Sunday, June 29, 2008

How the Lord Blesses Mission Presidents

In 1991 Mary Ellen Smoot, a former General LDS Church Relief Society President tells of an unusual blessing her husband received while serving as a mission president: "After my husband was called to preside over the Ohio Columbus Mission, the first mission presidents’ seminar in Kirtland was held. In the meetinghouse was a cabinet containing a list of the original settlers of Kirtland. Both my husband and I found the names of our great-grandfathers. We looked at one another, and I said, “Do you think we were called to this mission because of anything we did or because of what our great-grandparents sacrificed in this community?”

Our regional representative stood at the pulpit and encouraged all those who had ancestors in that area to search the telephone book and contact individuals who might be related to them. At first my thought was, I am too busy with my responsibilities; I cannot get into genealogy while I am here. Then one Saturday afternoon after cleaning the mission home, I was alone. I entered the office and picked up the phone book. Six Smoots were listed there, and with two phone calls I was able to find a connection to our family. As a result of this, after my husband and I returned from the mission field our family was able to do temple work for hundreds of Smoots.

I testify that much peace and joy can come into your life when you watch your children and grandchildren being baptized and then sealed to their families on behalf of your ancestors. I can only imagine the joy you will experience when you are greeted by your loved ones on the other side of the veil."

A. Theodore Tuttle, a member of the Seventy said:

"Once you complete your four generations, you are not finished. Continue to search out all of your ancestral lines. The four-generation project becomes a platform for launching further research. In fact, this is one place where you move forward by reaching backward! “It is our duty,” counseled Elder John A. Widtsoe, “to secure as complete genealogies as possible, to discover our fathers and mothers back to the last generation, to connect, if it may be possible, with Adam, our first father upon the earth—a duty which we cannot escape” (“Genealogical Activities in Europe,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, July 1931, p. 104).

There are great promises to those who do this. All who diligently search realize that help comes—often from the other side of the veil. You see, they are organized and working there at least as well as we are here!

Elder Melvin J. Ballard testified that “the spirit and influence of your dead will guide those who are interested in finding those records. If there is anywhere on the earth anything concerning them, you will find it” (Bryant S. Hinckley, Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin Joseph Ballard, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1949, p. 230; italics added). And Elder Widtsoe said, “I have the feeling … that those who give themselves with all their might and main to this work receive help from the other side, and not merely in gathering genealogies. Whoever seeks to help those on the other side receives help in return in all the affairs of life” (“Genealogical Activities,” p. 104)."

Mission presidents receive blessings in many different ways for their service. Spiritual blessings come to those who serve the Lord. The Lord has been known to bless them for their service even in ways like doing their genealogical work.

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