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Question

 

Gramps,

I am not married. All my relatives are dead. I am alone. I have no roots nor branches. Will you be my grandpa?

Anonymous

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Answer

 

Dear Friend,

I am honored and humbled that you would have me as your grandpa. I have been an online surrogate “gramps” for many, many youth and adults, but that relationship is still not the same as the one that my literal grandchildren have enjoyed with me. Try as I might, it is simply not the same.

I think you are also doing a great disservice to yourself and your own grandfather in this request. In God’s kingdom, there are no orphans. There are not rootless or branchless stumps. We are connected in a chain all the way back to Adam.

Wilford Woodruff was contemplating doing something similar to what you’ve¬†¬†proposed. In his day members of the Church would get sealed to a prophet or apostle under the “law of adoption”. These were men that were well respected in the community and seen as excellent persons to be associated with. Brigham Young and John Taylor had an inkling that it wasn’t the proper order for sealings, and President Woodruff received the revelation that changed this practice to the system we have today. I quote from his April 1894 conference address.

“When I went before the Lord to know who I should be adopted to … the Spirit of God said to me, ‘Have you not a father, who begot you?’ ‘Yes, I have.’ ‘Then why not honor him? Why not be adopted to him?’ ‘Yes,’ says I, ‘that is right.’ I was adopted to my father… When a man receives the endowment, adopt him to his father; no to Wilford Woodruff, nor to any other man outside the lineage of his fathers. That is the will of God to this people” (“The Holy Temple” by Boyd K. Packer, page 201).

You should look to your own grandfathers as your grandpas. Honor them as your own father’s father and mother’s mother. First and foremost recognize the eternal personhood of you and each member of your family. Just because your parents are not on this earth does not mean you are an orphan in God’s eyes. He knows your parents and your grandparents. You can probably get to know them better too (and in so doing, learn more about yourself). If you did not have the opportunity to know them well in this life, find your ward and stake family history specialists and tell them you want to learn more about your grandparents. They can help you find information about them.

You also need to recognize the divine within yourself and your own ancestry. The stories you hear will remind you just how human they were (especially when told by siblings). The grandpa you will have in the eternities will be celestialized. The flaws will be chiseled away to reveal a sanctified being. If they haven’t already received the ordinances, you should provide it for them. Again, from President Woodruff’s address:

“Go and be adopted to your fathers, and save your fathers, and stand at the head of your father’s house, as saviors upon Mount Zion and God will bless you in this” (Ibid. page 204).

Do not deny your parents or your grandparents of this wonderful blessing. Do not deny yourself this great blessing. If the ordinances have already been performed, recognize the blessings that you are an heir to through your sealing to your parents. My own grandparents left this mortal plane years ago, but I am comforted in knowing that when my work here is finished, they will be there in the spirit world to greet me as they have with other family members who have since slipped through the veil.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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