Three Ways Spiritual Gifts Manifest in Family History Work

Three Ways Spiritual Gifts Manifest in Family History Work May 10, 2024

I grew up in a family that comfortably believed our dearly departed were not eternally dead. Uncles and aunts had dreams and encounters in the House of the Lord with departed family members. The experiences fascinated me. While I believed the family stories, I hadn’t personally experienced anything similar. So I asked my aunt about how she was able to see.  She told me that connections to the spirit world were spiritual gifts and if I wanted to use those gifts to build the Lord’s kingdom, I should seek diligently and ask Him for those spiritual gifts.  When I finally believed that I could ask God for these spiritual gifts, I earnestly sought them and asked Him.

Three Ways These Spiritual Gifts Manifest in Family History Work

Promptings and Feelings to Act

I’ve learned that these spiritual gifts manifest in multiple ways through our senses.

One of the first times I recognized these gifts were growing was while tromping through an overgrown and decaying cemetery in East Texas. I knew Anthony’s ancestors’ names but hadn’t found a record of any children besides his great-grandfather.  I found the 2nd great grandparents’ headstone with some extended family nearby. I examined the graves, felt like I had seen the extent of the cemetery, and then decided to move on to another cemetery.  As I started out of the cemetery, I felt a pull to a far corner without any obvious headstones.  When I arrived, I saw three tiny headstones with the names of the 2nd great-grandparents and these little children’s names and dates. They’d all died as infants. I would have totally missed them!

Indexing of Texas records helped me find Anthony’s great-grandfather’s siblings later, but I’ve never found those three infants mentioned anywhere but that cemetery.

Protection while Doing Family History Work

Another time my dad, his siblings, and spouses met up for a few days in New York State near the place where my 4th great-grandfather joined the church and then left for Kirtland. I tagged along to explore the area for family history purposes.  We saw the family homestead and found the place where great-grandfather joined the church.  I went off exploring and found some information about the family from a long-lost cousin, not a member of the Church, who happened to be the editor of the town newspaper. Our family tree connected with ancestors born in the 1730s! This cousin met my dad and siblings the next day and I was shocked at how similar they were – down to the way they stood, some facial features, and the same sense of humor.

The cousin told me about a family gravesite and gave me directions.  It was hard to find and I arrived after dark.

headstones in dark cemetery spiritual gifts family history work
Photo by Attila Lisinszky on Unsplash

I wandered the cemetery by the light of my phone.  I found headstones of my people who died long ago. After an hour of kneeling at the base of headstones and logging information, the wind picked up.  I stood up with a super eerie feeling and started laughing because I realized I was in New England in October in a cemetery and it seemed like the beginning of a horror film … except I hadn’t heard of a horror film starting while someone was doing family history.

In that moment, I felt a sense of protection I hadn’t really felt before. I knew I was not alone in that cemetery and caught a glimpse of the power and protection given when consecrating time to family history.

I have called on that protective power while traversing some sketchy situations or when I feel bombarded by the adversary while moving our family’s history forward.

Direct Guidance

Another way these spiritual gifts manifest in family history work is very direct.  I’m awakened in the night and directed to Family Search. I pick up my phone, pull up the family tree, and am told which way to go. One night, in April 2023, I felt directed to a family line that I hadn’t looked at in a while because it had seemed really done for decades.

I clicked on my 5th great-grandfather, clicked Descendants with Tasks, and found hundreds of cousins in need of ordinances. These cousins descended primarily from the family members who had not joined The Church of Jesus Christ. Many just needed sealing ordinances when I found them. I began working on their sealings in our temple.  I sent baptisms and confirmations to my nieces and nephews, initiatories and endowments to parents, siblings, nephews, and others willing to help.

Over the past year, the windows of heaven opened in every way for me with blessings too numerous to mention.  These family members are with me in the temple. I feel their sense of urgency.


One night, in absolute overwhelm and gratitude for what was happening to me because of this family, I asked the Lord, “Why me? These ancestors have thousands of covenanted descendants. Why was I able to experience these miracles?”  The answer was multifaceted but ultimately boiled down to the fact that I was available. I was available and the Lord and this family knew I would do everything in my power to do this work for them.

We’ve done thousands of their ordinances now and are starting to see an endpoint. So many people have helped administer the ordinances of the temple for this family which is so special to me.  Some of the ordinance workers felt these family members with us. Some of the ordinance workers listened to my stories about them. Most of the ordinance workers consecrate time in service at the House of the Lord and don’t know how they’ve impacted me and my family.


Our Father’s work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children.  And that is the work that we do in His holy house.

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