Yesterday would have been my great-grandmother’s 119th birthday. She was 97 years old when she died, and she was an amazing woman. I was born on her birthday, and it is the source of my love for my birthday despite my ever-increasing age. I am thankful every day that she hung around this mortal coil not only long enough for me to know her, but long enough for me to love her and remember her.
My great-grandmother, like generations in my family before her, was Catholic. So, on February 24, 1996 I stood in as proxy for her baptism at the Washington DC Temple. Without going in to too much detail, it is to this day one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had. By that time, she had been dead for almost 5 years, but it felt like she was right there with me. I felt like I was back beside her chair again and could look in her face again and hear her voice. In some of my darkest hours this experience helped anchor me to God, and to the Gospel. It also helped to anchor me to my family. Instead of a random assortment of individuals that I share DNA with I started to more fully embrace that we were really all in this together.
I have a strong testimony of proxy work when done properly with the proper motivation. I believe this work is for the benefit of the living proxy as well as the dead. It gets us in tune with our departed kin, and turns the hearts of the father to the children and the children to the father in a way that cannot be accomplished in mortality. We can stretch our hands across generations, and touch beyond this veil of tears to where these loved ones reside.
I’m not foolish; I know that even if we worked in The Temple night and day for the rest of our lives we could never get all of the Temple work done. In that respect, I do believe that our Heavenly Parents will work it all out in the end. Every head of our hairs is numbered and none will be forgotten. As with all things, ours is to do the best that we can to honor these ties that bind us together by performing work that the dead cannot accomplish for themselves. We need our history, and our history needs us.
What are your thoughts on ordinances by proxy?