OGDEN -- Two years ago, as Kelly Quiroz sat in the Ogden Temple, she started thinking how she wanted to celebrate her 50th birthday.
At the time, it came to her that she should research 50 family names in her genealogy and complete the temple work.
Two years passed -- she still had the goal, but her 50th birthday loomed just two months away, and she hadn't started the work yet.
"I made a couple of attempts on the computer -- but in January I just had the feeling that I had to do this," she said.
Her birthday was March 2, so she knew she needed to move quickly. She got hold of her cousin who lives in Washington state, who is also very knowledgeable about family history. The two spent an hour and a half on the phone as she walked Quiroz through the LDS program FamilySearch and FamilySearch/Tree. Her cousin had been stuck on a name, and the two prayed about it over the phone. When she finished the phone call, Quiroz and her 13-year-old son, Joshua Carver also prayed about it.
She started doing the research on that person and was able to unlock a vast amount of information that evening, and was even able to trace her father's line back to the 1600s. The problem? Most of the temple ordinances were complete. So she kept working to find more names for which she could complete their temple ordinances.
And she had another plan. She knew she and Joshua couldn't do all the temple ordinances on their own, so she enlisted friends and family too. She sent out a mass email to all of them, letting them know of her 50th-birthday plan and the dates she hoped to complete the work.
Quiroz kept working with Joshua to find names.
Joshua found the magic in the research.
"Sometimes I would get bored, so I went to the computer and just started looking things up," Joshua said.
One day he was able to research all the way back to 300 A.D. on his mother's side.
"I kept clicking and clicking and clicking, and I was able to go back and back and back," Joshua said excitedly.
For Quiroz she was getting a little worried about finding names that needed temple ordinances to be complete.
The Sunday before the temple date to complete the baptisms, she only had 25 names -- half of what she needed. She was starting to feel discouraged but kept going back to the same name in her history, thinking there must be a link through her. Sure enough she discovered a link -- a biological grandfather she hadn't known before was linked to the name.
Once she found that name, marriage certificates came up with all the information she needed, and she was able to link to 60 names -- making 85 in all that she found. She was thrilled.
The following Friday, she and Joshua, along with ward members and friends, started the baptisms.
Joshua did all the men's baptisms.
"I always feel the spirit when I do baptisms, but this time it was especially strong for me," he said.
Two weeks later, on March 2, Quiroz's birthday, friends and family met at the Salt Lake temple and spent the day completing the rest of the ordinances for 50 of the names she had researched.
The experience was not only great for Quiroz to complete her goal, but was also a reunion of sorts. She saw friends she hadn't seen for 10 years and was able to reunite and spend her day with other family and friends she loved dearly.
The whole experience has been one she and Joshua will always hold dear.
"It was really exciting. I was always worried it would be hard, because it seemed really complicated," she said of doing the family history research. "But I found out it is so simple and easy. I just want to say to everybody, 'This is easy!'"
She encourages people to find someone in their ward who knows how to research names and just go over it for a few minutes.
Other positive effects have developed in the last couple of weeks as well. Quiroz has had some friends call and talk of goals they have set of their own. One young couple said they had set the goal to do 15 names this year. Another friend was inspired by Quiroz's experience and started researching on her husband's line and found many names.
Quiroz loves hearing stories of others successes.
"Once you start, it's contagious. Once you catch the fire, it's easy to pass on the flame."