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Shortly after the death of Sister LeGrand Richards, I was assigned to be Elder Richards’ junior companion to assist him in creating the Atlanta Georgia Stake. As we were flying toward his beloved Southern States Mission, he said to me, “Brother Ballard, I am not afraid to die; the only thing I worry about is, will I be able to find Mommy over there.”

I was impressed to say to Elder Richards that in his case that could be a real problem.

Immediately, I had his full attention. He looked me directly in the eye and said, “What do you mean by that?”

With my emotions near the surface, I answered this great missionary, “Elder Richards, when you die, so many people there will be anxious to greet you because you introduced the gospel to them that you might have difficulty finding Mommy in the crowd.” His response was, “Oh, you don’t mean that.”

We all might ask ourselves the question, Who will be there to greet us?

—M. Russell Ballard. “We Proclaim the Gospel.” Ensign Nov. 1986, 31.


“What do you suppose the fathers would say if they could speak from the dead? Would they not say, ‘We have lain here thousands of years, here in this prison house, waiting for this dispensation to come’? ‘Here we are, bound and fettered, in the association of those who are filthy’? What would they whisper in our ears?

  • Why, if they had the power, the very thunders of heaven would be in our ears, if we could but realize the importance of the work we are engaged in. All the angels in heaven are looking at this little handful of people, and stimulating them to the salvation of the human family. So also are the devils in hell looking at this people, too, and trying to overthrow us, and the people are still shaking hands with the servants of the devil, instead of sanctifying themselves and calling upon the Lord and doing the work which he has commanded us and put into our hands to do. When I think upon this subject, I want the tongues of seven thunders to wake up the people.”(Brigham Young. Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954] 403. Print.)

“Oh, I wish many times that the veil were lifted off the face of the Latter-day Saints. I wish we could see and know the things of God as they do who are laboring for the salvation of the human family who are in the spirit world;

  • For if this were so, this whole people, with very few, if any, exceptions, would lose all interest in the riches of the world, and instead thereof their whole desires and labors would be directed to redeem their dead, to perform faithfully the work and mission given us on earth; so that when we ourselves should pass behind the veil and meet with Joseph and the ancient apostles, and others who are watching over us and who are deeply interested in our labors, we might feel satisfied in having done our duty.”(Wilford Woodruff. The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, edited by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969] 152. Print.)

“I would advise all the Saints to go to with their might and gather together all their living relatives to this place, that they may be sealed and saved, that they may be prepared against the day that the destroying angel goes forth; and if the whole Church should go to with all their might to save their dead, seal their posterity, and gather their living friends, and spend none of their time in behalf of the world, they would hardly get through before night would come, when no man can work.”(Joseph Smith. Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Alma P. Burton [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977] 146. Print.)


“You will be tempted to stop and leave the hard work of finding to others who are more expert or to another time in your life. But you will also feel a tug on your heart to go on in the work, hard as it will be.

“As you decide, remember that the names which will be so difficult to find are of real people to whom you owe your existence in this world and whom you will meet again in the spirit world. When you were baptized, your ancestors looked down on you with hope. Perhaps after centuries, they rejoiced to see one of their descendants make a covenant to find them and to offer them freedom. In your reunion, you will see in their eyes either gratitude or terrible disappointment. Their hearts are bound to you. Their hope is in your hands. You will have more than your own strength as you choose to labor on to find them.”

—Elder Henry B. Eyring. “Hearts Bound Together.” The EnsignMay 2005, 77.


“We wonder about our progenitors—grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, etc. What do they think of you and me? We are their offspring. We have the responsibility to do their temple work, and the beautiful temples of the Lord stand day after day, yet we do not fill them always. We have a grave responsibility that we cannot avoid, and may stand in jeopardy if we fail to do this important work. I hope our Saints will understand the glorious reality of it all: that as the work in our temples is done in this world; it helps to prepare us for another and better world … I have tried, in my mind’s eye, to envision our progenitors who are anxiously waiting for those of us who are their descendants and are members of the Church on the earth to do our duty toward them. I have also thought what a dreadful feeling it would be for us to see them in the hereafter and have to acknowledge that we had not been as faithful as we should have been here on earth in performing these ordinances in their behalf.” (Spencer W. Kimball, “The Things of Eternity—Stand We in Jeopardy?” Ensign Jan. 1977)


