"I love Church history. Perhaps like many of you, my own faith is fortified when I learn of the remarkable dedication of our forefathers who accepted the gospel and lived true to the faith," said Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy during the Sunday afternoon session of general conference.
It would be a wonderful thing if every Latter-day Saint knew the conversion stories of their forefathers, said Elder Walker.
Telling a story from his family history, Elder Walker related the miraculous conversion of 541 people in England through the teaching of the gospel by Wilford Woodruff and other apostles. "My great-great-grandmother, Hannah Mariah Harris, was one of the first to listen to Wilford Woodruff. She informed her husband, Robert Harris Jr., that she had heard the word of God and that she intended to be baptized." They were both baptized and responded to the call to "gather to Zion." They received their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple, which they helped build, shortly before the persecuted Saints left Nauvoo. While they were uncertain about their future they were certain of their faith and their testimonies, said Elder Walker.
Robert Harris Jr. was one of over 500 Mormon pioneer men who responded to the call from Brigham Young to form the Mormon Battalion, said Elder Walker. "He enlisted, even though it meant he would leave behind his pregnant wife and six little children."
Elder Walker said his ancestors had great faith. "They knew they were led by a prophet of God."
They also knew that no matter what trials or hardships would come to them, they would be blessed for staying true to the faith, he said. "It almost seems that they had heard the words of our prophet today, who said, 'No sacrifice is too great in order to receive the blessings of the temple'" (Thomas S. Monson, April 2011 general conference).
Elder Walker said, "The more connected we feel to our righteous forefathers, the more likely we are to make wise and righteous choices."
Further, he said, "First, we must not forget the experiences we have had in the temple and we must not forget the promises and the blessing that come to each of us because of the temple. Secondly, we must not forget that we are led by a prophet of God."