How to Prepare for Proxy Work in The Temple

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By Lauren Madsen

In the last several years I have tried to make my temple experiences more meaningful by  preparing myself more fully for proxy work. My preparation reminds me in a powerful way that these are actual people and not just names on a piece of paper. When I leave my house I tell my kids, “I am taking {insert name here} to the temple today.” The individuals waiting for work to be done are so much more than a name. They had lives with jobs, families, and friends. They had hopes and dreams, victories and setbacks. 

Here are some ideas to help you as you prepare to take individuals to the temple.

If you have a family name:

  • Log in to Family Search and click on the individual’s profile
  • Look for anything you can find, both on the details page and within the sources
  • When and where were they born?
  • Did they have siblings? Where did they fall in the birth order?
  • What did they do for work? (Can sometimes be found on a census record)
  • Were they married? Did they have children?
  • Is there an obituary attached?
  • Learn how to pronounce their name if you can
  • Say a prayer that the individual whose name you hold will accept the ordinance you are about to perform for them

If you will be using a name from the temple

  • If you are getting ready for an endowment session, try arriving a few minutes early to look at the name and other information in the chapel
  • Say a prayer that the individual whose name you hold will accept the ordinance you are about to perform for them

Preparation is such an important part of turning the hearts of the children to their fathers (Malachi 4:6). Elder Quentin L. Cook talked about a future day when we will meet those we have done work for in the temple, “Don’t underestimate the influence of the deceased in assisting your efforts and the joy of ultimately meeting those you serve. The eternally significant blessing of uniting our own families is almost beyond comprehension.”

I love how Sister Sheri Dew described temple work, “This work is all about people. It’s about giving every one of our Heavenly Father’s sons and daughters the chance to make covenants and receive saving, exalting ordinances. It’s all about helping His children return home to Him.” If we can remember that serving in the temple is more than just something on our to-do list we will have blessed experiences. 

President Joseph F. Smith taught, “Through our efforts in their behalf their chains of bondage will fall from them, and the darkness surrounding them will clear away, that light may shine upon them and they shall hear in the spirit world of the work that has been done for them by their children here, and will rejoice with you in your performance of these duties.” As I imagine our eventual meetings with those we have set free, I look forward to the mutual rejoicing at the opportunities the Lord has blessed us with.

1 comment

  • Susan D'Andrea

    I do a lot of family history for my ancestors and my husband’s. Whenever I share names with family members, including our grandchildren, I tell them a little about them, like “these are Great Grandpa Jack’s cousins.”

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