GCBC Week 8: “The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn” by Elder David A. Bednar

This past week I looked through a book that tells the life stories of my paternal grandparents. (That’s them up there at their 50th wedding anniversary, I think. Aren’t they so cute?) It made me feel nostalgic and so thankful for the legacy they’ve left behind for their children and grandchildren.  And even though they’ve both passed away, I’m pretty darn sure that they’re still very much alive.  And knowing them the way I do, I’m sure they’re actively involved in doing good work in the “great beyond.”  Anyway, among the many messages that Elder Bednar teaches in this talk, one of the things that I felt impressed to do was to help my children know their ancestors better.  We helped Grant to log on to newfamilysearch.org and he has actually quite enjoyed it.  I showed Natalie some pictures from my grandparents’ book and told her stories.  All I can hope is that by turning their hearts back towards the great people that came before them, they’ll have a better sense of the great potential that lies ahead of them.  I’d love to hear ideas of ways that you’ve involved your children in family history work.

The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn by Elder David A. Bednar

“My beloved young brothers and sisters, family history is not simply an interesting program or activity sponsored by the Church; rather, it is a vital part of the work of salvation and exaltation. You have been prepared for this day and to build up the kingdom of God. You are here upon the earth now to assist in this glorious work.”

What parts of his message stood out to you?  What are some action items you can take away from this talk?

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.”  If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion.

UPDATE:  I came across this link today.  There is a new app available where you can track your ancestors grave sites and headstones.  How cool is that?

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12 thoughts on “GCBC Week 8: “The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn” by Elder David A. Bednar

  1. For a while, my husband has been insisting that all of our children that can read well enough has to spend 20 minutes on Family History each week. For a while, I felt like he was being a mean dad. Now, after Elder Bednar’s talk, I am proud of my good husband. After the talk, he has been having them work out ways to find names all on their own. My husband has also gotten me involved and I have had some profound experiences and bonding with my ancestors that I didn’t know could take place. Also, I cannot describe how wonderful it is to take my 2 daughters to the Temple to begin the work for ancestors whose names they have researched.

  2. This talk has encouraged me to check out this site and let my children let their fingers do the walking. I LOVE the promises Elder Bednar gives to the children about protection and safety. I want that for my kids. Elder Bednar is a wonderful speaker and I always learn so much from him as I am marking my scriptures and making notes from his talks.

  3. Our lesson in Relief Society yesterday was on the Millennium. This talk was a perfect follow up. By participating in doing family history now, we can be more fully prepared to do our part during in becoming saviors on Mount Zion during the millennium.

    • I was thinking this exact same thing – This is the perfect followup to that lesson. We talked a lot about family history work and temple work. Sisters made the same observations in our ward RS (that doing the work now prepares us to do it better during the Millennium)

  4. “Family history is not simply an interesting program or activity sponsored by the Church; rather, it is a vital part of the work of salvation and exaltation.”

    That was perhaps my favorite quote.

    I also liked that he talked about how the spirit of Elijah is not only affecting members of the Church, but the whole world. My brother, who left the Church several years ago, was always a very avid family researcher – even after he left the Church. In fact, I think he was more into family history research after he left the Church. He did a lot of work for our family – especially in making sure all the records were accurate and were backed up with primary sources.

    The promises he made to the youth were pretty amazing, too. I hope that I can teach my kids to have a love of family history work so they can have those promises as well.

    More thoughts over here.

  5. E. Bednar is right–this generation is very prepared to take over this work. Remember all the old ladies who were scared of computers? 🙂

    I struggle with teaching my kids about their ancestors. One of my parents came from a very dysfunctional family (they were LDS) and it is hard to hold them up as much of a legacy. I think my parent turned out great in spite of them, not really because of them. How do you deal with those kinds of situations?

    • As you go back, can you find inspiring things that you can draw out?

      I have some similar situations in my family. For example, one line of mine has a long history of child abuse (and yes, they were LDS) – in fact, there are some really horrific stories in the histories. However, I can very clearly see how each generation got better and better as the child abuse was purged from the line, and my parents didn’t carry that forward. In fact, it really inspires me to be a better parent because as I see how far each generation came, it makes me think I had better be an awesome parent to even come close to the amount of progress that each generation before me made.

      For another example, one of my great (x 5) grandpas was one of the very first people in the valley – he was in the advance party and got here before Brigham Young. I think that is a very cool thing to share with my children. However, there are some not so pleasant details – like his second wife (the one I’m descended from) chewed tobacco and was never able to give up the habit.

      So, I guess I’m saying: first, I understand, because I’m struggling similarly and second, maybe we just have to take our ancestors as they were — pull out what we can that is good to hold up for our children to follow and, as they are mature enough to handle it, share some of the lessons we can learn from the bad.

  6. I like how Elder Bednar pointed out how important the Spirit of Elijah – it was only preceded in revealed knowledge given to Joseph Smith by a correct understanding of the nature of the Godhead and the importance of the Book of Mormon.

    I also thought he gave great parenting advice (not just regarding helping your children be interested in family history, but any subject) with: “Invite young people to explore, to experiment, and to learn for themselves (see JS-H 1:20)….Young people increasingly need to be learners who act and thereby receive additional light and knowledge by the power of the Holy Ghost – and not merely passive students who primarily are acted upon.”

    His counsel about not overly programming the effort to get youth involved or providing too much detailed information or training reminded me of Elder Alonso’s talk – don’t worry too much about programs and plans, just act.

    • I really liked your comment. My oldest is 3, so a little young to be doing family history work, but I think what I can do now is

      (1) Teach my children the doctrine of – as you mentioned – the nature of the Godhead and the Book of Mormon – to provide a foundation for this work as they get a little older. Actually, my institute class just studied another talk by Elder Bednar (From 1998) that talks about teaching children to understand that fits nicely with this:
      http://www.byui.edu/Presentations/transcripts/educationweek/1998_06_04_bednar.htm

      AND

      (2) Teach my children about their family and grandparents, etc. It motivates me to finish a couple of things I’ve started – like a 5-generation picture family tree. I just need to finalize and print.

  7. I love family history, and I always have. So you can imagine that I loved this talk. The neat thing for me, though, is to see my husband and children get excited about the subject. Since we moved (and therefore have less demanding church callings), we’ve been able to spend time every Sunday inputting information into New Family Search. It’s always exciting to discover something “missing” in the lines that “have all been done!” We’re looking forward to having a family sealing session over Christmas break to take care of that forgotten work.

    I also appreciated the reminder that “everything we do leads to the temple.” I need to keep remembering that!

    More thoughts over here.

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