The Holy Spirit witnessed to me that my stage in my continuing conversion process was far from where I wanted it to be. Unbeknownst to me, I had allowed myself to fall far to the side of where I wanted to be. I was swimming in the stream of filth alongside the path to the Tree.
How did I get there? Why was I there? How could I fall so far, so fast?
Spite. Anger. Betrayal. And I felt like I had a RIGHT to those emotions. After all, I had been lied to and betrayed, right?
Then, I prayed. I poured myself into The Book of Mormon. I read Isaiah.
I was impressed to seek to be closer to God. First I needed to change my environment. I turned off the worldly entertainment, both video and audio. I deleted all of the apps.
I turned on Gospel music and General Conference talks. I spent hours every day reading and pondering on scriptures.
In April’s talk “Hear Him,” President Nelson taught:
It has never been more imperative to know how the Spirit speaks to you than right now. In the Godhead, the Holy Ghost is the messenger. He will bring thoughts to your mind which the Father and Son want you to receive. He is the Comforter. He will bring a feeling of peace to your heart. He testifies of truth and will confirm what is true as you hear and read the word of the Lord.
I prayed again.
The Holy Spirit said in answer, “The natural man includes the temptation to hold grudges. Anything that is not based in Love, not based in God, in good, is none of these things. There is no darkness in the Lighte.”
I was given the impression that I needed to forgive.
When I asked God how I could forgive those wrongs that the world around me proclaimed my right to hold in a grudge for all their lives. Often using phrases that begin, “I could forgive anything except _______.”
Didn’t I have a right to my anger? But…???!!
I prayed again.
Immediately I heard, “What have I forgiven of you?”
I was flooded with images of my own sins from before I was Baptized in 2013. I was informed by the Holy Spirit that God no longer remembered those sins, as He promised. However, I was being shown that I must forgive, as He had forgiven me.
I needed to forgive all who I felt had wronged me in any way, and I had to ask them for forgiveness for all the ways in which I had wronged them.
That impression began days of crying and repentance. I wrote and sent a letter I was impressed to send. I removed blocks on social media that were placed in haste.
As I struggled, I asked a friend to pray with me. I asked for a prayer, and instead received a Blessing. Within that Priesthood Blessing, once again God told me He knows my name. So many tears. So much Testimony. Oh how I love God.
He is perfecting me. Line by line. Precept by precept. I love the Lord.
May God be with you. In Love and His Holy Lighte. I’ll write more very soon.
In last week’s Come Follow Me lessons in the New Testament, we read:
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
In my Come Follow Me study group comprised of several people of all different walks of life, I was startled at a question left hanging for more than four days, “Peter came to learn that the blessings of the gospel are meant for people everywhere. The Church today is composed of a variety of people from many different backgrounds. How are Church members blessed by such diversity?”
I can tell you that it has been an incredible blessing to me and my Testimony in Jesus Christ, to have met a pioneer of diversity in our time, Brother Dennis Schleicher, and spoken to him about his love of our mutual church, Heavenly Father, and what it is like to find his church home.
Dennis Schleicher is a gay man. Dennis has known he was gay for most of his life. When he joined a network marketing company and saw members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were his superiors acting in a way that he admired, never judging, always edifying God and the people who worked for them, he asked them what religion they belonged to. They replied they were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This kept happening to Dennis. The people who he admired, who treated him with love and friendship and welcomed him into their lives in an excited manner, were members of The Church and bore their Testimonies gently but constantly in their actions and words.
Dennis would ‘steal’ a Book of Mormon from a Marriott hotel (before realizing that the Marriott chain is the largest distributor of The Book of Mormon, having them in each hotel room for their guests) without really knowing why. As he told me in our interview, he “took the thing and shoved it in [his] bag.”
The supposed thievery was short-lived because he blurted out a confession to 8 missionaries at the airport about stealing the book, then proceeded to take a selfie with the missionaries and the ‘stolen’ Book of Mormon. At the time he had no clue, thinking it was all in fun, but the sparkle in the eyes of those gentle servants of our Heavenly Father show they felt his testimony growing.
