Are you trying to help a few of the many thousands of youth in the Church who love to do baptisms for the dead but have never taken a family name to the temple? Maybe they don’t know where to start or feel that all the work for their family is done. Regardless of their situation, following recent instructions from the brethren can be a blessing to youth and their families.
In the October, 2011 General Conference of the Church, Elder David A. Bednar invited the youth of the Church to learn how to experience the Spirit of Elijah. He specifically encouraged the rising generation to be engaged in family history work.
In his talk, Elder Bednar promised the youth that their hearts would be turned to their fathers, that their testimonies of the Savior would deepen and they would be “protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary” as a result of participating in this work of identifying and redeeming their deceased ancestors. He specifically invited the youth to focus on their ancestors and urged them to help others do their family history. Many youth and priesthood leaders throughout the world are now responding to these apostolic invitations.
Elder Richard G. Scott, in the October, 2012 General conference of the Church spoke of the joy of redeeming the dead. He spoke of the youth in Russia who were invited to index 2,000 names and qualify at least one name from their own family in order to participate in a trip to the temple in the Ukraine. One young man said, “I was spending a lot of time playing computer games. When I started indexing, I didn’t have time to play games.”
In a letter from the First Presidency dated February 29, 2012 we read, “Members are encouraged to participate in FamilySearch indexing which is vital to family history and temple work.” In many ways, indexing is an introductory activity to family history. Many of our family pedigrees today exist because records have been digitized and are now available online. Indexing makes these records searchable. In a more recent letter, the First Presidency said, “We especially encourage youth and young single adults to use for temple work their own family names or the names of ancestors of their ward and stake members.” Indexing a batch of records and finding families online are two ways to accomplish the objective of taking a family name to the temple.
In response to some of this recent instruction, the Church has created a Leader Resource page which provides excellent instructions and online resources to help ward and stake leaders discover ways to introduce the youth of their wards and stakes to the blessings that come from getting involved in family history and temple work. Another excellent Church website is the Youth and Family History page that explains the resources that are available to the youth for doing family history. This website offers youth an opportunity to login and share their experience under the Discover, Serve, and Experiences sections and is now available in 10 languages. One of the shared experiences from a young woman reads, “Service means doing something for someone and not asking for anything in return. We may not ask for it, but when we index, Heavenly Father blesses us.” Elder Bednar has taught that there are many that think family history work is to be performed primarily by older people but “you need not wait until you reach an arbitrary age to fulfill your responsibility to assist in the work of salvation for the human family.”
As youth today respond in faith to the words of living prophets they will bless multiple generations.