I have received several interesting comments to my recent blog posts about the subject of changes made to the data in the FamilySearch.org Family Tree. I might point out that this blog is clearly labeled as being written from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (hereinafter "the Church"). I certainly do not wish to do or say anything that would limit those who read this blog to those who are members of the Church. But I also do not wish to equivocate concerning the importance of temple work to those who are members of the Church and literally to everyone who is presently living or has lived on this earth. My position concerning the importance of temple work should be clear from what I have written on this blog.
Some of the comments made about the FamilySearch.org Family Tree are taking the position that "serious" genealogists should not be involved in the Family Tree for the simple reason that "their data" would be compromised by changes made by less experienced or less sophisticated users of the Family Tree. May I remind those members of the Church to take this position that they are essentially abandoning the "Gateway" to temple ordinances which is presently established by the Church. Your attitude towards the Family Tree influences those around you to depreciate the need to become involved in this important work. You're essentially saying, that taking the time to make corrections and maintain the integrity of the Family Tree is not worth the effort. I want to be perfectly clear. I believe that all of my effort with the Family Tree is worth the time it takes to perform the temple ordinances for our kindred dead.
You can use any program you wish to use to do your own personal research. But ultimately, if you wish to participate in the salvation of the dead you will need to become involved in the Family Tree or whatever program becomes available from the Church to advance the vast work of family history. Putting up with a few changes or even many changes in the Family Tree is worth the effort.
Please remember Section 128 of the Doctrine and Covenants at verse 15 which states"
15 And now, my dearly beloved brethren and sisters, let me assure you that these are principles in relation to the dead and the living that cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation. For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers—that they without us cannot be made perfect—neither can we without our dead be made perfect.I would further quote from a talk given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency who stated in a talk in April Conference of 2009 entitled "We Are Doing a Great Work and Cannot Come Down:"
The tendency to focus on the insignificant at the expense of the profound happens not only to pilots but to everyone. We are all at risk. The driver who focuses on the road has a far greater chance of arriving at his destination accident free than the driver who focuses on sending text messages on his phone.
We know what matters most in life—the Light of Christ teaches this to everyone. We as faithful Latter-day Saints have the Holy Ghost as a “constant companion” to teach us the things of eternal value. I imagine that any priesthood holder listening to my voice today, if asked to prepare a talk on the subject “what matters most,” could and would do an excellent job. Our weakness is in failing to align our actions with our conscience.We cannot and we must not lose focus on the things that matter most. The FamilySearch.org Family Tree is one of those things that matter most.
Let me reiterate clearly. My experience with the Family Tree is that by making an effort to make the changes and corrections, watch the entries, contact the people who make changes and ultimately add sources with citations random changes are virtually eliminated. I certainly think that it is important to use the Family Tree and I will continue to advocate in favor of using the Family Tree. The potential of the Family Tree is to dramatically decrease duplicated research and ultimately to decrease the loss of genealogical data that constantly occurs when "serious" genealogists die. Do we want to encourage duplication of effort and encourage loss of genealogical data?