On February 28, 2019, Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at the Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting. He said that the home, the family, and the temple are all inseparably connected.
As an example, Elder Stevenson told about his trip to Rome for the open house of the Rome Italy Temple, where he was reminded that his great-grandfather and great-grandmother were Italian.
The revelation wasn’t new to Elder Stevenson, but he had questions about his family tree. He couldn’t remember when or how his ancestors had emigrated from Italy. He wanted to research the matter—but where to begin?
“I knew I had tools I could turn to,” he said, “one of which was the Family Tree app on my phone!”
How Temple Leads to the Family—and Family Leads to the Temple!
With the Family Tree app opened on his phone, Elder Stevenson quickly learned that his first ancestors joined the Church in Italy in the 1850s. He read about the missionaries who taught them and about the many hardships they endured immigrating to Utah. He found journal entries as well as biographies.
At home, Elder Stevenson wanted to share what he had discovered with his family. He was especially excited to talk with his third son, whose wife is Italian. “I encouraged him to teach about the faith of their Italian ancestors in a home evening so it could become an inspiration for them,” he said.
Elder Stevenson’s experience in the Rome Italy Temple had prompted him to learn more about his ancestors. Now the stories he had learned about his ancestors would be used to strengthen and point his family back to the temple!
Family History at Your Fingertips
“Understanding the eternal nature of the temple will draw you to your family,” Elder Stevenson said.
He noted that demonstrating how to use tools such as the My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together booklet or the FamilySearch apps that are “available literally at our fingertips” might be the most productive thing a person can do in his or her calling as a ward temple and family history consultant.
“This will assure that families and individuals in their homes will participate in activities that will lead them to the temple,” he continued. “In no other work are we more home-centered than in temple and family history work.”
In closing, Elder Stevenson shared what President Russell M. Nelson has said about the relationship between families, the temple, and the plan of salvation: “The earth was created and this Church was restored so that families could be formed, sealed, and exalted eternally.”