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

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

I am thankful for genealogy #GiveThanks


I started exploring my family's genealogy almost 40 years ago. Most of what I do now is directly or indirectly a result of my earlier interest and continued work. I am grateful for all of the thousands of ancestors and relatives I have discovered over the years. I am grateful for all the people I have come to know both living and dead as a result of my genealogical research. I am looking forward to doing a lot more. #GiveThanks

Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Problem of Racism


In the October 2020 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson said the following:

Each of us has a divine potential because each is a child of God. Each is equal in His eyes. The implications of this truth are profound. Brothers and sisters, please listen carefully to what I am about to say. God does not love one race more than another. His doctrine on this matter is clear. He invites all to come unto Him, “black and white, bond and free, male and female.”

I assure you that your standing before God is not determined by the color of your skin. Favor or disfavor with God is dependent upon your devotion to God and His commandments and not the color of your skin.

I grieve that our Black brothers and sisters the world over are enduring the pains of racism and prejudice. Today I call upon our members everywhere to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice. I plead with you to promote respect for all of God’s children.

The question for each of us, regardless of race, is the same. Are you willing to let God prevail in your life? Are you willing to let God be the most important influence in your life? Will you allow His words, His commandments, and His covenants to influence what you do each day? Will you allow His voice to take priority over any other? Are you willing to let whatever He needs you to do take precedence over every other ambition? Are you willing to have your will swallowed up in His?

Again, in a short talk posted on on November 20, 2020, President Russel M. Nelson, condemned racism. See

President Dallin H. Oaks, of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gave a talk at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah on October 27, 2020. A synopsis of the talk was reported in a Deseret News article entitled, "Latter-day Saint leader tells BYU audience to ‘heed our prophet’s call’ to end racism" and on some social media websites including Instagram. 

Some of the comments generated by the publication of the talk perfectly illustrated to me one of the real problems with racism. Rather than listen to what President Oaks had to say, there was an immediate reaction to the talk from a purely political standpoint, and the discussion revolved around condemning the "Black Lives Matter" organization for such things as demolishing the police, destroying the nuclear family, and advocating Marxism. President Oaks' comments made no reference at all to the organization. 

Many of the comments to the news article denied the existence of "systemic racism" in the United States and yet we have a significant number of people in our American society that support a political view that encourages "White Supremacy." The comments included assertions that the talks were politically motivated and effectively equated statements condemning racism as being "Marxist." 

Racism is a personal and cultural issue. One of the commentators replied to President Oak's talk by saying that he wasn't racist and didn't know anyone who was racists and couldn't understand why the leaders of the Church kept talking about racism. I have seen systemic cultural and personal racism again and again throughout my life both inside and outside the Church. Given the politicization of the issue of racism in the current election, I think it was both appropriate and important that the leaders of the Church have spoken out on this issue. I know people who consider themselves to be "good members of the Church" who systematically support extreme attitudes of discrimination. 

Here is a link to President Oak's talk at BYU. Here is a final quote from his talk.

Now, with prophetic clarification, let us all heed our prophet’s call to repent, to change, and to improve. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can unite and bring peace to people of all races and nationalities. We who believe in that gospel—whatever our origins—must unite in love of each other and of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Friday, November 20, 2020

FREE Virtual Family History Classes, Webinars, and Videos from the BYU Family History Library

Although the Brigham Young University Family History Library is closed to both volunteer/missionaries and patrons, we are hosting a broad offering of free online classes, webinars, and videos. All of the present offerings are outlined on our "Classes and Webinars" webpage.

The classes and webinars include:

In addition, for the students and faculty who still have access to the Library, we have a virtual consultant video station in the Library with live, online missionary volunteers every weekday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The students and faculty simply have to walk up to the video monitor and start asking questions. 

We have nearly 500 videos online on the BYU Family History Library YouTube Channel. Here is a screenshot of the Channel.

If you have a question or a suggestion for a new video, please let us know. The contact information for the Library is on our webpage. Here is the link: