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

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Lord's Timetable or Our Timetable?

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:..." Every so often, as I talk to someone about genealogy, they will tell me that their Patriarchal Blessing has a statement that they will be involved in searching out their ancestors in one way or another. The tragedy of most of these comments is the person, who probably received that blessing in their youth or early adulthood, has waited to start searching out their ancestors until they are well into retirement and subject to a variety of physical and mental disabilities. Why is this the case?

It is true that we live on the Lord's timetable and that there are seasons in our lives, but we are also possessed of our own moral agency and if we choose unwisely, all the Patriarchal Blessings in the world are not going to reward us with the promised blessings if we do not do our part to do the necessary prerequisite work. Even those who blessings are silent about the promise of being involved in family history, postpone doing any family history until "retirement." Again, just as with those with the articulated blessings, they wait until their hands and minds can no longer learn what is necessary to do their family history and seek out their kindred dead. To oppose the work of the Lord, all that is really necessary is to convince good people to do nothing.

Statements like the one made by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are not just directed at the youth. He said, "These are your days. You were born in a time of temples and technology." Quoting from Helaman 13:38:
But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain..."
Waiting around too long can have serious consequences.  How many will forfeit the blessings promised to them because they waited until they were too old and too feeble to do the work?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post.

    I started in family history when I was in my young teens - 30 years ago; before my patriarchal blessing ... though it does discuss my ancestors and my role. I had a wonderful mentor who told of her adventures tracking down her ancestors and other people's ancestors (she was a professional genealogist). I fell in love with the mystery and the adventure and then started learning about the people. I grew in love with my ancestors. I could feel of their love for me and for all of their descendants and our hearts became bound to each other. And because I have concern for them, they have real concern for me. I have been taught well, by the Spirit, for 30 years as I have been working on my family records.

    Sometimes (in my youth), I felt like the odd ball ... making my parents drive me to genealogy conferences to hang out with lots of old people. I have great relationships with people of all ages now.

    Last year at RootsTech, I had an overwhelming feeling that, "who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this".

    I am grateful for 30 years of learning and growing, for now I am in the place to teach and help as never before.

    I encourage those I teach to make a list of everything they feel impressed to do with family history ... I call it a brain dump. Then they need to take the list to Heavenly Father in prayer and ask where to start first - as I believe our ancestors are waiting anxiously for us. And soon thereafter, I hear that they too are in love with their ancestors ... they have felt their hearts being bound to generations gone before.

    And then finding time to do everything else (work, other callings, life) is the challenge. Because you are bound to them ... and family history becomes the priority of wake and sleep and dreams.