Elijah held the sealing power of the Melchizedek Priesthood and was the last prophet to do so before the time of Jesus Christ” (Bible Dictionary, “Elijah”). The Prophet Joseph Smith explained, “The spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is, that ye have power to hold the key of the … fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood … ; and to … obtain … all the ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith[2007], 311; emphasis added). This sacred sealing authority is essential for priesthood ordinances to be valid and binding both on earth and in heaven.  Elijah appeared with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration (see Matthew 17:3) and conferred this authority upon Peter, James, and John. Elijah appeared again with Moses and others on April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland Temple and conferred the same keys upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.  Scripture records that Elijah the prophet stood before Joseph and Oliver and said: “Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come— “To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—“Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors” (D&C 110:14–16).The restoration of the sealing authority by Elijah in 1836 was necessary to prepare the world for the Savior’s Second Coming and initiated a greatly increased and worldwide interest in family history research.  
The Spirit and Work of Elijah  The Prophet Joseph Smith declared: “The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead. … For it is necessary that the sealing power should be in our hands to seal our children and our dead for the fulness of the dispensation of times—a dispensation to meet the promises made by Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world for the salvation of man. … Hence, God said, ‘I will send you Elijah the prophet’” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 475). Joseph further explained: “But what is the object of [the coming of Elijah]? or how is it to be fulfilled? The keys are to be delivered, the spirit of Elijah is to come, the Gospel to be established, the Saints of God gathered, Zion built up, and the Saints to come up as saviors on Mount Zion [see Obadiah 1:21]. “But how are they to become saviors on Mount Zion? By building their temples … and going forth and receiving all the ordinances … in behalf of all their progenitors who are dead … ; and herein is the chain that binds the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, which fulfills the mission of Elijah” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 472–73). Elder Russell M. Nelson has taught that the Spirit of Elijah is “a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family” (“A New Harvest Time,” Ensign, May 1998, 34). This distinctive influence of the Holy Ghost draws people to identify, document, and cherish their ancestors and family members—both past and present. The Spirit of Elijah affects people inside and outside of the Church. However, as members of Christ’s restored Church, we have the covenant responsibility to search out our ancestors and provide for them the saving ordinances of the gospel. “They without us should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:40; see also Teachings: Joseph Smith, 475). And “neither can we without our dead be made perfect” (D&C 128:15). For these reasons we do family history research, build temples, and perform vicarious ordinances. For these reasons Elijah was sent to restore the sealing authority that binds on earth and in heaven. We are the Lord’s agents in the work of salvation and exaltation that will prevent “the whole earth [from being] smitten with a curse” (D&C 110:15) when He returns again. This is our duty and great blessing. An Invitation to the Rising Generation  I now invite the attention of the young women, young men, and children of the rising generation as I emphasize the importance of the Spirit of Elijah in your lives today. My message is intended for the entire Church in general—but for you in particular. Many of you may think family history work is to be performed primarily by older people. But I know of no age limit described in the scriptures or guidelines announced by Church leaders restricting this important service to mature adults. You are sons and daughters of God, children of the covenant, and builders of the kingdom. You need not wait until you reach an arbitrary age to fulfill your responsibility to assist in the work of salvation for the human family. The Lord has made available in our day remarkable resources that enable you to learn about and love this work that is sparked by the Spirit of Elijah. For example, FamilySearch is a collection of records, resources, and services easily accessible with personal computers and a variety of handheld devices, designed to help people discover and document their family history. These resources also are available in the family history centers located in many of our Church buildings throughout the world. It