Family History Scriptures

Coming of Elijah

Malachi 4:5-6. Probably the most important genealogy scripture of all is Malachi's prophecy of the coming of Elijah. We truly see the Spirit of Elijah working with the people in the world today. This same scripture is also found in 3 Nephi 25:5-6, where Jesus is giving to the Nephites the important scripturtures that were revealed to the prophets in the old world after Lehi left Jerusalem. A slightly different version of this scripture is given in D&C 27:9. A version of this scripture that specifically mentions Prieshood is D&C section 2. It is the Priesthood through which the sealing powers operate. D&C 138:46-48. This is another scripture that tells the meaning of temples and what Malachi's prophecy about the coming of Elijah means. Through the spirit of Elijah children are sealed to their parents. D&C 110:13-16. This is the fulfilment of the prophecy of the coming of Elijah. In this vision the ancient prophets appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and restored the different keys of past dispensation.

D&C 128:24. This scripture again links priesthood and temple and genealogy work. This scripture tells us what the offering of the sons of Levi will be as referred to in D&C 13. Section 13 is the ordination of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to the Aaronic Priesthood under the hands of John the Baptist. Alma 13:16. When this scriptures refers to ordinance it is probably talking about priesthood since this whole chapter is about priesthood. Of course priesthood is tied up with the idea of eternal ordnances and the Abrahamic Covenant. D&C 110:12. In this scripture the gospel of Abraham or the blessings of Abraham relate to temple ordinances. Also it refers to all generations being blessed.

Hebrews 11:40. Jospeh Smith probably refers to this scripture in D&C 128:15 and further explained it in verse 18. Without the modern day scriptures, I would have a difficult time knowing that the "they" refers to the dead. Chapter 11 talks about faith. It also talks about some of the martyrs for Christ's sake, so maybe that is how to know that the "they" refers to ancestors.

Sealing in Heaven and On Earth

Matthew 16:18-19. This scripture covers the idea of keys and binding together. Peter as head of the Church, as well as all the modern prophets, held these keys. This scriptures refers to the sealing powers of the Priesthood which Elijah restored as prophesied by Malachi ( Malachi 4:5-6). It is interesting to note that Malachi doesn't specifically mention either keys or Priesthood, but we know from modern revelation that this is the case. For example see D&C 128:8-10 where Joseph Smith telling us how binding in heaven and on earth refers to recording of temple ordnances, in particular baptism for the dead. The entire 128th section of the Doctrine and Covenants is about baptism for the dead and temple work. Also keys are mentioned with the coming of Eliajah to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland temple D&C 110:13-16. Joseph and Oliver received the keys of all the dispensations at this time (verse 16).

D&C 132:45-46. This is another scripture that talks about sealing in Heaven and on earth, but this scripture is a little bit different because we learn from it that the prophets also have power to remit sins.

D&C 127:6-9. Keeping accurate records of temple work performed is absolutely essential, since what is bound on earth is bound in heaven, and we and our dead will be judged by what is written in the books (D&C 128:6-7).

Family History was Performed Anciently

Moses 6:8. Genealogies have been kept since the time of Adam, with God himself showing the pattern for a book of remembrance ( Moses 6:46). Even back to Job's time we were told that we should search out information about the former age and the life of our fathers, Job 8: 8.

1 Chronicles 9:1 Family histories and genealogies have been very important to the house of Israel from the beginning. When the jews returned from captivity in Babylon only those who could validate there lineage where allowed to hold the priesthood. See Ezra 2:62 and Nehemiah 7:64.

1 Corinthians 15:29. I think this is the only time that baptism for the dead is mentioned in the bible. It shows that baptism for the dead was practiced in New Testament times, and that it was sufficiently common that it could be used to show the reality of the resurrection.

It was important to the Book of Mormon people that they knew their genealogy otherwise they wouldn't have mentioned it so much. See 1 Nephi 3:12, 1 Nephi 5:14, Alma 37:3. In Omni 1:18 we find that after the people of Zarahemla are instructed in the language of Mosiah the first thing they did was to make a record of the genealogy of their forefathers. It was also important for the book of Mormon people to know that they were descendants of Joseph. It helps us live a better life knowing about our righteous ancestors as the prophet Helaman explaned to his sons Nephi and Lehi (Helaman 5:6).


