1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.Now, I would like to focus on verse 25. This verse can be used as a metaphor for many things. I have chosen to apply this verse to those who have been instructed, all of their lives, about the need to seek out their kindred dead and have not done so. In many ways, those who are dedicated to family history are treated with the same insolence as the formerly blind man. How much testimony and evidence does it take to convince the doubters that family history is not just another program of the Church but essential to our eternal salvation. President Wilford Woodruff taught that we have the keys for their redemption and that neglect of that work will bring sorrow in the hereafter:
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
8 The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?
9 Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.
10 Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?
11 He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.
12 Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.
13 They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind.
14 And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.
15 Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.
16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.
17 They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet.
18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight.
19 And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see?
20 His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind:
21 But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.
22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
23 Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.
24 Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.
25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
26 Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes?
27 He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?
28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples.
29 We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow,we know not from whence he is.
30 The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, andyet he hath opened mine eyes.
31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
39 ¶And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
“Every father and mother has a great responsibility resting upon them, to redeem their dead. Do not neglect it. You will have sorrow if you do. Any man will who neglects the redemption of his dead that he has power to officiate for here. When you get to the other side of the veil, if you have entered into these Temples and redeemed your progenitors by ordinances of the House of God, you will hold the keys of their redemption from eternity to eternity. Do not neglect this!” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1898, p. 90.) As quoted in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, (2002), 445–449.President Woodruff's statement does not seem to be limited only to those "who are interested in genealogy." Do we provide the support and accommodation for those doing genealogy that the importance of this work deserves? I attended a family history class yesterday where there were several couples working on their genealogy. Since there was no dedicated space in the building, they were using folding tables and their own laptop computers to work together. Because my wife and I were visitors and attending the class and because of our status as Church Service Missionaries, we were immediately recruited to help with the members of the class. I can say with surety that the person I helped would not have been helped had I not been there at that meeting at that time. Why was it necessary for me to be there? There are no coincidences in genealogy. This work is so important that the Spirit will guide a missionary willing to help to those who need help regardless of the lack of support from those around the one needing help.
Are we blind to the need to support the great work of redeeming our dead? Are we like the Pharisees of the Biblical account and neglect to support those who are actively involved in family history, much less do the work ourselves, or even more, do we scorn those who are interested? I must admit that at least the building now has WiFi and it was possible to actually get online to FamilySearch.org's Family Tree and work with this newly interested individual. But what will happen next week, when he shows up again needing help? I certainly hope there is someone there who can help him.