His network marketing friends would invite him on a trip to go to Palmyra, New York and they suggested he read Al Carraway’s book, More than a Tattooed Mormon, but Dennis was confused and thought, “Why would I want to read about some tattooed woman, I’m afraid of needles!” It would be another year before he would relent. But he did read the stolen Book of Mormon and quickly gained a testimony.
Dennis knows what it is like to be the victim of brutal hate crimes, having been attacked as a teenager, and found empathy within the stories of the history of Joseph Smith Jr. and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, just as he had found a friend in Jesus Christ through his faith in our Savior. Before too long, he had received the impression from the Holy Spirit to follow his Testimony to the waters of Baptism.
On August 19, 2017, Dennis was Baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His baptism was remarkable for many reasons, but not as miraculous as the next year would be. Dennis would receive First Presidency Approval to attend and receive his Temple blessings on August 11, 2018.
After over a year of hearing the suggestions to read Sister Carraway’s book, Dennis relented and downloaded the audio version and began listening to it. “This woman is telling my story,” were Dennis’s first thoughts. His second, after finishing her book, was to write his own.
Dennis subsequently had a conversation with an unnamed General Authority who stated, “Son, we need more LGBT children in the House of the Lord and in this church,” then asked Dennis what his LGBT+ friends say when he tells them he converted to The Church.
Dennis answered, “They say ‘Is he NUTS?! Why would a gay man become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?!”
The General Authority then stated, “There’s the title of your book.” And it was so.
Although Dennis states emphatically that he “did not become a member of The Church to write a book,” I can’t imagine a better medium for this exuberant and joy-filled missionary-minded member to spread his love of Jesus Christ and for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
With all of this excitement surrounding his upcoming book launch, I wanted to ask Dennis what message he wanted to leave other people who were struggling with their part in our diverse church, and this is what is said:
I bear your burden with you. You are still a fellow brother or sister to me. This is my story, my journey, it is what is working for me.
Please don’t judge me – know that I love and care for all of you. We are all loving children of God.
If you’d like to hear more of Dennis’s testimony in his own words, please listen to this podcast in which Richard Ostler interviewed Dennis this spring:
It’s been almost two years now, since I left New Hampshire in a van given to me by God and His angels, helping me to make it home to Olympia, Washington after The Car That Ran on Prayerswas finally laid to rest in Manchester in late June 2017. I recently reflected on my Testimony about how God guided me home.
The Whisper: A Baby’s on the Way
The Spirit’s whisper was like a hope I dared not have…my daughter and her husband had been trying for years and wanted a baby so much, was the whisper I could feel just hope?
Go Home, it said…Go back to where you came from…Go Home to Washington…There’s a baby on the way…you’ll hear around your birthday…Have a home established by October…
I shared the feeling with my daughter and my mother and perhaps a special friend along the way on a Fourth of July birthday…but for the most part I kept it quiet. After all, it was just a hope…right?
grandtwins celebrate their birthday in july
The hope of a grandchild via my daughter was not a substitute for my grandchildren already here. My twin granddaughters were celebrating their 9th birthday in mid-July and I wanted to be there. They had recently moved and the area they now lived in was not only familiar to me, but one I wouldn’t mind living in myself.
The girls were excited to see how much my puppy had grown in the six months since we’d been to the area and they loved the seashells from the coast of Florida, but questions remained about where I would live.
Priorities: Finding a Therapist
When I arrived in Olympia after a long road trip with some very special rest stops in places with names like Nauvoo and Kirtland, then with friends in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado then in Eastern Oregon, I was ready to settle down. Unfortunately, my hometown had been undergoing quite a bit of growth and there was no room at any proverbial Inn. The Pacific Northwest’s occupancy rate for low-income apartments was approaching 98%. There was nothing open.
