More Flexibility in Family Reservations, etc.
I retired in recently and was finally able to begin temple work on my family after many years of raising a family, obtaining an education, working, commuting and taking care of my parents and their estates after their deaths. Due to illness, I retired early and not very late in my life to start working on my family's baptisms, initiatories, endowments, etc. I am a first-generation church member and was looking forward to this very sacred experience of doing this temple work or enjoying this experience with my children. Luckily, I have been able to have this experience with some of my deceased relatives, but someone has completed some of the work for very close relatives including my grandparents. I appreciate the fact that this work has been done, but at the same time I feel robbed of not completing this work myself or witnessing my son or daughter fulfill the promise of taking care of this sacred family responsibility especially for my grandfather. I do not subscribe to the notion that it only matters that the work is done. I do feel strongly that the work is more fulfilling to the person whom the work is being done for if it is not done by a perfect stranger. If the doctrine of the veil being thin is true then my feelings on this subject are validated by that one fact. I have talked to others in the church who feel the same way as I do and also feel that it is a violation regarding our relationships with our relatives. Comments such as "Life isn't fair", "The only thing that matters is that the work is done", "The system is not perfect", etc. are comments I have received from members and FamilySearch workers that are truly born out of insensitivity to the situation. I realize that work that was done for someone centuries ago is appropriate. However, work for a grandparent is not appropriate if living relatives still exist who are church members. Also, how would someone who just joined the Church feel about this same situation? I fear most new members would feel the same as I do. It is a feeling that is mostly understood by converts and should be respected and not minimized. Afterall, it was not a grandmother, etc. that did the work, but a perfect stranger. I believe that this situation should be handled with more sensitivity and that more flexibility regarding the system should be implemented. For example, someone has completed my maternal grandfather’s baptism, but not the initiatiory leaving me with no choice but to wait until the reservation has expired before I can do any of the other work that I reserved for him. This other work will expire the same day as the initiatory leaving me with the possibility of someone outside of my family again reserving his work before I can reserve it so my family can complete it. I have contacted the person who initially reserved his name, but have not been contacted back after a year. I have also contacted FamilySearch numerous times on this topic only to receive the beforementioned comments as a response. I have even called the temple where the baptism was completed to see if the initiatory was not documented without any real answers.
In conclusion, my request is for greater sensitivity in communicating with members on the matter of biological relatives and greater flexibility when a non-family member reserves a name. The non-family member should not be given more rights to the work than a family member simply because they reserved the name. A simple answer to this problem would be for the close family member to request an overriding of the non-family member’s reservation especially if they receive no response from said individual. Both of my requests are not difficult to solve and should be taken seriously.