Today I taught Gospel Doctrine about “Finding Joy in Temple and Family History Work.” As I thought about it in preparation though I realized it was in part a lesson about what our origin stories are and the importance of knowing those stories. There are days I like to think of myself as a super hero, and every super hero has an origin story, so what’s mine?
To know my origin story I need to know who I am and where I came from. That means I need to know my family stories, where they lived, what they did, who they were. Because all of that makes me who I am today.
It also means I need to record my own life and stories so that my children and future generations will all know their origin stories as well. This quote in particular stood out to me about the importance of recording our stories, both the big and the small ones.
Not one of my children has any recollection of my grandparents. If I want my children and grandchildren to know those who still live in my memory, then I must build the bridge between them. I alone am the link to the generations that stand on either side of me. It is my responsibility to knit their hearts together through love and respect, even though they may never have known each other personally. My grandchildren will have no knowledge of their family’s history if I do nothing to preserve it for them. That which I do not in some way record will be lost at my death, and that which I do not pass on to my posterity, they will never have. The work of gathering and sharing eternal family keepsakes is a personal responsibility. It cannot be passed off or given to another.
– Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander, “Bridges and Eternal Keepsakes,” General Conference, April 1999.
Knowing our stories isn’t enough though. If we only know who our ancestors are but do nothing to connect them to us by going to the temple and having the sealing ordinances performed then we have not tapped in to the full power of family history work. Going to the temple, specifically for our ancestors, is where we can get super powers.
And we ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine angels have charge over them;
Docrtine & Covenants 109:22
As we help our ancestors on the other side of the veil they are then in turn the angels who help and guide us here on this side. And we could all do with some more heavenly help in our lives.
Do you know your origin story? What story are you writing (literally, make sure you record it) for the generations to come?