|The Washington DC Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|
Note: You can do a Google search for "A Family History Mission James Tanner" to see all the previous posts in this ongoing series. You can also search for "James Tanner genealogy" and find them.
The diversity of Senior Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is astonishing and their dedication is even more astonishing. The people we have met have varied backgrounds: homemakers, doctors, lawyers, university professors, farmers, government workers, teachers and many other occupations. It would be very hard to find any common background among those serving. What they do share is a strong testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, his life and atonement and the importance of sharing that testimony with others around the world either through active proselyting work or through dozens of other service opportunities.
Some of our Senior Missionary friends are doctors and have served as medical resource missionaries in various parts of the world. A few of our friends have served as Mission Presidents, but many more have served as MLS or Member and Leader Service missionaries. What is surprising to me is the number of missionaries that have served multiple missions. One couple we know sold their home and have now served two missions with plans to keep serving in the future. They have decided that owning a home is not their priority but serving missions is.
Presently, we have six missionary couples serving in the Maryland State Archives. The couples reflect the diversity I mentioned above. We are privileged to get to know our fellow missionaries and appreciate their devotion and the help they have given us in learning our responsibilities both in the Archives and as missionaries.
We all arrive at the Archives at 7:00 am. Because of the weather and the darkness at that time of day here in Annapolis, getting to the Archives is a significant challenge. But they are all cheerful and get right to work digitizing documents or preparing them for digitization. We have four cameras and it takes a lot of work to prepare the documents for digitization. With the four cameras, we digitize thousands of documents every day. Because we have couples and we can trade off between working with the cameras and preparing documents. We are assisted by a significant number of volunteers in preparing the documents for digitizing. This is what the documents look like before the preparation process:
This is how we have to prepare the documents:
The documents are identified with the principal name of the person and then put in folders for digitization. No, we do not wear white gloves. We wash our hands frequently. It is no longer an archive practice to wear white gloves for working with paper. It is, however, still the case when working with physical artifacts including photos.
It is a lot of work and the missionaries spend at least nine hours a day at the Archives including a lunch break. We work half a day on Friday and are off on Saturday and Sunday (of course).