My question is not one of staying in the Church or keeping the commandments (except the ones about seeking out your dead), it is more aimed at those who know a little about their grandparents but have never spent the time or effort to learn the stories. I met one of these people the other day who was a descendant of Jacob Hamblin but could not tell me how he was related. Now, if you are from Sourthern Utah or anywhere in Arizona and have pioneer ancestors, you should know about Jacob Hamblin.
What is the difference if you leave the Church and your posterity loses their pioneer heritage or if you, simply, by lack of interest or motivation, fail to learn about your ancestors and your posterity never hears the stories? The moral consequences may not be the same, but the effect on their knowledge of their pioneer heritage certainly is the same.
Where can you go to learn about your ancestors and their trials and tribulations as pioneers? May I suggest FamilySearch.org. You may find that someone more charitable than you has posted photos and stories about your own ancestors. You may also want to look at all of the following websites for further information:
- Trails of Hope: Overland Diaries and Letter, 1846-1869
- Suggested Readings about Overland Trails
- Pioneers in Every Land
- Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel
- The Church History Library Catalog
- Journal History of the Church
- Church History Maps
- Photographs of Church History Sites
- Mormon Migration
That should get you started. One final observation. Part of the issue here is a lack of awareness on the part of the members generally about the Church's vast online resources. If you are reading this post, how about taking the time to make one more person aware of the historical resources available from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If that is asking too much, how about reposting this post on Facebook or Twitter?