is no coincidence that FamilySearch and other tools have come forth at a time when young people are so familiar with a wide range of information and communication technologies. Your fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord—not just to communicate quickly with your friends. The skills and aptitude evident among many young people today are a preparation to contribute to the work of salvation. I invite the young people of the Church to learn about and experience the Spirit of Elijah. I encourage you to study, to search out your ancestors, and to prepare yourselves to perform proxy baptisms in the house of the Lord for your kindred dead (see D&C 124:28–36). And I urge you to help other people identify their family histories. As you respond in faith to this invitation, your hearts shall turn to the fathers. The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be implanted in your hearts. Your patriarchal blessing, with its declaration of lineage, will link you to these fathers and be more meaningful to you. Your love and gratitude for your ancestors will increase. Your testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. And I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives. Parents and leaders, please help your children and youth to learn about and experience the Spirit of Elijah. But do not overly program this endeavor or provide too much detailed information or training. Invite young people to explore, to experiment, and to learn for themselves (see Joseph Smith—History 1:20). Any young person can do what I am suggesting, using the modules available at lds.org/familyhistoryyouth. Aaronic Priesthood quorum and Young Women class presidencies can play an important role in helping all youth become acquainted with these basic resources. Young people increasingly need to be learners who act and thereby receive additional light and knowledge by the power of the Holy Ghost—and not merely passive students who primarily are acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:26). Parents and leaders, you will stand all amazed at how rapidly your children and the youth of the Church become highly skilled with these tools. In fact, you will learn valuable lessons from these young people about effectively using these resources. The youth can offer much to older individuals who are uncomfortable with or intimidated by technology or are unfamiliar with FamilySearch. You also will count your many blessings as young people devote more time to family history work and temple service and less time to video games, surfing the Internet, and Facebooking.  Troy Jackson, Jaren Hope, and Andrew Allan are bearers of the Aaronic Priesthood who were called by an inspired bishop to team teach a family history class in their ward. These young men are representative of so many of you in their eagerness to learn and desire to serve.  Troy stated, “I used to come to church and just sit there, but now I realize that I need to go home and do something. We can all do family history.”  Jaren reported that as he learned more about family history, he realized “that these were not just names but real people. I became more and more excited about taking the names to the temple.”  And Andrew commented, “I have taken to family history with a love and vigor I did not know I could muster. As I prepared each week to teach, I was often nudged by the Holy Spirit to act and try some of the methods taught in the lesson. Before, family history was a scary thing. But aided by the Spirit I was able to step up to my calling and help many people in our ward.”  My beloved young brothers and sisters, family history is not simply an interesting program or activity sponsored by the Church; rather, it is a vital part of the work of salvation and exaltation. You have been prepared for this day and to build up the kingdom of God. You are here upon the earth now to assist in this glorious work.  I testify Elijah returned to the earth and restored the sacred sealing authority. I witness that what is bound on earth can be bound in heaven. And I know the youth of the rising generation have a key role to play in this great endeavor. I so testify in the sacred name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

Youth and Family History - see the family history section on the youth site at lds.org 
and the activities page - family history activity ideas

Note: a few of these slides and links are also included in the beginning of this post! These are from the family history section of the youth site on lds.org

It is amazing!  It includes Elder Anderson's challenge, videos to motivate, inspire, share successes and ideas, resources, and activities. 


The youth are accepting 
Elder Anderson's challenge!

https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2015-02-1049-sharing-the-temple-challenge?category=youth-family-history&lang=eng  (3:19)

pizza and indexing (Eagle project and beyond) - friends with older people
work for ancestors What would happen if the whole church had pizza parties to do genealogy?

