From the Church

Watch: Teen ‘family history hero’ indexes 10,000 names despite health challenges

Michelle Thornton indexed over 1,000 names a month for several months during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week the Church posted a video highlighting the story of Michelle Thornton, a “family history hero.”

The determined 14-year-old from Oregon has indexed more than 10,000 names in the last two years—despite the effects of a rare genetic disorder that limits her ability to type and speak.

In the video, Michelle’s father says that her tracheostomy—an opening created at the front of her neck for a tube to help her breathe—caused some to believe that it would be impossible for her to be baptized. But Michelle was determined to receive the ordinance. “She was terrified, but after she came up out of the water, her smile was huge,” her father recalls. “She had done what she knew was right and had the faith to accomplish it. This is Michelle—when she hears there is something to be done, she will find a way. She overcomes barriers and adapts herself to get the work done.”

When her bishop called all the youth in her ward to become indexers, Michelle accepted a new challenge, and the results were incredible. Earlier this year, Michelle told Deseret News about the blessings she received from doing indexing work: “I have seen myself do better in school. Some of the subjects I used to struggle with are much easier now. My health has improved, that’s a big deal to me. ... I have more patience with my family. I have built better relationships with extended family. And this last year, like so many people I have had a lot of anxiety about COVID, and when I index, I feel better and my anxiety is gone. So I would say the biggest blessing is the peace I feel when I index.”

Watch the video below to see more of Michelle’s remarkable story.

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