The Spirit of Elijah

On the day Elijah was translated, he visited three locations: Beth-El, Jericho, and then a location on the far side of the river Jordan. Each time, he urged Elisha to stay behind, and each time, Elisha answered the same way: “As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee” (2 Kings 2:2, 4, 6). After they miraculously crossed the river on dry ground, retracing the steps of their ancestors, Elijah asked if Elisha had any final requests. “I pray thee,” Elisha said, “let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me” (2 Kings 2:9). He had seen the power of the Spirit of the Lord in the ministry of Elijah, and he wanted that same power. After Elijah ascended to heaven, as Elisha returned across the river on dry ground, the people who saw him said, “The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha” (2 Kings 2:15).

Malachi prophesied that God would send “Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6). Jesus shared this prophecy with the group of people he visited on the American continent following his death and resurrection. (See 3 Nephi 25:5-6).

When an angel appeared to Zacharias to announce the birth of his son, John the Baptist, the angel said that John would labor “in the spirit and power of Elias [Elijah], to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).

President Russell M. Nelson has explained that the “Spirit of Elijah” is “a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family. Hence, people throughout the world, regardless of religious affiliation, are gathering records of deceased relatives at an ever-increasing rate” (“A New Harvest Time,” General Conference, April 1998).

Elder Gerrit W. Gong explained how we can invite the spirit of Elijah into our hearts:

Imagine your image reflected back and forth between two mirrors of eternity. In one direction, picture yourself as daughter, granddaughter, great-granddaughter; in the other direction, smile at yourself as aunt, mother, grandmother. How quickly time passes! In each time and role, notice who is with you. Gather their photos and stories; make their memories real. Record their names, experiences, key dates. They are your family—the family you have and the family you want.

As you perform temple ordinances for family members, the spirit of Elijah, “a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family,” will knit the hearts of your fathers, mothers, and children together in love.

We Each Have a Story,” General Conference, April 2022

Today, I will strengthen my relationships with family members, including my ancestors. I will learn more about them and share what I learn with my children. I will remember that part of Elijah’s mission was to help us strengthen those relationships, so that we can be prepared for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

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