“This vicarious work constitutes an unprecedented labor of love on the part of the living in behalf of the dead. It makes necessary a vast undertaking of family history research to find and identify those who have gone before. To assist in this research, the Church coordinates a family history program and maintains research facilities unmatched in all the world …

  • This program has been praised by genealogists throughout the world and has been utilized by various nations as a safeguard of their own records. But its primary purpose is to afford members of the Church the resources needed to identify their ancestors that they might extend to them the blessings that they themselves enjoy. They in effect say to themselves, “If I love my wife and children so dearly that I want them for all eternity, then should not my deceased grandfather and great-grandfather and other forebears have opportunity to receive the same eternal blessings?”(Gordon B. Hinckley. “Why These Temples?”Tambuli June 1992, 3)

“I am confident that the Lord will permit us and direct us to go on building these sacred structures as we become worthy of them. Our important test of that worthiness will lie in doing the research that becomes the foundation for the major work to be carried on in them.”

—Gordon B. Hinckley. “A Century of Family History Service.” Ensign Mar. 1995, 61.



Obadiah 1: 17,21

“In our pre-existent state, in the day of the great council, we made a certain agreement with the Almighty … Since the plan is intended for all men, we became parties to the salvation of every person under the plan. We agreed, right then and there, to be not only saviors for ourselves but measurably, saviors for the whole human family. We went into a partnership with the Lord. The working out of the plan became then not merely the Father’s work, and the Savior’s work, but also our work. The least of us, the humblest, is in partnership with the Almighty in achieving the purposes of the eternal plan of salvation.

“That places us in a very responsible attitude towards the human race. By that doctrine, with the Lord at the head, we become saviors on Mount Zion, all committed to the great plan of offering salvation to the untold numbers of spirits. To do this is the Lord’s self-imposed duty, this great labor his highest glory. Likewise, it is man’s duty, self-imposed, his pleasure and joy, his labor, and ultimately his glory.”

(Widstsoe. “The Worth of Souls.” The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 1934, 25: 189–190.)


“This work, unselfishly given in behalf of those on the other side, comes nearer to the unparalleled vicarious work of the Savior than any other of which I know. The great and important work of teaching the gospel of Christ to the people of the world is incomplete, at best, if it does not also provide for that teaching to those in another sphere and making available to them those gospel ordinances required of all if they are to move forward on the way to eternal life.”

(Gordon B. Hinckley. Ensign Nov. 1985, 60.)


“With the announcement just made of the construction of seven new temples, there begins the most intensive period of temple building in the history of the Church. The building of these temples must be accompanied by a strong emphasis on genealogical research on the part of all members of the Church.” (Spencer W. Kimball. “No Unhallowed Hand Can Stop the Work.” Ensign May 1980, 4.)


“We have great works to perform on this earth, and I suppose the whole program of the Church could be put in one of three categories: missionary work, temple work, and keeping Church members active and faithful. It is hard to overemphasize the value and importance of any one of these activities. Our great and growing missionary program among mortals is the most extensive it has ever been in this dispensation as we preach, teach, and baptize tens of thousands of our fellowmen. However, missionary work is not limited to proclaiming the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people now living on the earth. Missionary work is also continuing beyond the veil among the millions and even billions of the children of our Heavenly Father who have died either without hearing the gospel or without accepting it while they lived on the earth. Our great part in this aspect of missionary work is to perform on this earth the ordinances required for those who accept the gospel over there. The spirit world is full of spirits who are anxiously awaiting the performance of these earthly ordinances for them. I hope to see us dissolve the artificial boundary line we so often place between missionary work and temple and genealogical work, because it is the same great redemptive work! … Recently I have felt impressed to share some thoughts about the work for the dead because I feel the same urgency for it that I do about missionary work, since they are basically one and the same.” (Spencer W. Kimball. “The Things of Eternity—Stand We in Jeopardy?” Ensign Jan. 1977.)