I have caught a bug.
How many of us hear family history and cringe with guilt that we aren't doing our part!? Well, maybe we are and just don't know it yet!
|My Great-Great-Great Grandfather, John Pack|
I just read a fascinating article featured on the LDS website about how sharing family stories strengthens youth and gives them strength to be resilient during hard times. From the article, "The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. The 'Do You Know?' scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness."
I have currently been reading the history of my great-great-great-grandfather. It is a compilation recently published of journal excerpts and other documents in which John Pack was mentioned. I am not only learning about his history but a lot about church history as well because his life was so strongly connected to the beginnings of the Church. He and his wife (of whom I am her namesake) were sealed by Hyrum Smith in his home. They also managed The Mansion after the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. John was one of the first to lead the way into the Salt Lake Valley, to scout it out and welcome in the earliest Saints. I've known parts of their history from growing up, but not until I have immersed myself in this book did I fully realize the extent of it. John and Julia Pack left a great legacy for their posterity!
So what are we leaving our children? What will they have to read 100 years from now? What stories do we have to share so that our children can withstand the pressures that will inevitably arise in life?
And the people began to look with great earnestness for the sign which had been given by the prophet Samuel, the Lamanite, yea, for the time that there should be darkness for the space of three days over the face of the land. And there began to be great doubtings and disputations among the people, notwithstanding so many signs had been given (3Ne. 8:3-4).
How many times do we read in the scriptures of those who fall away because they have forgotten the righteous traditions of their fathers? How about the counsel given from several fathers in the scriptures, men telling their sons to remember the stories of their ancestors? I used to think these preachings were only about the doctrines. Of course, the doctrine is essential to a longstanding testimony of the gospel, however I see now that these teachings also must have included the stories passed on from generation to generation. These stories stand as an example that God does fulfill His promises, not just in ancient times but in our personal and very recent past.
So, this gives me great hope that I am actually contributing to the family history work commanded to be done by the Lord. My journals will be something. I want to make them more significant. I want to be sure the stories I share will be a link to keeping my children strong. I want to write more, remember more, share more, learn more. I want to talk more with my parents and learn their stories. THIS is the Spirit of Elijah, truly turning the hearts of the children to their fathers and the fathers' to the children!
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Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming (Doctrine & Covenants 2, emphasis added).