As I wander across the United States and back and forth into Canada, I have been thinking. I generally get plenty of time to think while sitting on an airplane or driving a car long distances. Part of my thoughts are always about genealogy. It is a subject I come back to constantly.
On this particular trip, we are in upper New York State where my second and third Tanner great-grandfathers lived. My third great-grandfather, John Tanner, was born in Hopkinton, Washington, Rhode Island in 1778. His younger children were born in Bolton Landing on Lake George, New York, where I now find myself. At one time John Tanner owned property along the Lake now worth millions and millions of dollars. He also owned the entire Green Island, the present home of a major resort hotel and development. But he gave up all that property to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and go west with the pioneers.
One reason I came to New York State was to view the Hill Cumorah Pageant. I mentioned this in a previous post. We saw the Pageant on two successive nights. One interesting thing about the Pageant is that there are a few people, some with loud broadcasting equipment, who are detractors of the whole event. They spend their time trying to convince the thousands of attendees that the Church is false and that they have a better message.
I would strongly disagree. My great-great-great-grandfather did not leave his fortune, travel across the country at his own expense with his large family, pay for the mortgage on the Kirtland Temple, suffer persecution and mobbing leaving him permanently injured, just to have someone with no knowledge or understanding of his motives or testimony of the truth, try to convince me or anyone else that he was mistaken. He knew Joseph Smith personally. He knew all of the leaders of the Church, both those who stayed the course and those who left for a variety of reasons. My legacy from John Tanner is more than just a casual belief. My ancestors suffered persecution, physical attacks, imprisonment and more for their testimonies of the truth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the testimony of Joseph Smith and the other faithful leaders of the Church.
I have the same witness and testimony. I have spent a considerable amount of time investigating and verifying the claims of those who detract the Church and its teachings. I can say unequivocally that their accusations are not founded on careful and thoughtful consideration. The motives are suspect. The detractors do not base their accusations on an objective and unbiased investigation. They twist the facts to attack the Church and its members without regard for the truth.
The truth is not always convenient or comfortable but it is the truth. I understand that these people have their views and also have a right to express those views in public as they wish. But I also have my own views. I do not attack them. I do not go to their peaceful meetings and try to stop the meeting with a bull horn and loud yelling.
What does this have to do with genealogy? Everything. I would not be here if it were not for the sacrifices of my ancestors and the least I can do is preserve their heritage.