Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Balancing Family History with other Church Responsibilities

It is easy to become overwhelmed with all of the different obligations and duties pulling at our lives. Family History can become just one more thing we will get to when things "settle down." The problem is that things never settle down. If you expect to have more time in your old age or at any other stage of your life, you may find that leisure time is an illusion for those who are anxiously engaged. President Thomas S. Monson said in the October, 2004 General Conference:
“For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. 
“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; 
“For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.” 2 

The sacred scriptures provide for you and me a model to follow when they declare, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” 3 And He “went about doing good, … for God was with him.” 4 
I have observed in studying the life of the Master that His lasting lessons and His marvelous miracles usually occurred when He was doing His Father’s work. On the way to Emmaus He appeared with a body of flesh and bones. He partook of food and testified of His divinity. All of this took place after He had exited the tomb. 
At an earlier time, it was while He was on the road to Jericho that He restored sight to one who was blind. 
The Savior was ever up and about—teaching, testifying, and saving others. Such is our individual duty as members of priesthood quorums today.
Perhaps from time to time we need to examine our priorities and realize that the work of "saving others" includes our own family and those of our family who have passed on to the Spirit World. Perhaps we need to rethink our priorities and begin the process of doing that which is truly lasting and important. Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated it well in the October, 2012 General Conference:
I testify that the Spirit of Elijah is touching the hearts of many of Father’s children throughout the world, causing the work for the dead to accelerate at an unprecedented pace.

But what about you? Have you prayed about your own ancestors’ work? Set aside those things in your life that don’t really matter. Decide to do something that will have eternal consequences. Perhaps you have been prompted to look for ancestors but feel you are not a genealogist. Can you see that you don’t have to be anymore? It all begins with love and a sincere desire to help those beyond the veil who can’t help themselves. Check around. There will be someone in your area who can help you have success.

This work is a spiritual work, a monumental effort of cooperation on both sides of the veil, where help is given in both directions. Anywhere you are in the world, with prayer, faith, determination, diligence, and some sacrifice, you can make a powerful contribution. Begin now. I promise you that the Lord will help you find a way. And it will make you feel wonderful...
From the familiar hymn, "Have I Done Any Good?"
2. There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, "Sometime I'll try,"
But go and do something today.
'Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love's labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.
When we are thinking there is too much to do and too little time, it is likely the best time to re-evaluate what we are doing that has little lasting value and begin doing those things that will benefit not only our living family but also those who have passed on.

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