The scriptures foretold the return of Elijah the prophet before the Second Coming.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord [Second Coming]:
And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Doctrine and Covenants 2:1-3
Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.
If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.
Elijah did return. He appeared in the Kirtland Ohio Temple on Easter Sunday April 3, 1836, and he restored the priesthood keys that allow families to be sealed together for eternity.
Doctrine and Covenants 110:13-16
After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:
Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—
To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—
Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.
The return of Elijah to the Kirtland Temple during Passover
“The promise of Elijah, taught by the scribes in Jesus’ day, is still remembered by the Jewish people every year at Passover. A special place is set for him, with a cup of wine. At a prescribed time during the meal, the door is opened for him to enter.
“The origin of the tradition that Elijah would return at Passover seems to have been lost in antiquity. It has been suggested that Elijah’s return was associated with Passover, the feast commemorating the redemption of Israel, because it would herald the coming of the Messiah, the Redeemer of Israel.
“Whatever the origin of the association of Elijah with Passover, the tradition was proved correct when Elijah did return at Passover in 1836. However, he did not return at the Passover meal, when the cup was offered on the evening of Friday, April 1. Instead, he returned on Easter Sunday, the second day of Passover, the day of the presentation of the first fruits of the harvest.
“The long-awaited return of Elijah occurred in the Kirtland Temple on Easter Sunday, 16 Nisan, 3 April 1836.” (John P. Pratt, “The Restoration of the Priesthood Keys on Easter 1836,” http://www.churchofjesuschrist.org.)
Return of Elijah and the British “Births and Deaths Registration Act 1836”
As foretold in scripture (Malachi 4:5-6; D&C 2:1-3), Elijah did return (D&C 110:13-16). He appeared in the Kirtland Ohio Temple on Easter Sunday April 3, 1836 and restored the keys of sealing families for eternity.
“Coincidentally,” that same year, the British Parliament enacted the “Births and Deaths Registration Act 1836.” The Act required that all vital records of births, marriages, and deaths throughout Britain be gathered and maintained by the Registrar General in Somerset House. The Registrar General was also given the responsibility to conduct a census every ten years, which began in 1841.
Somerset House and the millions of vital records kept by the Registrar General have had a massive impact on family history research and temple work.
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