Temple moments: Work of joy

In the summer of 1993, Anne and Dale Kirby of the Salem 5th Ward, Salem Oregon Stake, spent a remarkable few hours in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. There, they were able to compile more than 400 family names.

Sister Kirby felt particularly blessed as she discovered some 396 of her ancestors from Ireland. Some, she discovered, had died in the potato famine of 1846-48. However, on many of the names the script was old and difficult to read. Sister Kirby prayed and afterward was able to read, decipher and copy the names. Later in the fall she and their daughter, Ruth, processed and submitted 396 names, and Brother Kirby submitted 84 family names, to the Portland Oregon Temple.Because of the volume of names, the Kirbys asked the ward for help in completing the temple work.

In December 1993, the Salem 5th Ward held a youth temple excursion, under the direction of Bishop John Bestor. During the excursion, ward leaders, parents and youth, including Dale, Anne and Ruth Kirby, helped perform baptismal ordinances for the names in the Kirby family file.

In that sacred setting, fathers baptized their children in the vicarious ordinances, said Brother Kirby. "During the peaceful evening hours, the hearts of many parents and children were turned to each other. All who participated were edified and learned the importance of family history research and the joy it can bring."

The ward continued to assist. On ward and stake temple outings, ward members did the remainder of the ordinance work for the individuals whose baptisms had been done by the youth. By Nov. 17, 1994, all the ordinances and sealings were expected to be competed.

As ward members performed these endowments and sealings, many had special spiritual experiences, said Sister Kirby.

"Once, the ward members told us, the Spirit was so strong that everybody was weeping. They really felt the Spirit that day doing those names.

"It has been a wonderful experience. The ward has really gotten behind us and helped." She added that this does not complete their effort because the family history research and temple work is a continual thing in the Kirby family and Salem 5th Ward.

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