When Carine Clark was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she was given a 20 percent chance of survival. She immediately turned to the doctor and said “Okay, what do I have to do to be part of the 20 percent?”
Carine had every intention of coming out on the other side of her battle with cancer but she also became acutely aware of the fragility of our existence. As she now puts it, “I know I’m going to die.” Carine is a big believer that knowing that should change the way we live—it certainly has for her.
Amid her battle with cancer, Carine decided to make a sacrifice of time. The idea was simple: She would give up the time she usually spent watching television and would instead do family history. She create what she calls “a downline” of people to help her complete the ordinances for all the temple names she finds. This group includes family, other Utah tech CEOs, her missionary sons and their friends, etc. To date, Carine Clark and Co. have completed 7,000 temple ordinances.
The reason this was so important to her? She just wanted to make sure she knew where to go when she gets to the other side.
The following excerpt has been edited for clarity.
Morgan Jones Pearson: There are several things that you mentioned that you do now or don't do now, because you've recognized how important time is. And I think one of those things is you said you don't watch TV anymore. And instead, you've spent a lot of time doing family history. So what have you learned about the value of time? And why has family history taken the place of TV?
Carine Clark: So, you know, I'm in the hospital for three weeks, I have no idea what's going to happen. I have a 20 percent chance of beating this terrible disease. … You go through these laps, you know, it's like…’OK, I'm gonna die. Well, I don't have to clean out my husband's garage. I don't have to take care of my parents, I don't have to pay taxes.’ There's this whole list of stuff you don't have to do anymore. You're like, ‘OK, that's not terrible.’
But then you tip over to ‘I won't get to meet my grandchildren, I won't get to help my sons become the best they can be. I won't get to, I won't get to, I won't get to.’ And you make these lists in your brain up. My list was like, ‘Why did I spend so much time watching any television because it adds no value to what I want to do? Why didn't I do work for my ancestors?’ Because since I know I'm gonna die I'm a little worried about getting on the other side and not knowing where to go. What if I'm lost? So I said, ‘I'm gonna do family history, because I need a ward in heaven, that when I get there, they gotta do the wave for me. I need people that are gonna be like, Hey, over here, don't go over there, the food's better over here.’
So it was like my way to connect with the other side. And so on my five year anniversary from my diagnosis, I said to my husband, I wanted something remarkable. … So we went to the temple that day. And I think we did 32 sealings that day. And I was like, huh, so I said to my husband, ‘I'm gonna do 500 ordinances by Valentine's Day.’ And he's like, ‘Great.’ So I threw myself into it. My sister, Kathleen, is the master of family history so she taught me how to use the tool, we spent all our time just working together as a team. So now, 10 years later, fast forward, we have done more than 7,000 ordinances.
And so there is a stake in heaven—hopefully some of them will show up, but I'm counting on them to protect my children and my grandchildren. I'm counting on them to be a force of influence for good for them in their lives, just like people [ministered] to me when I was at my lowest.
And all it took for all that was a sacrifice of time, because I only gave up one thing—I only gave up television. And I did build a downline of people in my ecosystem to help me so I didn't do all those myself. So the young people in my ward did the baptisms, I have a bunch of tech CEOs that did initiatories, that did endowments. We do most of the sealings. My little missionaries, I send them mail endowments, because the endowments are the bottleneck.
But the thing that people don't understand about Family Search and family history is that it's really not for them. It's really for you to be able to build an army of people that will be a protection, and will be miracles for your family when you can't be there. And I think if people understood that, it would be like, during COVID where you have to sign up for spots, so you're like waiting in line for the temple like you would for a movie.
I get it and so I'm fierce about getting the work done for my ancestors, because a lot of people think, ‘Oh, my work’s done.’ Well, your tree is a stick, right? So you got to go and get all of your siblings of your spouse, and you just have to go and go capture everybody. And when I die—because I know I'm gonna die—I want people to say to me, ‘You know, you did a lot. You did OK, and you helped us build our family.’
My favorite thing is that I save the children of the family. And I have them all sealed at once. And so not just one at a time at once, all in the same blessing. And it's a pretty spectacular thing to be there with the parent proxies and then all the children proxies and then that family is made instantly.
People don't [always] get it, but when you do, you get it.