Rock Climbing and Family History



“…My soul delighteth in the covenants of the Lord.” 2 Nephi 11:5

Wendy Watson Nelson ______________________________________________________________________ This address was given Thursday, April 30, 2015 at the BYU Women’s Conference © 2015 by Brigham Young University Women’s Conference. All rights reserved For further information write: BYU Women’s Conference 161 Harman Continuing Education Building Provo, Utah 84602 801-422-7692 E-mail: womens_conference@byu.edu Home page: http://womensconference.byu.edu ______________________________________________________________________
 Good morning, sisters! And, what a glorious morning this is. I love you! And I love what it feels like when we gather together as sisters under the direction of the Lord. I love BYU Women’s Conference. The two years I served as conference chair embedded this conference in my heart forever. Now I know it’s spring, but to me it feels just like Christmas. Being here with you today is every bit as wonderful as opening gifts on Christmas morning! When we really think about it, our covenants are a gift—a gift from God designed to get us safely back home to Him. And what a gift that is! My dear sisters, despite any anguishing life situation we may presently be in, it can feel like Christmas every day if we truly receive the gift of our covenants every day. Clearly, Nephi had deep, joy-filled feelings about the gift of our covenants. His words are the theme for this year’s conference: “My soul delighteth in the covenants of the Lord.”1 My sisters, I pray that the Holy Ghost will be the True Teacher as we consider the gift of our covenants with the Lord. We often refer to ourselves as “women of covenant” or as “covenant women.” But what does that really mean? I’ve asked myself that question over and over again in recent months. I’ve also asked other women what it means to them. One friend expressed it this way: “It means I’ve promised God that I will follow His Son in what I do, think, and say. And I’ve made those promises by entering into sacred covenants that bind me to both the Father and the Son.” Now before we go any further, let’s put our focus on covenants within the context of the days in which we live. People often ask my husband and me, “What’s one of your favorite places you’ve ever visited?” We typically answer in unison, “Our backyard—a place we don’t get to visit as often as we’d like!” But seriously, one of my favorite places is Moscow, Russia. Why? Because of what I experienced there within one 24-hour period of time, which commenced on Saturday, June 15, 2013. While my husband taught the priesthood leaders of the area, I had the privilege of being with some of the sisters. I love our Russian sisters. They are spectacular! That Saturday happened to be one of those rare spring planting days in Russia, so less than 100 of us gathered. When I went to the pulpit, I found myself saying something I’d never anticipated: “I’d like to get to know you by lineage. Please stand as the name of the tribe of Israel, as declared in your patriarchal blessing, is spoken.” These women knew each other, but they didn’t know each other’s lineage. As the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were announced, from Asher to Zebulon, and as the women stood, we were all thrilled with what we were feeling, witnessing, and being taught. We were being taught about the reality of the days in which we now live! Question: How many of the twelve tribes of Israel do you think were represented in that small gathering of less than 100 women on that Saturday in Moscow? Eleven! Eleven of the twelve tribes! All but the tribe of Levi! Now here’s another question: How fast does news travel where you live? Pretty fast? Well, it certainly travels quickly in Eastern Europe. I went directly from that unforgettable gathering to the airport to meet my husband. We then flew to Armenia, where he was to create the first stake of Zion in that country the next day. The first people we met as we got off the plane were the mission president and his wife. And the first thing she said to me was, “I’ve got Levi!” Just imagine—one of their missionaries, from Gilbert, Arizona, no less, was of the tribe of Levi! Now when I was a little girl attending Primary in Raymond, Alberta, Canada, I was taught that in the last days before the Second Coming of the Savior, the twelve tribes would be gathered. That was always thrilling and a little overwhelming to think about. So imagine what it was like for me to be with children from all twelve tribes of Israel within one 24-hour period of time. It was far beyond thrilling, and very overwhelming. My dear sisters, these are the latter days! There has never been a time like this in the history of this earth, ever! There has never been a more important time than right now to understand the gift our Father has given us as He allows us to make covenants with Him. One young mother expressed our privilege so well. She said, “To be able to make a covenant with God personally makes me feel like I matter. I really do have a purpose in the great plan of it all. There is no third party or agent ‘signing’ on my behalf or the Lord’s. The promise, the covenant I make, is directly