Friday, December 3, 2010

An Appreciation of Genealogical Work

A third thing I very much appreciate about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that they have been perhaps the single most powerful force in the world for advancing the capacity of the average person to do research on their family history. This is because of the particular theological reasons that underlie their interest in genealogy: namely, to do proxy work for the departed so that those who have not yet had a chance to receive the restored gospel and its ordinances will be afforded the opportunity to do so in the world of spirits. This work of great concern for the departed is made possible through research done by many members of the church, which is often seen by Latter-day Saints as a fulfillment of Malachi 4:6. But theological underpinnings aside, it can't be denied that genealogists everywhere - professional and amateur - owe a deep debt of gratitude to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for not only taking up this labor but also making databases available to non-LDS researchers as well. While the materials at, e.g., shouldn't be accepted uncritically, it's undoubtedly invaluable and has contributed a great deal to virtually every serious family history researcher. Now, I myself am an amateur genealogist. Thanks to the work already done by others - including those who did it for specifically LDS reasons - I am able to trace some aspects of my lineage back before the Reformation. I can't even begin to express how this has changed my life by giving me a deeper, richer concept of where I've come from and sparking an interest in areas of historical study that had never interested me before the connection became personal. And for that, I have no option but to applaud The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the role it has undoubtedly played in indirectly making this possible. I appreciate it very much.

No comments:

Post a Comment