I stayed with a friend, then camped a bit. For a few of the hotter days, the dogs and I got a hotel room…but as I attended church with the Olympia 4th Ward, I prayed for God to tell me where I could find a therapist who was female, specialized in my rare condition AND was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although that may sound like a tall order, as a person with a severe mental disorder who also believes heavily in the principle of personal revelation, it is imperative that I have a therapist who understands the basic tenants of our church.
God listens to my prayers. A woman about my age or perhaps a couple of years older sat down next to me and I sparked up a conversation. Turned out she was the Stake Relief Society President and was giving a talk that day. I thought to myself, it’s always my luck to sit next to a Stake official…I had no idea who she was and who she knew. After her talk and Sacrament meeting coming to a close, we continued our conversation. For some reason, I shared with her my diagnosis and challenge of finding a therapist with that specialty.
The Relief Society President shared that her occupation was that of a therapist, and she personally and professionally was aware of a colleague who specialized in my disorder who was, in fact, also female and a church member. I asked for her contact information.
When I first called Dr. S, I was discouraged by the message that she was not taking new clients, but was impressed to leave a message with my details and diagnosis.
The next day, I received a call from her office asking for more information. They were able to schedule me an appointment in the next week. That appointment came quickly and I loved her.
Once Dr. S was on board, I asked her about her Ward…it turned out she belonged to the same one as my granddaughters! Seriously?!
Throughout this time, I kept going by an apartment complex I rented a unit in when I first moved out of my mom’s home as a young adult. I loved the units, having assigned parking spaces, a washer and dryer in each unit and a fireplace in each as well.
Late in August, smoke from forest fires overwhelmed the area. My asthma was insane. I couldn’t breathe. I heard a whisper from Holy Spirit reminding me of a gift card I was given for my graduation a few months before. It seemed perfect, I just finished my final undergrad class on August 20th, I would take that gift card and follow the Holy Ghost’s suggestion of a short road trip around “The Loop” of the Olympia Peninsula and out of the smoke, before checking out the apartment complex at the beginning of September to see if there had been any notices for one-bedrooms becoming available.
Forks and the Dosewallips river were gorgeous. The dogs ran on the beach and I tried to plakate my anxiety. I shared time with friends on the Hood Canal, reminding me of a time long ago with my grandparents. All too soon, it was time to head back to find out if anyone was moving out of a one-bedroom apartment or if I was going to have to expand my searching.
I followed The Spirit’s promptings to the letter on that morning. I remember stopping for a few minutes and talking with the grandtwin’s other grandma…then telling her it was “time to go.”
When I walked into the office, my hopes were high. I was not disappointed. The next few days were full of anxious interactions, but by September 20th, I was holding a key in my hand.
But wait, I hadn’t even seen the apartment I applied for!
On the afternoon of September 20th, 2017, exactly seven and a half years TO THE DAY from the day I became homeless, I held a key in my hand to an apartment.
I followed the assistant manager to the building. To my relief, she was going down the short staircase to the bottom apartment instead of up to either of the second or third floor. I wouldn’t know just how much of a blessing that was until a few months later when I became wheelchair-bound (but that’s another story…).
A Birthday Announcement
Now that I was in the northwest, visiting my daughter at her office was possible. Since her office was next to a physician of mine, it became easy and fun for a few months. During one of these visits, my daughter shared a secret that she and her husband would not make public until the week of my October birthday: They were expecting a baby. Finally.
I happened to be in Seattle visiting my brother, with my mom in late May 2018 when we got the call that my daughter was in labor and on the way to the hospital.
Their precious daughter, Jaina, would be born just after midnight, May 22nd, about a year and a few weeks after I first felt her presence in my personal revelation. The knowledge she was on her way allowed me to prepare myself to be a better grandma for all of my grandchildren.
Two years later, I am still blown away by the blessings showered upon me by God. I still listen to His promptings, and there are many. Few promptings are as profound as being rehomed after 7.5 years of homelessness, full-circle into my first home as an adult with the full mental health support I desperately required just in time for the birth of my fourth grandchild.
