A central focus among members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is uniting families for this life and eternity. Members are invited to do this through family history and frequent temple attendance.

“The Lord encourages us as members of His Church to preserve our own family history, to learn from our ancestors, and to make the necessary arrangements for them to receive the ordinances of the gospel in the temples to help them to progress along the covenant path, which will bless them with an eternal family,” said Elder Benjamín De Hoyos of the Seventy in his April 2023 General Conference address.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides many resources for opportunities to unite families on this side of the veil and the other.

This includes FamilySearch centers that are diversly designed so that almost anyone can find their ancestor’s information and organize it properly so that they may perform saving ordinances for them in the temple.

Local wards and branches also provide family history consultants who can guide participants every step of the way.

Communications senior at BYU-Idaho, Erika Cook, is the family history consultant in her ward in Rexburg.

She provides many services for those interested in the stories of their ancestors in her ward. Family history has become quite significant to her as she has continued to grow in the knowledge and love, especially for her grandparents.

“I was taking a class where I had to write and edit a book during the semester. Almost two years ago, my grandpa was diagnosed with Alzheimers and I knew someone needed to write down his and my grandma’s stories before we lost them all,” said Cook.

Cook explained what she did to learn more about her grandparents.

“So I started writing a biography about their life,” Cook said. “It took a lot of time and effort, but while I started learning about their stories and the trials and good things they went through, I felt something different!”

Cook explained how she felt during the process.

“I would look forward to writing, researching and learning every day,” Cook said. “Doing my family history of just learning where I came from became really fun!”

Family history has been shown to provide other benefits as well.

BYU recently did a study about how doing family history work can improve the psychological well-being of young adults.

“(They found that) the people in the family history class increased in their self-esteem, reduced anxiety and increased in resilience,” said David A. Wood, BYU accounting professor and co-author of the study. “More specifically, participating in family history research increased self-esteem by 8% and reduced anxiety by 20%.”

Cook added her additional testimony to the benefits of family history.

“It’s affected my family in a really sweet way. I feel so much closer with my family and feel like I have special bonds with them because I know their history and mine,” said Cook.