I've done some light searching for family members through www.familysearch.org the past couple of years. (Just so you know - you can research your own family tree for free at that link. It's pretty awesome!) But, I've had very little success in finding new ancestors to add to my tree - or in finding ancestors who needed their temple work done.** (See note below for further explanation if you're scratching your head at my lingo, here.)
But on Sunday, I finally had a breakthrough. But I'll get to that in a minute while I fill you in with this little semi-related tangent. On August 22, Squire and I celebrated our 6th Anniversary - by staying home together. Squire doted on me all day because I was sick and feeling pretty crummy. My friend who was going to babysit for us was also sick with the same crummy thing, so our careful planning which would have allowed us to be able to get out for a few hours alone, fell through. Squire and I talked about it, and decided we should plan a temple/family trip and use the anniversary money we had set aside for the trip instead. Squire had a big test to take (his Step II CK Exam), so we planned to go the day after his test was done.
Anyways, back to Sunday and my breakthrough. The Sunday before we were supposed to leave for our temple trip, I got the strong impression that I should try again to find some of my ancestors so that I would be able to bring their names to the temple and do their work for them. We were leaving Wednesday. It seemed a long shot - but hey - I just do what I'm told.
So I got on Family Search and started searching all around the ancestors who were related to Lena Blumenthal - the ancestor who has been on my mind all year. I was drawn to look at the children of her grandpa Aron Blumenthal and grandmother, Chaya. I saw her aunt - Roche, had a daughter, named, Ida Rivka Kanzor. Ida - my great, great grandmother's cousin! Ida needed ALL of her ordinances done! Talk about an exciting find! Shortly after I found Ida, I felt prompted to type her name into google. I did, and my search brought me to this site where I found out that Ida had a husband who wasn't listed - as well as 8 children. Many of those children, had spouses, and children - and parents-in-law. NONE of whom were listed in Family Search. ALL of them, needed temple work done! These records were complete with many photos of gravestones, links to census/social security index death records, newspaper articles, and even some photos of individuals. A genealogical gold mine! (or black hole as Squire calls it.) ;) A black hole, because once you start plugging in names where there are open holes of research, you really can go on forever. So, I put Ida, her husband, children, and a handful of others in to the system and reserved their names for the temple work we would perform for them, before we left for our trip. I had to stop my entering my findings due to time constraints, but I was ECSTATIC! This was the first time I would ever be able to bring my ancestors names, who I researched and found on my own (well, with the help of the Spirit - let's give credit where credit is really due!), to the temple, in order to perform their ordinances for them!! Let's add a few more exclamation points in here!!!! I was really this excited!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
We stayed with the family Squire stayed with in Safford when he did his away rotation for rural family medicine this Summer - the Marble family. They are the parents of one of the other LDS med students at the U of A. They were so gracious in sharing their space - and offering their time to watch our kidlets so that we could go get some temple work done together, instead of in shifts.
On Wednesday afternoon, we went and got all the name cards printed up, and Squire and I went to the baptismal font to do baptisms for all my ancestors who needed baptisms and confirmations. Finding a jumpsuit to fit my 7 month pregnant belly was a bit of a task, but we we found one large enough. :) The spirit in the room was so strong. I felt overwhelming joy. Squire performed the baptisms and confirmations with me as proxy for 7 female ancestors of mine. And then Squire was then baptized and confirmed in behalf of 12 male ancestors of mine. The confirmations - usually performed in a separate room - were performed sitting in a chair, font-side, dripping wet. I loved that experience. I loved that my ancestors didn't have to wait even 20 more minutes to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost! We were the only ones in the font room and we didn't have too many names, so they did it that way for us. The man who performed the confirmations for Squire, got emotional and began to cry with the last man he confirmed - Homer Cox was his name. He said, "Brother Cox is here with us today. We've done work for some of our bretheren in Israel today." I smiled and felt the spirit confirm that what he said was true for the bretheren - as well as the sisters. Squire and I changed our clothes and decided to get all the initiatories for these same individuals done before we headed back to the Marble home. The spirit was thick and palpable in the air as I went through the ordinances for my sister ancestors. I couldn't keep the tears from flowing during most of the work. It was a beautiful, uplifting experience.
After we got back to the Marble's home, we went out for a late dinner with our kids to Casa Mañana - a great little Mexican restaurant in town. We topped off our dinner with fried ice cream.
The next morning, we did a babysitting swap with one of the Marble's daughters and son-in-law who were there visiting with their two girls so they could go to the temple and do some work together, and we could, too. The picture below is of me, holding Ida's name card. I performed her Endowment ordinance that morning (a much lengthier process than the other ordinances.) Squire performed the Endowment ordinance for an ancestor through his Grandpa Hepworth's line - Clarence O. Pyles. We spent some time enjoying the peace and spirit of the Celestial room together.
|Me (32 weeks pregnant) holding the temple ordinance card for my ancestor, Ida Rivka Kanzor.|
|The temple - the best place to celebrate an anniversary. :) 6 years now, baby! Woohoo!|
|The Gila Valley Temple - in Central, Arizona.|
|At Cluff Pond #3 with the fam - ready to go swimming on a nice warm day! Atley is making a stink face - a pretty cute one at that.|
|A beautiful view of the cattails, other plant life, and mountains. A perfect day for a swim.|
|Being a goon. Atley, after our swim, holding her Dinosaur "Eggggssss!" (Rocks.) She learned that one from her Big Brother, who insists on carrying a large collection of "eggs" around the house and in his pockets at all times.|
|Lincoln, trying to mess up all the pictures we were taking of him - got a cute one despite your efforts buddy!|
|One more picture of Squire and Me - together. Just how I like us to be.|
This was truly an inspired trip - one that brought Squire and I closer to each other, to our children, and to our ancestors! We most definitely will return again. Hopefully at least one more time before baby comes. :)
**For those not familiar with LDS terminology/doctrine, when I say I talk about my ancestor(s) needing their temple work done, I am referring to specific religious ordinances that we perform by proxy (or in behalf of) the dead, inside the temple. These include: baptism, confirmation, initiatory and endowment ordinances, as well as sealings to spouses and children. We believe that when Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5) that He meant it! We perform these ordinances for our family members in the temple, and we believe that once they are performed, our ancestors can choose whether they will accept or reject the work that was performed in their behalf, and thereby continue their spiritual progression, which is halted in the spirit world if they have not had their work performed for them. They may also reject the ordinances performed in their behalf. It's all up to them. But by doing this work, we in our estimation, are extending a loving opportunity for our ancestors to follow Christ. It is a very special and sacred experience for us members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to be able to participate in this work. We believe that when the scriptures talk about Elijah the Prophet coming and turning "the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers . . ." and if He did not, "the whole Earth would be utterly wasted at (Christ's) coming." That this is a reference to genealogy work which enables us to perform sealing ordinances in behalf of our family members who have passed on. The Spirit of Elijah is catching not only amongst members of our faith, but people around the globe. I heard from our ward's (congregation's) Family History Consultant, that after pornography - family history research is the #2 researched thing on the web. I don't know how to confirm that, but if it's true - it's pretty awesome! (And would be more awesome if it bumped porn down from it's #1 spot. On a semi-related note - this is an awesome video of a man who was able to overcome his addiction to pornography, due to his getting in to family history work.) Today's technology is giving us the ability to do work for our families like never before. Today is an exciting time to live.