My Saturday nights used to be pretty eventful. Sometimes, in fact, back in the LBC (Life Before Church), Saturday nights went on so long, Sunday morning got involved. Sometimes, there was even breakfast.
When my new friends in my new church explained that the only reason for breaking Sabbath was if the “oxen were in the mire,” I took it to heart. I interpreted that as if something that was life or death for a living being, it needed to be taken care of. I know it has been used to do dishes if there were dirty ones and nothing to eat on or other chores that need to be done.
Being so new in the Gospel, I didn’t want to break my observance of the Sabbath & my reverence towards my Heavenly Father for little things that could be taken care of Saturday or Monday. There are six other days in the week, if it couldn’t be done by Saturday night, it can be done on Monday…. right?!
Thus birthed my new Saturday night routine…. herding my proverbial oxen away from the mire.
I spend Saturday; most especially Saturday night, making sure that I have taken care of little and big things that could become bigger and more immediately important on Sunday. I also take care of those chores that will eat at me while I would rather be sitting and studying my Scriptures or watching a General Conference talk. Or even sitting in quiet meditation, pondering after a prayer.
A floor that is begging to be vacuumed or mopped, potatoes needing to be peeled or an item of clothing I would like to wear to church not being clean, are things that will annoy me on Sunday but I have no desire to break my observance of the Sabbath to deal with them. So, I spend Saturday doing those things that may have been annoying me since Thursday; but will definitely put me over the edge of annoyance on Sunday if not taken care of on Saturday. You know, that q-tip that fell on the floor, but you didn’t want to bend over to pick up when it happened? Those things.
Now that I’ve been in the Gospel for six years, I admit there are times that I become lazy and I notice it on Sunday. I originally wrote this post in the Spring of 2014, when I was freshly Baptized; I think The Lord knew I needed a reminder.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland addressed the concept of herding one’s oxen in his General Conference talk this last spring in his talk, “Behold, The Lamb of God,” wherein he admonished us to hold the Sabbath reverently. Elder Holland excused parents with arms full of fussy babies, then reminded us, “an occasional tardiness is understandable, but if the ox is in the mire every Sunday, then we strongly recommend that you sell the ox or fill the mire.”
I agree with Elder Holland, and am taking his advice about herding my oxen before they run into the mire, to heart. I now have an excellent helper in that task with my new caregiver, a recent convert herself.
If I Follow Him, I will always have busy Saturdays. My oxen and I have a standing date. Kinda like the one I have with my Heavenly Father and Lord and Savior with the Holy Spirit on Sundays.
The part I failed to do due diligence with, was the Facebook page previously associated with Slightely Mormon, which I would now be attempting to change to some semblance of “Sister Maggie.” Facebook Pages were not having it. You see, I had created the Slightely Mormon Facebook page BEFORE Facebook had set up a certain setting for personal blogs, and on their side, they set it up as a business.
Here’s the thing: This website does NOT generate any money. I PAY out of my personal disability pension for the ability to share my testimony here with you. I receive NO money whatsoever. There is not any way that you can call this a business. If it was, it would be a failed one. As it is, what this site is, is a place to share my Testimony. This site SUCCESSFULLY reaches thousands of people every year in over 15 countries.
Regardless of the fact it is not a business and has never been one, Facebook would not back down: They refused to change the name of my page. They stated the name was not “Facebook official.” So I created a new page with a name I was trying to change Slightely Mormon to…and then attempted to merge the pages. Facebook insisted I was attempting to merge a personal blog with a business. Seriously?!
Why must there be so much opposition in the world? This is the question I began asking myself when dealing with this social media outlet that was not allowing me one inch. They would ONLY deal with me through robots, giving the same answer to all questions. All appeals were denied. There seemed no place to turn. What was the answer?
But really, does there have to be one? For now, there are two pages. I don’t want anyone who enjoys my writing to be left out in the cold if I delete the page Slightely Mormon. I will be sharing posts from this page on both social media pages, but as always the BEST way to make sure you don’t miss out on any is to subscribe to this blog . I appreciate greatly anyone already doing so.
