Why Mormons emphasize Genealogy Work

Why Mormons emphasize Genealogy Work


Have you ever wondered why researching family history is so important to your Mormon friends?  Genealogy work is tied to one of the three main missions of the Mormon church, namely, redeeming the dead.


Mormonism teaches that its members can help people who have died.  They help them by receiving temple ordinances in their names.  In Mormon temples, not only are Mormons baptized for the dead, they also receive other ordinances.  They go through the endowment ceremony for those who have died and also are married vicariously for the dead.  They believe that, until the dead receive these vicarious ordinances, they will not be able to progress in the afterlife.  That is why one of the three main missions of the Mormon church is to redeem the dead.


In order to do this temple work, however, they need to do the genealogical research necessary to identify the people they will help in this way.  Thus, the importance of researching their family history.


The belief that people have opportunities to be “redeemed” even after they have died lessens considerably the sense of urgency for some Mormons.  The truth we need to tell them is that this lifetime, and this lifetime alone, is the time God has given them to trust in Jesus and he alone for salvation.  Warning them that their time is running out is the loving thing to do.


My name is Mark Cares, encouraging you to speak the truth in love to Mormons.




4 Responses to “Why Mormons emphasize Genealogy Work”

  1. 1 Jesse
    July 21, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Hi Mark,

    If a Mormon does, as you say, feel less urgency in this life because they are relying on being redeemed after they have died, then they are in the wrong.

    As a member of the LDS Church, I affirm that we do perform ordinances vicariously for people who have passed away. However, those ordinances will only be able to be accepted by those people who did not have a fair chance in their mortal lives to hear, understand, and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only God is the judge as to who had a fair chance or not in this life.

    As for the LDS Church, this is the doctrine which we teach concerning the importance of our faith and obedience to God in this mortal life:

    Alma 34:32-34 – “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.” (Emphasis added)

    I hope this makes clear what our doctrine is concerning that.

  2. 2 Sheila Wiley-Neff
    July 10, 2009 at 1:19 am

    Dear Jesse,

    I must respectfully ask, when you say “for those who have not had a fair chance to hear,understand accept the gospel of Jesus Christ” do you mean, those who were not Mormon? It is your geneology that finds “non members” that YOU feel have not accepted Jesus. So by saying, only God can judge if a man has accepted Jesus, this theory of baptizing contridicts that statement.

    Mormonism is not about Jesus, but about Joseph Smith, a MAN. Not God, not Gods Son…. a man!
    Why would you expect anyone reading this that is non-Mormon to care about any scripture that is not quoted from the bible?
    Let me help you

    “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

    You see, it is MY decision to repent my sins, and accept Jesus as my Savior. The verse is not followed by, unless you are lucky enough to have ties to the Mormon church and somebody can be baptized for you. Thats completley crazy to believe.
    IF, YOU can be baptized for me, well then I can live whatever life style I want, knowing that I have Mormon ties (my husband) and I will be saved.
    Im going to refrain from any other comment about Mormons, as I do feel is wrong to judge you, but my friend, you and my husband really need to research your religion and ask many questions. Do not believe something because you were taught that, research it and ASK!

    The Book of Mormon clearly contridicts the Bible. That is a fact.

  3. 3 geoff456
    July 10, 2009 at 8:04 am


    YOU need to tell us what YOU believe and LET US tell YOU what WE believe! :)

    You haven’t got a clue, sister! If anyone needs to study it is you!

    And BTW, over 13 million living (and countless now dead) see NO problem between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Clearly YOU are mistaken.

    ~Geoff, a happy Bible & Book of Mormon believer.

    Oh, and ever wonder why the Bible mentions one of those Temple ordinances…baptisms for the dead???? Hmmmmmmmmmm? And thanks for not “judging us”! (pretty sure you just did!) LOL

  4. 4 Jesse
    July 19, 2009 at 5:59 am

    Hi Sheila,

    First off, I hope to come across as non-confrontational as possible in this response. A face-to-face conversation with someone (for example, your husband) about this topic I’m sure would be much more useful. It’s clear, too, that either you haven’t talked to your husband much at all about this, or else he is a little mistaken in his doctrine.

    Please allow me also to witness to the truthfulness of the things that I wrote before. Likewise, I also know the Book of Mormon and the LDS faith to come from and be approved by our Father in Heaven. I have in fact studied these things out very carefully through the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and of course personal prayer. Believe me, I have asked many many questions about my faith.

    I do not understand your first paragraph. I figure our just give a brief overview of our church’s belief in regard to temple ordinances for the dead…

    In our faith, we believe that NO ONE can be saved and reach Heaven (i.e., the highest level of exaltation possible) without having previously completed all the saving ordinances required by God. These savings ordinances are (in order): baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, receiving the Priesthood of God (for men), being endowed in the temple of God, and being sealed to a spouse in the temple of God. Without these ordinances, one cannot be saved to Heaven.

    We believe God to be a loving and a just God. He will give ALL of his children an equal chance to hear, understand, and accept or reject the gospel of Jesus Christ. This can happen at two times: during our mortal lives here on Earth, or after we die. If someone dies without ever having had a fair chance to hear, understand, and accept or reject the gospel of Jesus Christ, then they will be given a chance after they die.

    If, after someone dies, they are able to hear and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and they accept it, this is where the predicament of ordinances for the dead kick in. All of the ordinances that I listed above (baptism, etc.) must be done while in the flesh. If someone accepts the gospel while no longer in the flesh, then they themselves CANNOT complete their own ordinances. Instead, people who are still living must complete their ordinances for them. Hence the scripture in Malachi 4:6 where the Lord says that Elijah will “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.” He was talking about genealogy work :).

    Now, naturally we here on Earth do not know who among those that have passed away has accepted or rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, would you want to be held accountable for deciding NOT to do someone’s ordinances for them after they had passed away because you were certain they would never accept the gospel, but in actuality they DID accept the gospel after they had passed away?

    This is why the members of the LDS faith complete the temple ordinances for ALL who have passed away. If they have accepted the gospel and are “waiting” for their ordinances to be completed, then they will assuredly be very happy when we do them for them. If they have not accepted the gospel and we do their ordinances for them, then it won’t matter because the ordinances will have no power for a faithless person.

    I really do hope I have made this more clear for you, Sheila. It really is a joy for me to know that even though many people in this world may not accept the gospel of Jesus Christ during this life, they may still be awarded another chance in the next.

    God bless! :)

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