Elder Dale G. Renlund taught, “When God directs us to do one thing, He often has many purposes in mind. Family history and temple work is not only for the dead but blesses the living as well” (“Family History and Temple Work: Sealing and Healing,” General Conference, April 2018).
The prophet Malachi understood this principle. He repeatedly referred to his people’s ancestors as he taught important gospel principles. For example:
- When the people questioned God’s love for them, Malachi asked them to remember God’s love for their ancestor Jacob. (See Malachi 1:2).
- To help the priests understand what was expected of them, he discussed God’s covenant with Levi and warned them not to corrupt or profane that covenant. (See Malachi 2:1-10.)
- He explains to the people that they have been blessed because of the promises God made to their ancestors. “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6, 3 Nephi 24:6).
Malachi prophesied of a devastating time when the proud would be burned. To help the righteous overcome the effects of this destruction, Elijah would return to earth and “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6, 3 Nephi 25:6).
Elder Renlund said, “As we participate in family history and temple work today, we also lay claim to ‘healing’ blessings promised by prophets and apostles.” In the footnote to that sentence, he listed 23 talks by church leaders about the blessings of family history. Here are some of those blessings:
- “Increased understanding of the Savior and His atoning sacrifice”
- “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 joy through an increased ability to feel the love of the Lord”
- “Increased love and appreciation for ancestors and living relatives, so we no longer feel alone”
- “Increased assistance to mend troubled, broken, or anxious hearts and make the wounded whole”
Today, I will remember my ancestors as I navigate the challenges of life. I will recognize God’s love for me as I remember His love for them. I will recognize that I am the beneficiary of His covenants with them. And as I turn my heart toward them, I will open my heart to receive God’s healing power.