Mormons are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Genealogy connects to certain beliefs and practices in the Mormon religion. FamilySearch, one of the most popular genealogy websites, is a service provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The FamilySearch About Page includes the following: “Our commitment to helping people connect with their ancestors is rooted in our beliefs – that families are meant to be central to our lives and that family relationships are intended to continue beyond this life. We hold that all family members – those living, those past, and those future – share an enduring bond that reaches across generations. To us this means that families are forever, and an important part of acting on this belief is doing family history.”
Many Mormons will use FamilySearch to work on their genealogy. They can also make use of any of the over 4,500 family history centers operated around the world by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Volunteers (both Mormon and those who follow other religions) can volunteer to help compile and record important information about people who have died. Those records are then made publicly available.
According to Mormon.org “Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints use family history records to perform sacred temple ordinances, such as eternal marriages and sealings of children to parents, for their kindred dead if these deceased family members were unable to perform the earthly rites themselves. This gives deceased ancestors the opportunity to accept these ordinances in the afterlife.”
PBS states that one of the core tenets of the Mormon faith is that the dead can be baptized into the faith after their passing. Mormon.org explains it this way: “Because not everyone who has ever lived has had or will have the opportunity to be baptized, baptism by proxy can be performed by the living for the dead, and it becomes effective if the person who has died accepts the gospel in the afterlife while awaiting resurrection. In this manner, generations of families can be bound together, with living family members being baptized for their ancestors.”
One of the reasons why Mormons do genealogy is to learn more about their ancestors, whom they believe they will meet in the afterlife. Genealogy research can potentially reveal an ancestor who had not been baptized into the Mormon faith. A descendant of that person can start the process of making that baptism happen. It all connects to the belief that families are forever.
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