with the Lord.” Sisters, there has never been a more important time than right now to understand the power to which we have access because of our covenants. And when we understand the gift of our covenants and the power of God that flows to us through them, we, like Nephi, will truly delight in the covenants of the Lord. For the past several months, I’ve been thinking nonstop about covenants. I’ve immersed myself in the scriptures; studied the words of prophets, seers and revelators; listened more attentively than ever to the words of our baptismal, temple, and sacrament covenants. I’ve asked great women from various places around the world—from Preston, England to Tokyo, Japan—what it means to them that they have made covenants with God. And further, as I have immersed myself in family history research, I’ve felt the unmistakable urgency of those now living on the other side of the veil who are desperate to make covenants with God, now. After all of that, I’ve come to the following conclusion: When it comes to making and keeping covenants with God, nothing is more important, and nothing is more filled with power. I’ll never forget a fascinating interchange I had with a young friend I’ll call Amy. Late one Saturday night, as I was working against the clock to complete a major project, I received an email from Amy, who was in distress. She wrote, “I was asked to speak, last minute, at my ward Relief Society activity this Wednesday. The topic is stress. I sent out a survey last night to 75 of the women here in BYU married student housing to find out what is stressing them out. After receiving their responses, I realize that I NEED HELP!!!!” As I read through the survey responses, these young wives and mothers reported they were experiencing stress, depression, anxiety, and marital intimacy problems. They listed as the cause of their problems school, finances, lack of sleep, housework, homework, feelings of failing at everything, and an inability to balance all of their responsibilities. I wondered how I should respond. What would really make a difference for these women? And what could be offered, during a 22-minute Relief Society message, which could possibly reduce the real-life distress of these young mothers? As I thought about Amy’s difficult assignment, my experiences with family history and temple work filled my mind. As counterintuitive as this may seem, I felt compelled, in a way I could not deny, to encourage Amy to offer a 21-day experiment to her Relief Society sisters. So I emailed back, “Invite the sisters to make a sacrifice of time to the Lord by increasing their time in family history and in temple work for the next 21 days.” Amy accepted this suggestion, and the results were remarkable. Here are just three examples of what happened. One young wife and mother wrote, “During the 21 days that I increased my temple attendance and my family history work, I not only felt happier, I felt a sense of relief. I felt a weight had been taken off my chest. When I made time to do these things—which is hard because we all are busy—I found that somehow I had more time to get other things done that needed to be done.” Another woman was able to stop taking her medication for anxiety. Her positive changes in mood, energy, and inspiration were so dramatic that she wrote, “My husband started to pray in gratitude for the increased Spirit in our home since I have been making sacrifices of time to the Lord in temple and family history work.” And yet another sister reported, “I have a two-year-old and just had a baby last week. The 21-day experiment helped with the end of my pregnancy. The sacrifice of time to do family history was something I could do sitting down that was productive and brought the Spirit! It gave me more purpose and helped me not to focus on the discomforts of the end of my pregnancy.” Sisters, my suggestion to a group of overtaxed, exhausted young mothers may seem counterintuitive, and the results highly improbable. It may even seem cruel to ask a woman who feels as though she’s barely surviving to make a sacrifice of time to the Lord. But these young mothers proved that it works. It works for women who have made covenants with God. Why? Because when covenant women keep their covenants, they have greater access to the power of God. The power of God flows into them, and that power, His power, generates a decrease in stress, an increase in energy, more and clearer revelation for their lives, renewed focus, courage to make needed changes, an increase in patience, and more time for what matters. That’s what these young mothers taught me as they kept their covenant of sacrifice. Elder D. Todd Christofferson taught that increased spiritual power comes to us as we keep our covenants. He was explicit in his counsel that “in times of distress, let your covenants be paramount, and let your obedience be exact.”2 That’s exactly what those young covenant women did! They were in distress, they focused on their covenant of sacrifice, they let that covenant be “paramount,” and they were exactly obedient. And what happened? Their distress fell away! Would you be willing to try an experiment? What would happen if between now and Christmas we each selected a 21-day period