The temple is the Lord's house, D&C 110:6. See also D&C 109:12. The temple is the Lord's dwelling place on earth and the children of Israel prayed toward the temple, 1 Kings 8:26-30. The Lord told Solomon that He would dwell among the children of Israel if they would keep the commandments, 1 Kings 6:11-14. The LORD is in His holy temple Habakkuk 2:20. The Lord will put His sanctuary in the midst of the people, Ezekiel 37:26. The Lord's voice came from the temple, Isaiah 66:6. When the Lord comes again He will "suddenly come to his temple", Malachi 3:1, and 3 Nephi 24:1, D&C 36:8, D&C 42:36. The Lord's people are always commanded to build temples.

The purpose of the temple is so "that those ordinances might be revealed which had been hid from before the world was." D&C 124:38. Baptisms for the dead should only be performed in temples, D&C 124:28-30 and D&C 124:37. However in the early days of the Church the Lord did accept baptisms performed outside the temple before the Saints had time to build a temple, 124:30. The baptismal font is symbolic of the grave and coming forth out of the water as the resurrection, D&C 128:12-13. Solomon's temple had a molten sea set upon twelve oxen similar to our temple baptismal fonts, 2 Chronicles 4:2 and 1 Kings 7:23-26. Sacred ordinances are revealed to the Lord's people in the temples, D&C 124:39-42. Verse 39 mentions the endowment by name. Verses 40-42 tell us that the Lord will reveal his ordinance in the temple. Ezekiel 43:10 tells about the forms and ordinances of the house of the Lord or the temple. We are "endowed with power from on high" in the temple, D&C 38:32. See also verse 38 and D&C 95:8. Other scriptures that mention the endowment are D&C 110:9, D&C 105:11-12, 18 and 33. Verse 33 is particularly good on telling about the endowment being given in the temple. In this case it is interesting that the Lord is talking about the Kirtland temple. However, He must have been looking forward to other temples since the endowment wasn't revealed to Joseph Smith until the Nauvoo time period. Although some preliminary parts of the endowment were practiced in the Kirtland temple. See quotes by Brigham Young and Orson Pratt in "Temples of the Most High" pages 273 and 385. We need to receive the blessings of the temple so that we can be crowned with eternal life, D&C 124:55. D&C 128:16-18 has additional scriptural explanations about temple work. Verse 17 talks about Priesthood. Doing our genealogies builds links between the present and our ancestors. These verses only talk of baptism for the dead, and not the other temple ordinances. These scriptures would probably apply to the other temple ordinances as well, but the other ordinances had not yet been revealed to the prophet Joseph.

In the temple we can be sealed as husband and wife. It is only as an eternal couple that we can enter into the highest degree of the celestial kingdom. See D&C 131:1-4 and D&C 132:19-20. The sealing of a man and women together is not a man made institution, Mark 10:8 but instead is ordained of God, and as such shouldn't be taken lightly. The new and everlasting covenant only applies to those who abide the law, D&C 132:6. D&C 132:13 Tells us that any social organization that is not of God will be ended when men are dead. Verse 18 tells us that a marriage that is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise will not last beyond the grave.

No unclean thing is to be permitted to come into the Lord house and pollute it, D&C 109:20. Only worthy people are to be able to enter the temple, Ezekiel 44:9, Psalm 24:3, and Psalm 15:1-4. Psalm 24 is the one that says "Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD," Psalm 15 is quite similar. The scripture also tells us that the Levites are to administer in the temple. Scriptural references that show that only people with proper authority can enter the temple are: Uzziah the king went into the temple to burn incense and was cursed with leprosy because he tried to act in the priest's role without the proper authority, 2 Chronicles 26:16-21. Uzza was struck down by the Lord for touching the ark of the covenant, 1 Chronicles 13:9-10. In our day the ordinances of the temple are conducted by the power and authority of the priesthood, but women are also able to perform temple ordinance. In Christ day I don't believe women were even allowed into the area where the sacrifices where offered, but that might not have been the case in earlier temples since their was a court of the women in Herod's temple, but not in Solomon's temple or the tabernacle.

