Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Generations Linked in Love

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Generations Linked in Love, by Elder Russell M. Nelson
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Each time we visited the school library when I was in elementary school, we would try to find a copy of Guinness Book of World Records. Once procured, we would spend much time gawking at the obscure and absurd. If you ever did this, you may already know about Gary Duschl.

Gary Duschl is the world record holder for the longest gum wrapper chain. His chain is over twelve miles long! That's a lot of links. (You can read more specifics about the chain here: link)

We recently had a high council speaker (Kent Eastley) visit our ward who spoke about Mr. Duschl and his chain. He compared his chain of links with the family history chain of links—linking generations together—that Elder Nelson spoke of. I remember the speculations on the amount of time and energy devoted to the paper chain, and the follow-up question of how much other linking (read: geneology) could have been done with that much time and effort.

What seems like ages ago, I was feeling nostalgic as I wrote on our family website about family history (link):

Each of us is benefited by those who have gone before: we live in houses we did not build, we drive on roads we did not pave, we are governed by laws we did not write, and we have names that we did not choose. We want to make the most of these endowments—we feel we have a responsibility to do so—and we want to reflect the honor and dignity that are in our names.

What's in a name? Much more than we realize. The people listed [in our pedigree] are part of our family tree, and like a tree's roots and branches, they have provided strength and protection for generations—for us.

As strange as it is to quote myself, I still believe what I wrote back then. But what have I done to lengthen the chain, as it were? Not much. I've taken a family history class that introduced me to the new FamilySearch (link), but on the last lesson—the one that actually would have helped me lengthen the chain—I was absent substitute-teaching another class. I feel that I'm missing the vital ingredient inside of me to help me do something.

When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us. We feel part of something greater than ourselves. Our inborn yearnings for family connections are fulfilled when we are linked to our ancestors through sacred ordinances of the temple.

I've felt the burgeoning of this change; but I need to do more! I want to help with a longer, more important, chain of links: "the creation of one common pedigree. . . Together we are striving to organize the family tree for all of God's children. This is an enormous endeavor with enormous rewards."

I want the time I can devote to building links and chains to have eternal ties. The Guiness Book of World Records was fun, but I want to help write a greater book:

The great day of the Lord is at hand . . . Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter‑day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple . . . a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation (D&C 128:24).

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