Last night, I was telling stories to my children to help them calm down and get ready for bed.  I’m sure bedtime stories are not unique to the Mormon church. But, I had an experience last night that reminded me of another way the church’s teachings and practices have helped my family. After an engaging rendition of Little Red Riding Hood, and enthusiastic requests for more stories, my seven year old asked if I could share a family history story. Evidently, he had been quite enthralled as I had told him the story of how one of my ancestors, Enos Curtis, had been one of the missionaries who taught Brigham Young about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Happy to comply with his request, I shared some stories from the lives of some of my more immediate ancestors. Most of these were stories of the antics of young farm boys growing up in rural Utah–the kind involving gasoline and brush fires, severed fingers, and getting caught stealing water melons. I also enjoyed telling them about the various jobs their great grandparents used to have. My wife joined us and shared how her grandparents had been famers, homemakers, music shop owners, and teachers.  The children listened in their beds, laughing, listening intently, and asking questions. It was a simple experience, but it was amazing at the same time. In this small act, I felt more connected with my children, and with my parents and our ancestors.

I am grateful to belong to a church that teaches that family relationships can be perpetuated beyond the grave through the blessings of living the gospel of Jesus Christ and participating in the ordinances of the temple. A fundamental teaching of the Mormon Church is that power has been restored to the earth to “turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:5-6). This is why we build temples and spend so much time and resources as a Church and as individual members performing genealogical research.  Participating in temple and family history activities helps me get a sense of the love God feels for all of his children, and helps me connect with my children, my ancestors, and my other family members.

I invite you to take the time to gather stories from your family history and share them with your children frequently.  I know that as you do, your faith in Jesus Christ will grow and your love for your children, and theirs for you and your family can increase as well.

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