Temple Moments: `My heritage'

Living in Omaha, Neb., Scott and Amy Bingham Jensen were about nine hours by bus from the Chicago Illinois Temple. Subsequently, their trips to the temple were few, and they were only occasionally involved in learning more of their family history and heritage.

However, in 1996 when the Church honored the sesquicentennial of the arrival of the Saints at the Winter Quarters-Council Bluffs area, the Jensens were there to participate. During this time, Sister Jensen learned more about her ancestor, Erastus Bingham of Vermont, who joined the Church in 1833 and took part in many significant events in the Church during his lifetime.That same year, she also learned more about another Bingham ancestor. In conjunction with the sesquicentennial, Sister Jensen's father, Robert Bingham, coordinated a large family reunion for Thomas Bingham. This forebear was the first to come to America, arriving in 1659 as a 17-year-old with his mother, Ann Fenton.

At the reunion, Bingham relatives from 13 states gathered in Norwich, Conn., to participate in the placement of a granite shaft at the burial site of Thomas and his wife, Mary Rudd Bingham. Brother Bingham and his wife, Lynetta, collected funds for this project.

"I came to know and appreciate more about my Bingham ancestry," said Sister Jensen.

In June of this year, she and her husband moved to Tucson, Ariz., where they were able to attend the temple more frequently.

"Soon thereafter, we attended the Arizona Temple in Mesa, and were invited to assist with some sealings," she said. "We were happy for the opportunity since we had not resided near a temple for quite some time."

As the Jensens took part in the sealing ceremony, the officiator coincidentally began to read the names of several of Thomas Bingham's family, including his father and mother.

"I had assumed that the work had been done for all these family members," said Sister Jensen. "I was overcome with tears and joy, which flowed more freely as additional Bingham names were read and ordinances performed.

"Truly, I have a gained a greater knowledge and appreciation for my heritage during this sesquicentennial year," she said.

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