When I was a kid, my dad stopped smoking, stopped drinking alcohol and started going to church regularly with the family. Eventually, Big Tom received his LDS temple recommend.
September 11, 1982 was a big day for the Genessy family. That was the day when my mom and dad were sealed together in the Jordan River Temple, which was 16 years after they were married at the East Millcreek Third Ward chapel on July 8, 1966. As an awesome bonus, my siblings — Tommy, Tami, Kelly and Natalie (from heaven) — were sealed to our parents on that September morning 34 years ago. I remember being dressed all in white and feeling wonderful that my family had that opportunity. It was neat for me as an 11-year-old to get to be inside the temple at such a young age, too.
For better or for worse, we’re stuck together as a family for all eternity. (My mom probably won’t like the phrase “stuck together,” so let’s stick with “sealed together” so I’m not in hot water.)
For those unfamiliar with LDS temples, sealings are among the ordinances that are performed within the sacred edifices. We do other work there, too, and trying to keep the family unit intact through the love and authority of Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father is what it is ultimately about.
I bring this up because on my recent trip to North Carolina I decided to take the #BonJodyTempleTour on a 2-1/2-hour drive from Charlotte (where my work assignment was) to Raleigh (where the LDS temple in that area is).
Some of the work Mormons do in the temples is on behalf of people who have passed on. This gives those who weren’t baptized and who hadn’t received their endowments or been sealed to their spouses and families a chance to accept or reject that on the other side. This might seem a bit strange to some, but it’s why some LDS members are such genealogy freaks. We’re trying to help as many people as possible.
Some of my family members — my mom, sister-in-law Ane and my Auntie Jan, for instance — have done genealogy work on my family (both sides). Not surprisingly, the relatives they discovered from Ireland, Russia and Pennsylvania hadn’t had their temple work done yet.
My mom gave me seven names of relatives — our Irish ancestors used to spell our last name Guinnessy instead of Genessy, by the way — and it was an honor to go do work in their behalf while I was at the North Carolina temple. Though I was 2,100 miles from my home in Utah, this temple visit felt very personal.
It was also neat to go to breakfast and the Raleigh temple with a Mormon friend who now lives in that neck of the woods. That came after I had the pleasure of seeing a friend — and meet her husband and daughter — for the first time since my sophomore year of high school. Who knew North Carolina was such a hot spot for former Utahns!?
Throw in the quick trip to Duke University and the strong spirit of this smaller but charming temple, and this detour to the middle of the Tar Heel State was well worth it.