I started indexing this year, after my stake president talked about it in conference. It was a steep learning curve for me at first; I felt clumsy deciphering the handwriting and stressed about entering wrong information and wrecking the index for some poor searcher. But I’ve gotten better at it, and now I like wondering about the stories behind the names. The 67-year old widower I indexed this morning, who lives alone. How long ago did his wife die, and did they have children? Or the 35-year-old widow who lives with her parents. She has two small children, and I wonder what her plans are next, and how long ago her husband died. I’m indexing the 1940 census now, and I’ve realized that for many of the younger men I index, this was their last census, because right after that they went to war. I have been surprised by how moving indexing can be: it enhances my awareness of names, of individuals who each have their own story.
In issuing the challenge, our stake president reminded us of Elder Bednar’s promise given in October 2011:
It is no coincidence that FamilySearch and other tools have come forth at a time when young people are so familiar with a wide range of information and communication technologies. Your fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord—not just to communicate quickly with your friends. The skills and aptitude evident among many young people today are a preparation to contribute to the work of salvation. …
As you respond in faith to this invitation, your hearts shall turn to the fathers. The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be implanted in your hearts. Your patriarchal blessing, with its declaration of lineage, will link you to these fathers and be more meaningful to you. Your love and gratitude for your ancestors will increase. Your testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. And I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives.
This line got to me: “I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary.” If there’s anything I want for my children, it is that kind of protection. It is what I have prayed for them since they were small; I think of Mormon’s words, “A continual scene of wickedness has been before my eyes ever since I have been sufficient to behold the ways of man,” and they seem to apply so well today.
I want those blessings for my children. I don’t know what temptations they will face, but I want to layer them in as much spiritual protection as I possibly can. I want the Spirit thick around them, so that they can be strengthened enough to feel the joy of choosing well. I know there are no guarantees for the future, but this is my plan to fortify them right now.
I want to know–how have you implemented family history work into your family? What blessings have you seen from it?