It was the Lord's will that the saints were to build a house unto the Lord in Kirtland. The people are to "build a house unto me ... my glory shall rest upon it" D&C 97:15-17. If they were faithful they were promised they would have success, D&C 95:11. Temples are so important that we need to sacrifice to make them come about, D&C 109:5. It was a great sacrifice for the early saints to build the Kirtland Temple. The fame of the Lords house will spread to all lands, D&C 110:10. This prophesy is continuing to be fulfilled today as people throughout the world learn about the LDS temples.

Section 109 is the dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland temple given to Joseph Smith by revelation, D&C 109:12-13. The temple is to be a house of prayer, D&C 109:16. Also D&C 88:119 instructs the Church to establish a house of prayer, a house of learning, etc,. This same scripture is also found in D&C 109:8. The school of the prophets was to become "the house of the Lord," and a tabernacle of the Holy Spirit, D&C 88:137 Solomon's temple was also to be the center of the people's prayers, 1 Kings 8:30. The Lord uses the temples to give us power from on high. See verse 22 where it tells us that we go unto all the world armed with power that comes in the temple. When Joseph F. Smith tells of his vision of the Spirit world he saw the Prophet Joseph and other early Church leaders who laid the foundations for the restoration "including the building of the temples" and the ordinances performed therein, D&C 138:53-54.

The Lord's house will be established in the top of the mountain and all nations shall flow unto it, Isaiah 2:2-3, Micah 4:1-2, and 2 Nephi 12:2-3. These scriptures are all very similar particularly Isaiah and 2 Nephi. In Psalm where it say "Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place" Psalm 24:3-4 it is almost certainly referring to the temple. The Lords holy mountain will be a house of prayer, Isaiah 56:6-8. This scripture also illustrates that it not just the children of Israel that are the LORD's people.

Independence Missouri is to be the center place of Zion and a temple will be built there, D&C 57:3. A temple will be the center of the New Jerusalem, D&C 84: 4-5. The Lord's glory will rest upon the temple.The Lord's house will also be rebuilt in Jerusalem, Zechariah 1:16 and Amos 9:11. Also Acts 15:16-17, but this scripture almost sounds like it is referring to the restoration of the gospel more than the temple in Jerusalem.

The temple was also important to the Book of Mormon people. One of the first things the Nephites did when they came to the promised land was to build a temple, 2 Nephi 5:16. When Jacob taught the people he did it in the temple, Jacob 1:17. When Christ appeared to the Nephites it was by the temple in Bountiful, 3 Nephi 11:1-2.

Before Solomon built the temple, the tabernacle was the house of the Lord in Israel, Judges 18:31 and 1 Samuel 1:7. The children of Israel were commanded to build a tabernacle where the Lord could dwell, Exodus 25:1-9 after the pattern the Lord directs. Moses is commanded to setup the tabernacle of the congregation (Exodus 25:1-3 and Exodus 26:30). The Lord will sanctify the tabernacle and dwell among the children of Israel Exodus 29:42-45 He was also to wash, anoint and cloth Aaron and his sons so they can minister in the priesthood ordinances in the temple, Exodus 40:12-16. The Lord spoke to Moses out of the tabernacle, Leviticus 1:1-2 and appeared unto Moses in the tabernacle, Deuteronomy 31:15. It is interesting that the tabernacle is often times referred to as the tabernacle of the congregation. This must have been to remind them that the tabernacle was for the people not just for Moses and Aaron. The Lord also tells Moses that the tabernacle is His and must not be defiled, Leviticus 15:31. In Numbers 1:50 the tabernacle is referred to as the tabernacle of testimony. Also in Numbers 9:15-16 where it tells about the cloud covering the tabernacle by day and the fire by night. When the Children of Israel came into the promised land they setup the tabernacle Joshua 18:1.

Paul describes the tabernacle and how the High Priest went through the veil into the "Holiest of all" only once a year to offer for the sins of the people, Hebrews 9:1-7. This symbolizes the atonement that Jesus Christ made for us Hebrews 9:10. Paul explains that the purpose of the law of Moses was to point to the reformation (coming of Christ, not the reformation of European history). Jesus is referred to as a minister of the true tabernacle, Hebrews 8:2.