This site url was changed from SlightelyMormon.org to SisterMaggie.com, although both will point here until the end of the year. Perhaps I will give it that much time for social media to catch up as well. Perhaps I will keep Slightely Mormon, we shall see.
Peering down, I could barely see President Nelson standing at the podium in the field usually reserved for nine innings of one of my least favorite games. This was the first time I had been at Safeco Field for any reason. I switched my gaze up to the “Jumbotron” where the Prophet of God’s face was as clear as day. His voice not only echoed due to the less than optimal acoustics in Safeco Field, but it reverberated in my chest. I felt a confirming witness of his words comfort me and bless me as he spoke. I tried to quickly scribble down every word in the new composition book I brought for the event but failed miserably. I kept getting distracted by the power that filled the stadium: Priesthood Power. The Power of a God who seemed to fill the stadium with His love.
In the year I have been a member of the Olympia Second Ward, I have gained many friends. I was so happy that I could catch a ride with some of them who shared a few of my physical challenges. The traffic was a little heavy through Tacoma, but we pressed north. When we took our exit, we noticed cars filled with other members heading in the same direction. Soon we found the parking garage and headed to a disabled spot on the roof.
After a relatively short line (the lines below us were back and forth and around blocks), we went through the metal detectors and then over a sky bridge. The ushers directed us to an elevator where we walked (all four of us with canes), then stood in line to go down to the 100 level. When we made it to the 100 level, an usher attempted to find seating for four disabled members but decided that our needs could be met better in one of the suites upstairs. We were given a pass for a suite, then directed back to the elevator and back up to the suite level.
The walk around the stadium to an open suite was excruciating but worth it. The four of us in our van were each disabled. Three with broken backs. The freedom to have a suite to sit in several soft chairs, then to be able to walk around in a private area all while not missing one word of the Prophet’s talk was a true gift from God to four disabled Latter-day Saints. It was a gift that set the tone for the evening.
I was relaxing and putting my feet up while going through some of the photos I had already taken of the suite and the stadium, when we heard members that were sitting in the suite’s seating exclaim, “That’s you!” They were referring to an Instagram post I had made that was being displayed on a Jumbotron screen that I couldn’t see from my vantage point. I smiled at the camaraderie the post caused both in our suite with the strangers become a suite family and the text I received from other Ward members who had seen it. I blushed.
After I missed being embarrassed on the Jumbotron (for a writer with a heavy social media presence, I am remarkably shy in some situations), I decided to change my seating to the combination desk/bar seating that the suite windows open up to. I could see the Jumbotron and the field filling up with Latter-day Saints from around the northwest. As the time neared, even the outfield seats began filling up. The overwhelming feeling of love in the stadium was felt by more than just the members. Workers who were in and out of the suites began to comment that we were not their normal crowd.
President Eyring began the talks after an introduction of hymns and prayer with statements about the character of God and His Prophets, “God is omniscient and omnipotent…Prophets give us revelation to assist us in our daily life.”
He asked us to seek and receive personal revelation to confirm the words of Prophets who receive direction in our lives. He expressed that we should NOT blindly follow what the prophet invites us to do. It is up to each one of us to confirm that the President of the Church is leading us all in the right direction.
Following President Eyring’s talk, Sister Wendy Nelson surprised the four of us with her insight into the private life of a Prophet of God. Never before could I have found myself picturing President Nelson in his bedroom closet writing revelation for us all on a yellow-lined pad of paper after his wife was called out of the bedroom by God. I never could have imagined that a Prophet’s wife would be awoken and told (by the Holy Spirit) to leave her own bedroom in the middle of the night so that her husband could in essence, ‘speak’ or really, get spoken to, by God.
Sister Wendy Nelson’s testimony of her relationship with her husband, our Prophet and the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a stirring insight into their personal lives. One I never imagined having. Sister Nelson’s witness that President Nelson appears to grow much younger than his 94 years was confirmed by each person watching his talk which was next.
