The Step Before You Take Names to the Temple

The Step Before You Find Names

Temple and family history work is part of the mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If you are a member of that church, you MUST follow this step BEFORE you search for and find a new name to take to the temple.

Retorts Don’t Find A New Name

For many, find new names for the temple isn’t worth doing because ‘it’s all been done.’

In recent years, a family history consultants kindly suggest “If your pedigree has been done, then search for your cousins!”

A sassier retort is, “Your work isn’t done until you can tell me how we’re related.”

A fan chart of FamilySearch suggests that my family history has all been done! #genealogy
Looking at this ‘tree’, it looks ‘all done.’ But is it?

Gimmicky Apps Don’t Find a New Name

Genealogy apps, as used at conferences such as RootsTech, can now tell people how they are related at the touch of a button. So now, folks have less interest in finding a new name and think an app will find them new names for the temple.

No one stops and addresses the crux of the problem. Many of the ‘how we’re related’ apps are FULL of errors. Nearly everyone who has found out that they’re related to me through these apps has 4-5 generations that I know are unsubstantiated as their thru-line.

What is the Root of the Problem?

Just because you can click a button to see a previous generation on your family tree in FamilySearch, or you can find a tree on Ancestry that traces your lineage back to “Adam and Eve,” doesn’t mean it’s accurate.

In fact, it’s likely your tree is filled with falsehood and wrong connections.

Friends want to claim their related to Guinevere or Henry the VII, but for members of The Church of Jesus Christ and follow it’s tenants, must not overlook the need to:

You must Prove It before you take a new name to the temple.

In his teenage years, my brother was a bit feisty when someone put forth their beliefs on a variety of subjects. The snarky adolescent of the 80s would say, “Prove It!” in such a way only a tall, rugged teenager could do.

Despite the potentially rebellious underpinnings of this statement, I often find myself saying this phrase (under my breath) to those who claim their trees has all been done, you use apps to find names to take to the temple without any effort on their part, and so forth.

Doctrinal Need to Prove It

There is a doctrinal support for my brother’s snarky retort:

“Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple … a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation.” (D&C 128:22, 24.)

Do you see the phrase “worthy of all acceptation”?

One of the mistakes people who are of this church do is accept anything in the FamilySearch family tree without expending any energy to determine if the information is accurate or even remotely possible.

Many profiles, in the FamilySearch Family Tree, have triggers that indicate they need temple ordinance work done. A large percentage of these profiles have little to no documents supporting the existence of the individual and their relationship to others in the family tree.

And if there is little to no documentation, those names should be PROVEN before taken to the temple.

Why Do Unproven Names Exist in the Family Tree?

In the 1970s, church members were encouraged to make copies of their family group sheets and pedigree charts and keep a Book of Remembrance. Many were very obedient but didn’t learn the importance of copying and retaining the sources of information on those charts.

In the past, I copied many group sheets and pedigree charts without knowing that the sources were necessary. Truth be told, the charts I received rarely had supporting references. When I gained access to birth, marriage, death, and census records from Ohio and Canada, I began to see the numerous flaws in the trees of the past which I have spent decades attempting to clean up.

If you can’t prove it, it’s fiction

Unless you were a first-hand witness to an event, you can’t prove an event happened.

I don’t care if your Aunt Betty did all the family research and “she knows.” If Aunt Betty’s records do not identify where she obtained her information, it’s fiction.

FamilySearch Profiles without sources are FICTION in genealogy.
Show Me Your Sources, I’ll Show You Mine

There is NO excuse for not seeking out the records available on FamilySearch,, FindMyPast, MyHeritage, national, state, and local archives, and so on. You can access many of these records from home or through a library or research center.

For those who come from countries that do not have written records, you still have to find a way to validate the information you add to the family tree.

Otherwise, you might as well say you’re related to Thor, the Norse God of Thunder, or Captain Ross Poldark (who happens to be a fictional character from a book series I enjoy).

Take a Person to the Temple, Not A Name

In 2016, Sister Ashley Renlund said, “when you add the temple to the work of studying and learning about your ancestors, the power is greater and takes our blessings to the next level.”

Before you head to the temple with a ‘new name’ you ‘found’ using an app, LEARN about the person.

  • Where did they live?
  • What job did they have?
  • Who were their relatives?

But most of all, can you PROVE those answers are accurate? If you can’t you’re taking a name to the temple, not a person. And you’re missing out on the power to take your blessings to the next level.

Discover the one thing you should do BEFORE you take a name to the temple. #templework #familyhistory #genealogy
Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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