The temple in Jerusalem was built on mount Moriah, 2 Chronicles 3:1, where according to tradition Abraham was commanded to offer up his son as a sacrifice, Genesis 22:2. According to the Bible Dictionary Josephus was the first to record this tradition. This location is also where the prophet Gad told David to set up an alter to the Lord, 1 Chronicles 21:18. This is also the site where the temple of Solomon was built, 1 Chronicles 22:1. The temple Solomon built after the pattern of the tabernacle but double in size. David wanted to build a temple to the Lord, but the Lord told him to wait and let his son build it, 2 Samuel 7:2-3, 2 Samuel 7:12-13, 1 Kings 5:2-5, 1 Chronicles 22:5-11, and 1 Chronicles 28:5-6. Solomon builds a house unto the Lord, 2 Chronicles 2:1. The Lord accepts the temple that Solomon built, 1 Kings 9:2-3.

When Zacharias the father of John the Baptist sees a vision and is told that he will have a son it was in the temple, Luke 1:8-11 and 22. When Hannah prayed to have a son it was in the temple, 1 Samuel 1:9-11

The temple was important in the Savior's life as indicated by the many times it is mentioned in Jesus's life. When he was 12 years old he was at the temple to learn of his mission, Luke 2:41-49. Jesus cleansed the temple so that it could be a house of prayer, Mark 11:15-17, Luke 19:45-46, and John 2:14-16. Jesus cleansed the temple a second time just after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Matthew 21:12-13. Many of his teachings and healings took place in the temple, see for example Matthew 21:14, John 8:20. He taught there how the Lord see generosity when they observe the poor widow casting her two mites was into the temple store house, Luke 21:1-4, and Mark 12:41-44. Jesus talked with the leaders of the Jews in the temple on many occasions John 10:22. In the scriptures the term Jews refers to the leaders, not to the people as a whole. When Jesus died on the cross "the veil of the temple was rent in twain" Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:37-38, Luke 23:44-45.

The early disciples after Jesus's death also spent much time in the temple, Acts 2:46.

The Lord foretells the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, Matthew 24:1-2 and Luke 21:5-6. Jesus' prophesy that the temple would be destroyed is also found in the Doctrine and Covenants, D&C 45:20-1.

In the Book of Revelations John talks about a temple in heaven, Revelation 15:5 but in Revelation 21:22 John talks about there being no temple in the New (maybe the old) Jerusalem because God and the Lamb are the temple of it. In the next verse, 23, it talks about having no need for the sun or the moon because the "Lamb is the light thereof." I would assume that it is talking symbolically since there are other scriptures talking about the temple in both the old and the new Jerusalem.

Our bodies are referred to in scripture as the tabernacles and temples of God and the Lord dwelleth not in unholy temples, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 2 Corinthians 6:16, Mosiah 2:37, Alma 7:21, Helaman 4:24, and D&C 93:35. Jesus referred to His body as a temple, Matthew 27:39-40, Mark 15:29-30, and John 2:18-22. When the Pharisees looked for witness to accuse Jesus they found people who witnessed that Jesus would destroy the temple and build it again in 3 days, Matthew 26:59-61 and Mark 14:55-58. The Lord tells the Pharisees that he is greater than the temple, Matthew 12:6.

Paul refers to the Church organizations as a "holy temple in the Lord," Ephesians 2:21. The rightious are to becomes "a pillar in the temple of my God," Revelation 3:12.

The Children of Israel in Jeremiah's time were polluting themselves and the Lords house, Jeremiah 7:9-11. Jeremiah 10:20-21, in Jeremiah's day the leaders of the people had strayed from the Lord. This might not be referring to the tabernacle of the congregation that Moses set up, but instead seems to be much more figurative. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon destroyed the temple by fire, 2 Kings 25:8-9 and Jeremiah 52:13. After the captivity the children of Israel rebuilt the temple, Ezra 1:1-4 and brought back the gold and silver from Babylon, Ezra 6:5.

Ezekiel is shown a vision in which he is commanded to measure the size of the temple, Ezekiel 40:2. He also saw waters coming out under the temple and becoming a river that flow to the dead sea and healed it, Ezekiel 47:1 and Ezekiel 47:8. In the book of revelations John is also asked to measure the temple, Revelation 11:1.