of time and then did whatever it took in order to make a sacrifice of time to the Lord by increasing the time we spend in temple work and in family history work during those 21 days? What blessings, miracles, and other positive changes would come to our lives? Sisters, just as keeping our covenant of sacrifice will bring the power of God to our lives, I’ve learned from covenant women that the power of God also flows to them when they keep their covenant of service! While the world would tell women that the very best way to be rejuvenated is by taking a vacation, or going on a shopping spree, or visiting a spa, I believe that covenant women are far more likely to be rejuvenated through serving, especially if they are able to delight in that covenant together with other women. I learned that principle 16 years ago, right here at BYU Women’s Conference in 1999. I was serving as the Women’s Conference chair, and during our months of planning, several of us had the idea that adding a service project to the conference would be powerful. The idea felt inspired. We thought others would cheer! But we were wrong. Dead wrong. Some on the committee felt strongly that a service project would backfire. One statement made during an exchange filled with energy has been emblazoned upon my memory ever since: “Women don't come to Women’s Conference to serve; they come to relax and get away from it all!" Gratefully, the Relief Society General Presidency saw wisdom in the idea, and ultimately the very first service event at a BYU Women’s Conference unfolded. That pioneering effort of 1999 was thrilling! It was successful beyond anything any of us imagined, even though it now pales in comparison to the scope of service rendered right here, every year. Sixteen years later, I am even more convinced that weary covenant women are revitalized as the power of God flows into their lives when they keep their covenant of service. As we keep our covenants, to what else do we have access? Joseph Smith declared that if we as covenant women “live up to (our) privilege,” the angels will not be able to be restrained from being our associates. Our “privilege” includes our covenants. Our covenants are a “privilege”! Therefore, as we live up to our covenants, the angels will not be able to be restrained from being our associates.3 We could also say it this way: As we keep our covenants, we can ask for angels to help us. Literally! It was during Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s April 2010 general conference talk that I first learned this truth. He said, “Ask for angels to help you.” He said it with such clarity, and yet in a manner that implied this was something we all knew. But for me it was an entirely new principle. I wanted to call out, “Wait! Wait! What? You mean I could have been asking for angels to help me all this time?” Without intending to sound too dramatic, I can say with all candor that Elder Holland’s six words changed my life. “Ask for angels to help you.” That counsel changed my prayers, changed my understanding of the very real help from heaven that is always available to us as we keep our covenants. I started to ask for assistance from those on the other side of the veil from that moment on. Now I’m not talking about praying for fantasy angels with wings to magically fairy-dust our problems away. I’m not talking about praying to angels. I’m talking about praying to your Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, for those on the other side to be “dispatched” (Elder Holland’s word) to assist you. Perhaps a loved one or two could be sent to help you with whatever you need. Can you imagine the effort it took those angels who pushed from the rear of handcarts as they helped the pioneers over the steep, snowy, windy, freezing, jagged terrain of Rocky Ridge? If angels can manage that, they can certainly help you and me over our present Rocky Ridges. We know the Lord gets His work done with the help of His angels. So could you use a little more help in your life? If so, keep your covenants with more exactness than ever before. And then ask for angels to help you with whatever you need. Or ask for them to be dispatched to help those you love. Does your child need help? Is your husband in trouble? Does your aunt need comfort? Does your best friend need direction? Ask for angels to be assigned to help them. As a covenant-keeping woman, you can do just that! One of my former institute students, let’s call her Barbara, followed through with that suggestion with thrilling results. Barbara has served as proxy for many of my ancestors. During a few particular temple sessions, Barbara had special experiences with a woman named Genevieve and with Genevieve’s sisters. Barbara felt a deep connection with them. So she prayed and asked if Genevieve and her sisters, who now live on the other side of the veil, could be dispatched to help Barbara’s own sister, who lives on this side of the veil. Barbara’s sister had not been active in the Church for years, and she was having heart-wrenching difficulties with some rigorous life events. Here are Barbara’s words: “I prayed that my sister could find peace in this world; that she could find direction back to Heavenly Father; that the sisters of Genevieve could help her find her way back, and watch over her in this process. A few weeks later my sister told me that she was taking her three boys to church! Later she asked me how to get her patriarchal blessing. The eldest boy turned eight this summer and was baptized. And my sister is now attending temple preparation classes.” How can we explain such miracles? Mormon tells us, “My beloved [sisters], have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. . . . And the office of their ministry is to call men [and women] to repentance, and to fulfill and to do the work of the covenants of the Father.”4 Now let’s shift and talk about the power of perspective our covenants can provide. We know that our covenants with God did not start here on this earth, and they will not end here! We know that we made covenants with God premortally. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons we “shouted for joy.” Sisters, we are grateful for the veil of forgetfulness. It heightens the testing feature of our mortal probation. And wow, what a test this is turning out to be for each one of us! But if the veil was lifted and we could look back, we would see ourselves as His spirit daughters making premortal covenants with God our Heavenly Father. Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught that we made premortal covenants about particular assignments, callings, and missions we would fulfill here on earth. Perhaps that’s why some callings bring such a reassuring feeling at the very same time we feel so ill prepared! Fulfilling the wonderful missions for which we were sent to earth is one of the sure ways we can find peace and joy in this spook alley of mortal life. Elder John A Widtsoe taught that we covenanted premortally to be partners with the Father and the Son in Their work to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”5 When we made that premortal covenant, did we ever imagine just how much time we would need to spend shepherding and rescuing others? How many hours teaching and preaching the gospel? Did we have any clue about the number of hours on FamilySearch and Family Tree we would need to spend? And the numerous hours in the temple we would need to devote, all so we could fulfill this stunning premortal covenant? Did we have any idea about how many things we would need to give up doing so we would have time to help others return Home to receive all that the Father hath? My dear sisters, here is what I strongly believe about the power of perspective our premortal covenants would provide: I believe that if we could see ourselves making our premortal covenants with Heavenly Father, all of our anguish, grief, and heartache would fall away. And we would say, “Oh, now I remember! This heart-wrenching experience makes sense now!" Here’s another example. Think of this truth: Commencing with Adam and Eve, all righteous men and women who love the Lord and have accepted His gospel have made covenants with Him. Think of any of the covenant woman down through the ages whom we love and admire—from Sarah and Rachel to Sariah and Rebecca, from Lois to Abish, from Sister Noah to Sister Daniel, from Sister Peter to Sister James and Sister John, from Eve to Emma and Eliza. Each of these women made the very same covenants with God that you and I made. Therefore, our covenants with God connect us with other women who have made covenants with God. I love to think of that! The very fact that temple covenants and ordinances seem so different from our Sunday worship meetings is just another testimony of their truthfulness. They are ancient! Literally the Ancient of Days, meaning Adam, with Eve received those covenants—our very covenants—from God! Now just for a moment, imagine two gigantic mirrors placed parallel to each other with their reflecting surfaces facing each other. Picture the more than 15,000 of us here today standing in front of one of the mirrors and looking into it, with the other mirror parallel behind us. What would we see? We would see numberless images of women, stretching into infinity. Can you see that in your mind’s eye? Freeze-frame that image. As you look at that picture, you are seeing the number of covenant women with whom you and I are connected each and every time we make a covenant with God. And each and every time we keep those sacred obligations. It has been said that the present fascination some women have with social media is related to the need women have to be connected with other women, to support each other, to know what’s happening in each other’s lives, to have other women know and approve of what we’re doing. We want “witnesses” for our lives! With the image of the two parallel mirrors in mind, let’s consider this question: Do we as covenant women need more friends on Facebook? Or do we need to experience more of the beautifully familiar, unmistakably divine feeling of being connected with—perhaps more accurately said, reconnected with—millions of other women who have made covenants with God? On a day when we don’t think anyone cares about us and our struggles or about all we’ve been trying to do, what would happen if we took just a moment to look with our mind’s eye into those two parallel reflecting mirrors and see