President Nelson opened with remarks about the fact it was his first time to speak at a baseball stadium, and then proceeded to share a story about his family whitewater rafting. In that experience, President Nelson learned it was important to hold tight to the raft, just as it is important for each of us to hold tight in our lives to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
He reiterated his witness that reading the Book of Mormon every day immunizes us against the evils of the day and allows us to draw closer to the Lord.
President Nelson invited each person who is not on the path to return and not to allow the temptations of the world distract from the real reason we are on Earth.
“The Lord uses the unlikely to do the impossible,” was one of the lessons President Nelson stated he had learned in life. He followed and preceded this statement with his experiences after having been given the prophetic task of opening Eastern Europe to the preaching of the Gospel. He stated, “The Lord likes effort, He blesses our best efforts.”
The page following these notes in my composition book selected for this event is filled with a personal revelation written while President Nelson was finishing this portion of his talk. My testimony of the lesson, “The Lord uses the unlikely to do the impossible” is strong.
One of the most significant changes to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since the mantle of Prophet fell on President Nelson has been the evolution of “Home and Visiting Teachers” to “Ministering.” The Prophet spoke about the life lesson he had learned about focusing on others as a part of the ministering lessons to us all.
“We long to build bridges of cooperation rather than walls of segregation,” President Nelson seemed to speak to the hearts of the Pacific Northwest audience, before closing with a blessing for us all.
If any in the audience doubted Sister Wendy Nelson’s allegation that he was growing younger, the veritable leap President Nelson performed out of his seat, interrupting the closing hymn’s prelude, and back to the podium to correct the number in attendance did much to assuage it.
The corrected number was 49,089. It was a record for a non-sports event in Safeco Field.
As a member who lives in an area that has been characterized as the “least religious in America,” I was very very happy to see that many of my Latter-day family turn out. The power of the Priesthood was palpable and heartwarming.
Hi! My name is Maggie (actually “Margaret”) Slighte. I am one of many Margarets in my family. Since both of my grandmother’s names were “Margaret,” I don’t think that my parents had much of a choice when naming me. I loved both of my “Margaret” grandma’s and my “Margaret” aunt and I am happy to continue the tradition.
In February 2013, my interest in my family history was rekindled. I had started working on family history over ten years earlier, but divorce had relieved me of all
of my possessions and the ten boxes of family history work never would find its way back to me. However, in early 2013, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and a new-to-me netbook that connected to an internet full of newly indexed
documents. (A HUGE “THANK YOU” to anyone who has ever indexed!)
It was at this time that I remember signing up for an LDS account, with a strange fluttering in my heart that made me somewhat upset that my access was in any way limited. Yet I had no interest at that time in being a member of the church…or so I
Three years later, in the spring of 2016, I found myself in the Snowflake Temple President’s office discussing with Elder Bradley Foster the circumstance in 2013 when I was FIRST impressed to search out my ancestors.
Elder Foster was looking for something or another in the Temple President’s desk when I arrived as directed to be set apart as an office worker at the Snowflake Temple. When he asked me about my conversion, I was not shy about the fact I feel
my ancestors brought me to the church. He agreed.
I am Blessed. When I received the call from the Bishop early this week about this talk, and he told that he wanted me to speak today about the blessings we receive when we perform Family History work for our ancestors, I remembered that was precisely the subject of Elder Renlund’s talk at General Conference only two weeks ago!!
In my preparation for this talk, I studied not only Elder Renlund’s talk at General Conference, but also all of those given at RootsTech 2018.
