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

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Harvesting vs. Planting

I think that sometimes we pay token deference to the Law of the Harvest. We find a concise statement of the Law of the Harvest in Galatians 6:7-9:
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
If we have any understanding at all of the Law of the Harvest, why can we suppose that we can reap the benefits of the Family Tree in the form of "green icons" without sowing additional names through the work of research? Is family history somehow exempt from the Law of the Harvest? I think not. Apparently, there are those that somehow believe that the names in the Family Tree just grew there spontaneously and that all that is necessary to find the names of those who have been taught and accepted the Gospel in the Spirit World, is to click around and harvest these "free" names.

Let me set the record straight. None of the valid names in the Family Tree got there by magic. They are the results of hours, days, months, and years of hard work on the part of those who have dedicated a significant part of their lives to discovering the hidden records of their ancestors and recording their findings in a way that the names could be incorporated in the vast collection of names called the Family Tree. If you click on a green icon that is not there as a result of your own labor, you are benefiting from the harvest of others' labors.

As long as we are told and believe that the Family Tree is somehow an inexhaustible source of names to take to the temples, without spending the hard work necessary to find and record those names, we will be at risk from the negative consequences of the Law of the Harvest. We only benefit from the harvest by doing the work.

Family history or genealogy, whatever you wish to call it, is a complex and challenging pursuit. Is there some problem with letting those who wish to do the work know the qualifications for the work? Section 4 of the Doctrine and Covenants states:
1 Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men. 
2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. 
3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work; 
4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul; 
5 And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work. 
6 Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence. 
7 Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.
Are we missing the "laying up in store" part of the Family Tree?

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