the truth? Because the truth is that each and every day you and I let our covenants influence our thoughts and words and actions, we are inseparably connected to millions and millions of covenant women—women from the beginning of time down through each and every gospel dispensation. Talk about friends we hope will “like” us! And now, to talk about another perspective, let me tell you of an unexpected journey I’ve been on for the past two and a half years. After studying more than 100 times Elder Richard G. Scott’s October 2012 general conference address entitled “The Joy of Redeeming the Dead,” I have morphed from a woman who basically went into a coma whenever she heard the words “family history” to one who now feels an irrepressible urgency to find a birth, marriage, death, or census record to uniquely identify one more ancestor. I am now a woman desperately driven by the desire not to waste time that I could have spent helping those who are desperate for covenants. And now for me, super-sleuthing a mother’s maiden name trumps watching any detective movie I used to enjoy. And no one is more surprised than I am! How did this happen? When Elder Scott said to me, with 15 million others listening in, “This work is a spiritual work,” I believed him. And I found myself praying, “Please lead me to those who are ready to make covenants with Thee and receive their ordinances.” That prayer opened the heavens for me! When Elder Scott taught that “some sacrifice” would be involved, I believed him. But I couldn’t think of anything I could sacrifice. I thought I was using my time really well on things that really mattered. And then I thought about the time I spent playing Scrabble by myself on my iPad. I set Scrabble aside for two months. Now that may not seem like much of a sacrifice, but for me it was giving up a bit of harmless fun. In the first two weeks, I learned three things I can never forget: First, those on the other side of the veil are very much alive, and not all that cheerful about being called “dead”; second, they are eager—no, actually they are desperate—to make covenants with God, and to receive their essential ordinances by proxy, and to be freed from spirit prison! Covenants, and only covenants with their associated ordinances, have the power to unlock the gates behind which our ancestors live. So as wonderful as it is to know stories about Grandma—for example, that she loved peaches and poems—if we don’t do whatever it takes to ensure that she has the privilege to make covenants with God and receive her essential ordinances, guess what? Grandma is still in prison. And I’m not sure just how long she’s going to be cheerful about that! The third thing I learned is that we are the only Church on the planet with the power and authority from God to perform these ordinances. Oh, and actually I learned one other thing: Family history is really fun! Even more fun than Scrabble! So, if you’d like a little more joy in your life, a little more meaning, more heart-to-heart connections, more focus, energy, motivation, more of so many wonderful things, make time to help those on the other side make covenants with God. The power of God will flow into your life as you do. What else can we do to keep and increase the flow of God’s power in our lives? President Gordon B. Hinckley taught a great truth at the dedication of the Conference Center in October 2000. In the concluding session of that general conference, President Hinckley’s parting words included this counsel: “The great ‘Hosanna’ salutation in which we participated this morning should remain an unforgettable experience. From time to time, we can repeat quietly in our minds, when we are alone, those beautiful words of worship.”6 My dear sisters, if it is good for us to repeat quietly in our minds, when we are alone, the beautiful words of worship of the “Hosanna” salutation, wouldn’t it be good for us to follow that same pattern with other beautiful words of worship? What about the beautiful words of our baptismal and temple covenants, and other sublime words spoken in the temple? There is spiritual power in the words of our covenants. Do we know the words? Do we know what we said we would do? Do we know what the Lord has promised? Sometimes when we hear words frequently, they can become background noise rather than a foreground focus to help us worship. But we can change that. We can make a personal plan for learning and remembering the words of our covenants. It will take some effort, but we can do it! How would our experience with the sacrament change if we imagined the Savior to be The One blessing the bread and water, just as He did for His Twelve Apostles? Can you picture that? And then, if the Savior stood before us, and while offering the emblems to us and looking directly into your eyes and mine, said, “Are you willing to take upon you my name this week? Are you willing to always remember me? Are you willing to keep my commandments this week? Would we then, truly and finally, experience a cleansing of our spirits and “the wounds of [our] spirits being healed, and [our] loads . . . lifted?”7 And what about our temple covenants? What can change for us as we learn, feel deeply, and remember the words of our temple covenants? Let me tell you about another young friend. Let’s call her Jean. Jean was put on bed rest during her second pregnancy and couldn’t attend the temple for a little while. Jean wrote, “I was sincerely struggling with feelings of being pulled so many different ways and of entering a new season of life that just didn’t lend itself to weekly temple attendance at that point. It was in response to these feelings and prayerful pleadings that the words entered my mind, ‘You may not always be able to go through the temple, but you are always able to have the temple go through you.’ That was my answer and the one I so desperately needed!” Jean continued, “Now, I daily repeat the words we say in the temple (in my mind, of course) every morning as I get ready for the day. I reverently and with power say those words in my mind. I recovenant and rededicate myself each new day.” Now clearly, Jean had been paying close attention during her previous weekly time in the temple. For many of us, we can start now. Each time we go to the temple, we can really focus on and learn the words of one more covenant, or perhaps those of one more associated ordinance. And then we can do what President Hinckley advised: “From time to time, we can repeat quietly in our minds, when we are alone, those beautiful words of worship.”8 A dear friend recently did just that on a day when she didn’t feel well and yet was less than one hour away from a major and highly stressful assignment. She wrote, “As I waited alone in my car before the event, and because I physically didn’t feel well, I chose to focus on the words of the initiatory. As those words went through my mind, I actually started to feel a little bit better. Plus, they gave me a feeling of peace and assurance that somehow I’d get through the assignment.” Just think of the power that is available to us in our sacred words of worship! My husband taught this profound truth: “The highest compliment is to be called a covenant keeper.”9 My dear sisters, as covenant keepers, our covenants change everything in our lives—for the better. They change our identity and ultimate destination. They change the road we’re traveling on through this life—because now, we’re on the covenant path that leads back Home. And no GPS of the world can ever find that road! As covenant keepers, what we want out of life, what we are willing to spend our time, energy, and money on, what we think is entertaining, what we think is appealing—all change. As covenant keepers, our desire to be someone the Lord can count on increases exponentially, no matter what He asks us to do. As covenant keepers, how we feel about the Savior changes forever. He is real to us in a way He’s never been before. How we feel about His Atonement changes. We relish repentance. And we seek gifts of the Spirit, one by one, to turn our weak things into strengths. As covenant keepers our prayers change—because we are now bound to Heavenly Father, and we’re tied closer than ever to our Savior Jesus Christ. Personal revelation becomes something we prepare for and expect. As covenant keepers our past, present, and future can all change. Everything can change for the better as we keep our covenants, including our very nature! So, in the words of Elder Holland, “if you have made covenants, keep them. If you haven’t made them, make them. If you have made them and broken them, repent and repair them.”10 My dear covenant sisters, these latter days are our days. Are we ready? We can be, as we make and keep our covenants with God. We can be morally strong covenant women who are sin-resistant Saints—women who, because of time spent in the temple, know how to deal with the adversary and how to pray with power. We can be diligent covenant women who are true disciples of Jesus Christ in this digital age and who know how to use technology righteously! We can be articulate covenant women who are consistently seeking to understand the doctrine of Jesus Christ so that we are not swayed by every “wind of doctrine”11 that blows through a blog! We can be enlightened covenant women who seek to understand more about our covenants— women who understand that when we let the Lord know we are serious about learning more, He will teach us! We can be wise covenant women who eagerly remove from our lives anything that is preventing us from receiving even more of God’s power. It is my testimony, my dear sisters, that there is nothing more important than making covenants with God and then keeping them with increasing precision, because making covenants with God calls forth the divine within us. And keeping our covenants with God allows Him to pour His divine power into us. 

1. 2 Nephi 11:5.
2. “The Power of Covenants,” Ensign, May 2009. 
3. Relief Society Minute Book, Nauvoo, Illinois, Apr. 28, 1842, Church History Library, 38.
4. Moroni 7: 29, 31. 5. Moses 1:39. 
6. “An Humble and a Contrite Heart,” Ensign, Nov. 2000. 
7. Melvin J. Ballard in Ballard: Crusader for Righteousness (1966), 132–133. 
8. “An Humble and a Contrite Heart,” Ensign, Nov. 2000. 
9. Russell M. Nelson, “Covenants,” Ensign, Nov. 2011. 
10. “The Laborers in the Vineyard,” Ensign, May 2012. 
11. Ephesians 4:14. 


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