Healing Blessings of the Temple
by G.G. Vandagriff
I realized that though their earthly lives were done, lived out for the most part in pain and suffering, I could give them that which their hearts must desire above all things. I could give them the assurance that they would never be separated again.
Several years ago, when I first began doing genealogy, I was in a quandary about what to do about the sealing of my great grandparents. They had been divorced during their lifetime, but none of their children wished to be sealed to their stepfather. My grandmother told me that at the end of their lives, her parents spent much time together visiting and that both of them greatly regretted the divorce. I did not know if this was wishful thinking on my grandmother’s part, or whether it was an actual fact. I called the Family History Department, explained the situation, and they cleared the names for sealing in spite of the divorce.
I will never forget kneeling in the Dallas Temple to perform that vicarious work with my husband. The whole room seemed filled with an intense longing as soon as we clasped hands across the altar. When the sealing was complete, I could not hold back the tears. Overwhelming relief flooded my husband and me, and I knew I was experiencing the emotions of my great grandparents. I knew then for certain that this sealing had righted years of pain and suffering which they had endured on earth as a result of a wrong decision. I was very glad I had listened to my grandmother. As I related the experience to her, she wept with gratitude that she could finally be sealed to her parents.
In another instance, I was gathering names of my family from the old parish records of Gau-Bickelheim, Germany. The time period I was researching was from 1600-1800. As was typical of Catholic families of the era, the women began to have children immediately after they were married and continued every two years in most cases until they died. What struck me as heartbreaking was how many of the children died within the first year or two of their lives. How could a mother bond with a child whom she knew had so little likelihood of survival? Putting myself in the place of my ancestors, I could see that I might cut myself off from fully giving myself to that child, for fear that it would be taken from me. And if she did give all her heart, how many times could she bear to have it broken? Either way it was a tragic scenario, and my heart was heavy as I gleaned the names from the records. What a world to have lived in! What an abysmal time! And to make matters worse, they didn’t even have the Gospel to comfort them.
Then I realized that though their earthly lives were done, lived out for the most part in pain and suffering, I could give them that which their hearts must desire above all things. I could give them the assurance that they would never be separated again. The work I was doing would be the means of righting all the earthly injustice of infant mortality and the cruel emotional wrenchings that accompany it. These children could be reunited with their mothers to be raised to maturity during the millennium. Husbands could be reunited with the wives they had lost to early death. In doing this work, I could truly understand how I was, for my ancestors at least, a Savior on Mt. Zion. I was doing that which they had no power to do for themselves, just as my Savior had done for me that which I had no power to do for myself.
These feelings and experiences have been the motivating factors behind my avid family history research. But recently, as I have moved near a temple and have had the opportunity to do more of the proxy work myself, I have received an added blessing. I noticed it first about six weeks ago. As I have been in the temple doing proxy ordinances, I have begun to realize a peace that I have never had in my life before. It has crept up on me. When I first felt it, I thought, “How nice it would be if I could have this feeling all the time.” I started recognizing that when I left the temple I made conscious choices that caused me to relinquish that peace or to hold onto it. Gradually, I realized that the more often I went to the temple, the more often I could feel of that soul-warming, healing peace. Finally, I made the commitment to go each day if possible, because I could see that temple attendance was quite literally purging me and changing my thought patterns. One cannot have a portion of pure peace each day without hungering for more. It is as Christ promised. He is the well of living water. And when one is continually partaking of that living water, one is constantly cleansed and filled. Whatever sorrows or shortcomings one has are soothed. Thought patterns are changed. Paradigm shifts occur. We can step out of our mortal selves for awhile and see life through purely spiritual eyes.
We don’t need to have walls around us in the temple. Whatever defenses we have built for life in the outside world, we can allow them to crumble. We can be open to the pure light and edification of the Spirit of the Lord. We can receive the complete and undiluted love of our Heavenly Father.
Ultimately, whether it is from the point of view of our ancestors, or from our own perspective, the temple can heal every mortal wound. It is my prayer that wherever you may live that there is or shortly will be a temple near to you. And that if you haven’t already experienced this healing in your lives, that you will.
2004 Meridian Magazine. All Rights Reserved.