Some of the SPECIFIC blessings that Elder Renlund stated are available to us when we work on Family History and Temple work are:
• Increased understanding of the Savior and His atoning sacrifice;
• Increased influence of the Holy Ghost to feel strength and direction for our own lives;
• Increased faith, so that conversion to the Savior becomes deep and abiding;
• Increased ability and motivation to learn and repent because of an understanding of who we are, where we come from, and a clearer vision of
where we are going;
• Increased refining, sanctifying, and moderating influences in our hearts;
• Increased joy through an increased ability to feel the love of the Lord;
• Increased family blessings, no matter our current, past, or future family situation or how imperfect our family tree may be;
• Increased love and appreciation for ancestors and living relatives, so we no longer feel alone;
• Increased power to discern that which needs healing and thus, with the Lord’s help, serve others;
• Increased protection from temptations and the intensifying influence of the adversary; and
• Increased assistance to mend troubled, broken, or anxious hearts and make the wounded whole.
You see, the promised blessings aren’t JUST for the ADULTS on this side of the veil. As President Eyring has stated: The blessings are for EVERYONE! Everyone: Children, youth, seniors and active adults!
Children LOVE to hear stories about their families. Specific blessings are waiting for our youth as we introduce them (or sometimes in the case of electronics, they introduce US) to our ancestors. It is just as essential for us to share with them the importance of the Ordinances involved in Family History work.
As Sister Jones stated at RootsTech this year, Studies show when youth are involved in family history work, an intergenerational consciousness is created that helps in all aspects of family interaction. Children can have an active roll in
encouraging the work to be performed inspiring life-long Gospel-centered habits.
Children with experience in family history are EXCITED to go to the Temple when they reach their 12th birthday. They have gotten to know the ancestors they have helped to discover and are invested in the Ordinances they help to perform.
I am personally looking VERY forward to two and a half years from now when my
granddaughters are 12 and will be eligible for a limited-use recommend. However, I realize that the time to continue to teach them about family history is now.
I remember when I was working at the Snowflake temple. New patrons would come up to the window and ask what they were supposed to do with the cards after all of the Ordinances were performed. I answered, “that’s your souvenir for all the hard work you did.” As I look back through my box of cards of completed ordinances, I am reminded that my first time at the temple to perform Baptisms was only three weeks after my Baptism. I took all of my grandparents and my deceased father with me to the Temple.
The Spirit of Elijah touched me early in my conversion. My heart was turned towards my father. And towards his father. My father’s father was a man who had left mortality in a cloud of PTSD after world war II. I felt his desire to have his work done when I glimpsed his face in a photograph for the first time in my life at a family history center only 3 days after my Baptism. I was excited to take my newly-discovered grandfather with the rest of my grandparents and deceased father to the Temple when I visited for the first time 3 weeks after my Baptism.
The way I looked at it, I may not have much family (besides my granddaughters) in the church who are alive, but I will make sure there are plenty to meet me when I cross over!
It is due of the blessings I received after that particular trip that I KNOW that Elder
Renlund is telling the truth when he states that our lives will be abundantly blessed
when we spend time performing this work. My relationship with my father
was notoriously abusive. I ceased contact with him when I was a teenager, and I was relieved when I learned of his death 17 years after I had done so. But he was one of the first people I chose to take to the temple. I can’t express the amount of forgiveness that act has allowed and in fact, caused. I never thought I could see that man as a child of God. But God does.
Elder Foster stated at Roots Tech this year that he has learned that if you want to endear someone to you, do something nice for their children. Then he went on to say, “imagine how Heavenly Father will think about you when you help gather His children?”
As much as our ancestors are OUR family, they are ALSO each one a child of our Heavenly Father. Sometimes our memories aren’t the best. This temporal life is hard and full of drama and pain. Family history work is one way we can put our troubles aside and be one step closer to being like our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Let us all take upon ourselves President Nelson’s challenge to “Prayerfully consider what kind of sacrifice preferably a sacrifice of time that we can each make to spend more time working on Family History and Temple work this year.”
I have an abundant testimony of Temple and Family History work. Although most of my non-LDS family still don’t understand why I go to the temple to do work for
our ancestors, the stories I can share with them about our mutual family has softened their heart towards me as a member of the church. I remain hopeful they will join me here as well.
I am one of the Temple and Family history consultants called to assist Ward members with their Family history. Please don’t be shy about talking to me about
how to get started on YOUR Family History and Temple work!
I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen