"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
"And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (Mal. 4:5-6.)"The temple work for the Church is going forward," said President Spencer W. Kimball in a general conference address in April 1977. "We are proud of the service rendered, attendance at the temple; but is not total service required? It was brought out in our meeting the other day that to go to the temple is not sufficient; we must get many, many names of people so that we can carry on the work for them."
At the time President Kimball spoke, there were 16 temples in operation in the Church; he indicated there would be others. Today, there are 46 in operation.
"Have you thought of the other work that can be done nearby and far away?" President Kimball asked. "One does not need to live in the temple district very close to carry on this work. Great quantities of genealogical data and family records can be produced and made available for the work which can be done later when temples are available. Perhaps this is preeminent.
"So we urge all our multitudes of people to write their personal records and biographies and their genealogies and all be prepared for the days when the temples are made available and can be used by all. This is a program followed by members of this Church, but today there are numerous friends – Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and others – who are filling our genealogical rooms with their preparation of their family lines."
President Kimball said the prophecy recorded in Mal. 4:5-6 is "an ominous, portentous thing."
"With a century of intensive work in genealogy and records, there has been a great accumulation of records of life, birth, death; and today there are millions of people in eternity, many of them who have lived on the earth at a time when records were not kept, and the work was not done, and temples were not erected, and prophets did not exist."