I’ve written briefly about the importance of Family History work to Mormons but I wish to elaborate on what is required of Mormons to be able to enter the Temple to do this important work.
Elder James E. Talmage in The House of the Lord Deseret Book Co., 1968, pp. 83–84, defined the Endowment for us:
“The Temple Endowment, as administered in modern temples, comprises instruction relating to the significance and sequence of past dispensations, and the importance of the present as the greatest and grandest era in human history. This course of instruction includes a recital of the most prominent events of the creative period, the condition of our first parents in the Garden of Eden, their disobedience and consequent expulsion from that blissful abode, their condition in the lone and dreary world when doomed to live by labor and sweat, the plan of redemption by which the great transgression may be atoned, the period of the great apostasy, the restoration of the Gospel with all its ancient powers and privileges, the absolute and indispensable condition of personal purity and devotion to the right in present life, and a strict compliance with Gospel requirements. …
“The ordinances of the endowment embody certain obligations on the part of the individual, such as covenant and promise to observe the law of strict virtue and chastity, to be charitable, benevolent, tolerant and pure; to devote both talent and material means to the spread of truth and the uplifting of the race; to maintain devotion to the cause of truth; and to seek in every way to contribute to the great preparation that the earth may be made ready to receive her King,—the Lord Jesus Christ. With the taking of each covenant and the assuming of each obligation a promised blessing is pronounced, contingent upon the faithful observance of the conditions.”
Before Mormons are able to enter the Temple to receive the endowment they must receive a recommend from their Bishop and Stake President. A recommend is a slip of paper that, with the Bishop and Stake President’s signatures, will allow a person to enter the Temple. Receiving a recommend involves two steps, an interview with the Bishop and an interview with the Stake President. The questions asked are the same in both interviews:
1) Do you have a testimony of the Gospel?
2) Do you support your Local and General Authorities?
3) Do you accept and follow the teachings and programs of the Church?
4) Do you keep the Word of Wisdom
5) Are you morally clean?
6) Are you a member of good standing?
7) Are you free of legal entanglements?
8) Do you feel you are worthy to enter the Temple?
It is then that members responsibility to utilize their recommend and perform work for those ancestors that may be waiting for it.
President Hinckley, in the May 1998 Ensign said:
“If temple ordinances are an essential part of the restored gospel, and I testify that they are, then we must provide the means by which they can be accomplished. All of our vast family history endeavor is directed to temple work. There is no other purpose for it. The temple ordinances become the crowning blessings the Church has to offer.”
I have a testimony that Temple work brings great blessings to both the living and the dead. If you are a member and are not worthy at this time to enter the Temple, I encourage you to begin making the effort. Pray to Heavenly Father to understand the importance of redeeming the dead. The Temple the most peaceful place on earth and is well worth any effort it might take to get there.