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Adoption and Family History: Questions and Answers

How can adopted members of the Church pursue family history and temple work?

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the opportunity to perform vicarious ordinances in the temple for their ancestors. While temple work can be a great blessing to members who were adopted into families, it can also be a source of internal conflict. Margot Hovley discusses some challenges and gospel principles related to adoption in her Liahona article “Adoption and Family History—Everlasting Ties, Eternal Connections.” The following are answers to two common questions about adoption.

Q: Should I pursue temple and family history work for my adopted line or my biological line?

A: While the option for pursuing both genealogical lines is available to adopted members, “there is no single correct answer, and each person facing this choice should approach it as a matter of prayer.” Answers can be found through family councils and revelation. Consult with your family and with the Lord about where your genealogical studies should focus.

"Through prayer, you can discover the path that your own personal journey should take as you participate in temple and family history work throughout your life." —Margot Hovley

Image by Bekir Çaliskan

Q: Which family will I be with in the next life?

A: There are a lot of family relationships that seem complex when we consider the next life. President Dallin H. Oaks shared a story of grown children that expressed concern to a church leader about their father’s remarriage and its effects on relationships in the next life. The leader told them, “You are worried about the wrong things. You should be worried about whether you will get to those places. Concentrate on that. If you get there, all of it will be more wonderful than you can imagine.” 

While it may be difficult to see how relationships now will work in eternity, we can trust that God is aware of our circumstances and will make things right.

To learn more, visit Magot Hovley’s article “Adoption and Family History—Everlasting Ties, Eternal Connections.”


—Skyler Garrett, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights 

Take a look at “The Healing Power of Family History” by Emma Franklin to learn more about the blessings of family history work.

Visit Adoption in Gospel Topics to find more Church resources related to adoption.

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