Sunday, October 23, 2011

Honoring my Ancestors by Doing their Temple Work - Sarah participates for the first time!

Friday and Saturday, we were able to attend the temple and perform ordinance work for my our ancestors.  In my faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe not only do you have the opportunity to make sacred promises with God, but you can vicariously, in acting in behalf of others who have died, perform similar ordinances for them.  Those individuals still have the option of accepting or declining the work done for them, but we have the obligation to try and give them that chance.  The beauty of it all, is that everyone has the chance of returning to our Heavenly Father and they get the opportunity to make that choice themselves. 

My mother and her sisters are really the only members of the Church on her Father's side.  My Grandfather, a dry farmer from the Chicago area (Elgin) had gone up to Canada to get inexpensive farm land and met my grandmother a nurse from the Benjamin area of Utah County, who was staying with relatives in the small farming community of Barnwell, Alberta, Canada.  They fell in love, had six girls with my mother being number 3.  At the age of six, my mother lost her father unexpectedly and her youngest sister was born after my grandfather died.  He never joined the Church, but was supportive of my Grandmother and his girls.  He was a good dad and loved his girls and it would strike me as unfair in the Kingdom of God, that he never get the chance of being with his family again or enjoying all the blessing the Lord has in store for him.

The temple provides that opportunity and it is one of the reason my faith encourages us to work on our Family History.  Not only does it give us a sense from where we have come, but it helps also in performing ordinance work for those who have passed on before us.  In the two days, we attended the Salt Lake Temple, performing baptisms for 30 ancestors and then on Friday, we attended the Logan Temple and performed ordinance work for another 30 ancestors.  Included in the group we did, were my ancestors, Maria Bach, born on the 10 February 1856, Elisabetha Frey, born abt 1770 and Maria Carolina Glaser, born 26 March 1812.  We owe nearly all the success of finding these ancestors to my brother-in-law, Warren Bittner of Ancestors Lost and Found, LLC. who has worked tirelessly over the last decade helping us to piece together some gaping holes in our family research.  Thanks to the generosity of other family members we have found nearly 4,000 names of ancestors that 10 years ago, we never knew existed.  

Perhaps one of the best parts of the experience was being with my family and attending together.  Sarah, who recently turned 12, can now go and perform "Baptisms for the Dead" or the vicarious act of being baptized for her ancestors.  It was sweet moment being able to perform that work and have her be part of it.  In addition on Saturday, my mother-in-law, Lois Nielsen joined us and helped us perform another ordinance work for Barbara Krapff, who was Christened, 24 Jan 1653.  Opportunities like that don't come very often, and I'm glad we had the chance.  It was a beautiful day, some of the leaves were still turning and the food at the Bluebird Cafe afterwards was great! 

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