D&C 124:24, this scripture is talking about the Nauvoo house, but it shows that our dwelling places can be holy if we "shall not suffer any pollution" to come into it.

Psalm 122:1 talks about rejoicing about going to the temple. The rest of the Psalm rejoices in Jerusalem and not really the Temple. It was easy for the people to lose track of the fact that it is the temple that is important not the land of Jerusalem. A big part of the problems in the Middle East today is that people feel bound to the land, not bound to the ideals of Zion.

In Revelation those dressed in white robes serve Him day and night in his temple, Revelation 7:13-15.

When the foundation of the temple was lain the people shouted for joy, Ezra 3:10-13. However others wept because it wasn't as nice as the earlier temple had been.

This Work Brings Salvation to the Dead

Through temple work we can open the doors of Spirit Prison (Isaiah 42:7) for our ancestors and others that have gone before that we can become one eternal family D&C 130:2. Isaiah 42:7 is probably more properly a prophecy of Christ, but we can help Him in his work. Both ideas are in the footnote at the bottom of the page. D&C 137:7-10, All who have died that would have received the gospel in this life can be saved in Heavenly Father's kingdom, but they must do it through the gate of baptism, 2 Nephi 31:17-18.

John 5: 25-29 The whole point of temple work is so that the dead can benefit from the ordnances that we the living are administering. They have to hear the gospel and accept it to take advantage of the ordnances that we are offering them. Romans 14:8. For God there isn't a big difference between the living and the dead. We can all be His even if we might have passed to the next life.

1 Peter 3:18-20. This tells us that Christ taught the people in the Spirit world. Also it tells us that when Christ made the atonement and suffered for sins it wasn't just for the living, but it also applies to the dead.

1 Peter 4:5-6. The idiom "the quick" refers to the people who are now living. This scripture again tells us that Christ is over both the living and the dead. D&C 138: 57. Missionary work in the spirit world continues today.

D&C 128:5. Baptism for the dead is to bring salvation to those who have died without a knowledge of the gospel.

Obadiah 1:21 As we do temple work for our ancestors we become saviors on mount Zion. Often the phrase "beautiful upon the mountains are the feet" refer to those who are doing temple work. See: Isaiah 52:7, Nahum 1:15, 3 Nephi 20:40, and D&C 128:19, but in Mosiah 15:18(13-18) it seems to be referring to the prophets instead.

D&C 138:11-19. In this vision Joseph F. Smith saw the Savior's appearance to the spirit world. D&C 138:27-30. Christ didn't actually preach to the spirits in prison himself, but instead organized the righteous people who were in the spirit world to preach to the dead.

D&C 138:32-34. In order for the dead to take advantage of vicarious baptism they must accept and live the gospel in the spirit world. See also verses 58 and 59.

D&C 76:73-74. This is in the part of the vision about who will inherit the terrestrial world. These are the people who won't accept Christ until at the end. Maybe the good people that don't know about the Church (The ones that we are doing temple work for) don't go to the prison?

D&C 27:13. This scripture is interesting because it shows how much missionary work and genealogy work are really the same thing. That is genealogy is gathering together "which are in heaven" and missionary work is gathering together "which are on earth." It seems many genealogy scriptures also refer to the priesthood. Verse 12 talks about Peter, James, and John and how they were apostles.

D&C 128:14. We are to be saved with our dead. This scripture, as well as many others, compares the mission of Adam and Christ. For example there is also: 1 Corinthians 15:21.

Moses 7: 57. This scripture again tells us why we do temple work, so that the spirits can be delivered from the chains of Satan.

Miscellaneous Scriptures about Family History

D&C 64:29-34. This scripture would generally be thought of as one about the building of the kingdom from small things in the early days of the Church. However, Sister Fran Davis used it in her last Family Records Extraction Leadership Meeting. It is very appropriate for extraction where the little things done by each worker gets built into the worlds largest genealogy database.

Mosiah 4:27 There has to be a time an season to do genealogy. We can't do it all at once.

1 Timothy 1:4. Genealogies in an of themselves won't save us. Even doing genealogy can be a bad thing if we have the wrong attitude.

D&C 85:4. I don't see how to use this scripture for a talk or something like that, since it is talking about the people who will be cut off from the Church. It is here just for completeness, since it does mention genealogy.