Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “We are sometimes so close to history, so close to miracles … that we don’t realize we are experiencing a miracle” (Sarah Jane Weaver, “What I Know Now That I Didn’t Know a Month Ago,” Church News, 3 May 2018).
My involvement in family history has provided me many opportunities to witness miracles. I have searched records, indexed records, taught others, and participated as a patron and an ordinance worker in completing temple ordinances. The Lord’s involvement in this work has been constant while I have witnessed many procedural changes.
Miracle of Technology
President Howard W. Hunter said: “The role of technology in this work has been accelerated by the Lord himself, who has had a guiding hand in its development and will continue to do so. However, we stand only on the threshold of what we can do with these tools” (Howard W. Hunter, “We Have Work To Do,” Ensign, March 1995).
As a young girl I sent written submissions to Salt Lake City for review and approval for temple ordinances. I waited months for replies to arrive in the mail. Last week, in mere moments, with a few mouse clicks on the computer I was able to find and prepare ancestors for temple ordinances. I used the FamilySearch tool: Ordinances Ready. It is miraculous. We are witnesses of prophesy fulfilled.
Miracle of Temples
President Gordon B. Hinckley counseled, “The sacred and important work that goes on in temples must be accelerated, and for this to happen, it is necessary that temples be taken closer to the people rather than having the people travel so far to temples” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Rejoice in This Great Era of Temple Building,” Ensign, November 1985).
The closest temple in my youth was a 24-hour bus ride to Washington, DC. I was able to make the trip twice after months of raising money and planning. Now throughout the world many people are blessed to attend a temple with much less planning and travel time. This is evidence of the Lord directing His work through His prophets. There are 282 temples announced, under construction, or operating.
You can learn about temples at https://churchofjesuschristtemples.org/
Miracle of Administration
I have witnessed a change in name of the Genealogical Department to the Family History Department (“Family History Department is New Name for Genealogical Department,” Ensign, October 1987). Such changes appear simple on the surface but are a testament to the guidance of the Lord in His work of providing for the “immortality and eternal life” (Moses 1:39) of each person who has lived, now lives, and will yet live. Miracles occur in the hearts of members as they begin to see that their involvement in finding their ancestors is possible. The involvement of youth in family history has been guided by the Lord as they carry the work forward at a great pace.
Miracle of Records
Indexing of records was instituted in 1921. The indexing process once required hours to read microfilms, fill in cards, check the cards, and send the cards to Salt Lake City. The Lord has accelerated the work of indexing and made the process accessible to anyone with a cell phone. You can learn the process in a few minutes by visiting https://www.familysearch.org/indexing/about
Indexing is a work of service that blesses those who serve as well as those who search the indexed records. I have been blessed to identify family members as I have served to index records.
Miracle of Languages
I testify that the Lord blesses our efforts to find our ancestors. My prayers were answered and my searches were guided to specific information as I searched microfilms, written and digital records in unfamiliar languages: Russian, Polish, French, Spanish, Italian, Mohawk, and German. I have experienced the words appearing to be in boldface on the page to assist my ability to recognize them.
Miracle of Living Family
The Lord’s hand is evident as the desire to find family is nourished and guided by the Spirit. The promises to the fathers are growing in the hearts of the children (Malachi 4:5-6). My search for ancestors has led me to living cousins. We have been blessed as we share records. Lives can be enriched as we seek and find our family on both sides of the veil.
Miracle of Assistance from Beyond
I have felt the presence of deceased ancestors in my family and in the families of those I have assisted. I have been guided to search for specific people. It cannot be explained, but I know that for some ancestors the timing of being found is significant. I have felt a similar sense of urgency when selecting temple ordinances to be completed. There is rejoicing on the other side of the veil when we act as a proxy to covenant with the Lord on behalf of a deceased person.
The names on the cards at the temple represent our family, loved ones just like us, who lived, loved, and struggled during their mortal journey. I believe they are very much aware of our lives and often are the angels that help us. Their presence is felt. I testify that they are real.
The miracles in family history and temple work are “made possible through the atoning work of God’s Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Because of Him, our family members, ‘who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall partition between us (Ephesians 2:13–14)’” (Henry B. Eyring, “Gathering the Family of God,” Ensign, May 2017).
At the dedication of the Rome Italy Temple President Russell M. Nelson said, “This is a hinge point in the history of the Church. Things are going to move forward at an accelerated pace of which this is a part” (“Rome, Italy New Release,” Church Newsroom, March 11, 2019).
President Nelson repeated the same word spoken by President Hunter and President Hinckley: “accelerated.” My experience in family history work has taught me that when a prophet uses the word “accelerated” we can experience miracles.