GCBC Week 22: “The Joy of Redeeming the Dead” by Elder Richard G. Scott

In this talk, Elder Scott bears testimony of doing family history work. If you’re interested in doing some genealogy, but just don’t know where to begin, consider checking out the RootsTech conference in just a couple weeks in Salt Lake City. I’m actually teaching a workshop about journaling and blogging, so I’d love to see you there.

The Joy of Redeeming the Dead by Elder Richard G. Scott

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What stood out to you as you read these talks? From wherever you are, what can you do to be more involved in family history? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

(A reminder to those of you who are new to General Conference Book Club: You’re welcome to return to this post any time this week and leave your comment and thoughts in the comment section below. You may also want to see what others are saying about the talk and engage in a conversation for mutual understanding and encouragement. A new talk will be posted each Sunday and will be studied and discussed throughout the week.)

You’re not as boring as you think.

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Everyone has a story.

Everyone.

And the longer I live, the more I realize that those stories are fascinating. Yep. All of them. I went through a phase when I loved watching TV shows like StoryTrek, Who Do You Think You Are?, and The Generations Project because it turns out that regular, run-of-the-mill people like you and like me have stories inside of them that make me awe, wonder, cry, and think. Why aren’t we all telling more of our own stories? One of the reasons I blog is because someday when my children are grown and have children of their own, I want them to know the real me. I know a blog is selective and doesn’t reflect every aspect of my life, but I try hard to keep it real, and if nothing else, I have recorded some stories.  I hope those stories will make them feel close to me and maybe even learn a few life lessons.

This spring, I am participating in a conference that is all about telling, finding, and recording real stories– your own and your ancestors’. I’m even teaching a class about “Recording Life Authentically,” but that’s only one of many, many workshops and resources available to help you learn how to write your own life story, do genealogy, discover the stories of generations past, and use all the cool technology that’s available to fuel and find our stories.

I think you should come.

Here are the details: March 21-23 in Salt Lake City at the Salt Palace Events Center.  (If you’re old like me, you used to go to Jazz games there.)  Guess what organizations are involved? Well, it was originally called the Story @ Home conference, a team effort with Cherish Bound and FamilySearch, and that conference has a specific track for bloggers. THEN, they merged with RootsTech conference, which is sponsored by a few organizations you might be familiar with: BYU, Ancestry.com, and National Genealogical Society to name a few. Basically, it’s going to be big and awesome.

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Go here to learn a lot more about it and to get pricing. There are options as low as $19/day, with full-conference passes ranging from $39 to $149, depending on how much of the conference offerings you want access to. Notice that there’s a full-conference Story@Home track available (which includes the blogging classes) for $79.

For any of you photographer types–amateur or otherwise– check out this Instagram contest:

Prize: Full-conference Story@Home pass ($79 value)
Dates: February 20th-24th
 
To participate in the contest:
  • Snap a picture you think tells a story. Examples include family, friends, places, events, mementos–anything that has meaning for you.
  • Upload the photo to Instagram and share with us what story your photo tells. Include the hashtags #tellyourstory and #storyathome.
Winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on the Story@Home Facebook page Monday, February 25th. “Like” the Story@Home Facebook page to find out if you’ve won.

So, listen. You have a story. And it’s a lot more interesting than you think it is. Come learn how to tell it and record it and save it so that someday, your stories will be alive even when you’re not. Your children and grandchildren will love that. I promise.

Need to get out more?

Personally, I go back and forth between needing to get out more and wondering if we should go in public less.

But that’s not the point of this post.

I just wanted to remind you of a really cool, legitimate reason to get out and mingle with, you know, adults.

All of my grandparents have passed away.  (I know it seems like I just abruptly changed subjects, but stick with me.)  I have a book about their lives that was written from memories of their children– my dad and his siblings.  I am amazed by their lives, but there’s one part that always makes me get a little choked up when I read about it.  My grandparents had nine children and not a lot of money.  I bet it was a hard living, and it must have been, because at one point my grandma had what was called at the time a “nervous breakdown.”  She was temporarily institutionalized and received the modern treatments that were acceptable then, like electro-shock therapy.  (Have you seen A Beautiful Mind? The thought makes me shiver.)  No one knows much about what that was like for her.  She returned home and resumed all her responsibilities and life went on.  I knew her as a loving, talented, spunky grandmother that made great pies and good hugs.  I loved her and I miss her.

And now here I am, two generations later, raising three little children of my own in the suburbs.  And some days I feel like I might “lose it” too.  The noise, the to-do lists, the finances, the responsibilities, the laundry, the cooking, the carpooling, the [fill in the blank with etceteras… you know what I’m talking about].  I think of her often and how much better I have it than she did, and I wish, just wish I knew more about her real feelings and what life was like for her as a young and inexperienced mother.  How did she make it past those dark moments and just move forward and become so . . . majestic and wonderful?

And in part, my friends, that’s the reason I blog.  I hope that by writing down my stories, my own truth, that someday my daughters or granddaughters will read it and sigh.  Sigh for relief, sigh for camaraderie, sigh for hope.  You know, feel a connection that gives them strength.  I really believe that stories have that kind of power.

So. (Tangent complete.)

There’s this conference coming up that celebrates the power of story.  Even simple stories, like the day-in-day-out details of our families and our ideas and our feelings.  Like our BLOGS.

It’s called the Story @ Home Conference, co-sponsored by FamilySearch, Cherish Bound, and the Casual Blogger Community. The conference is March 9-10, 2012 at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  Two days of workshops, lectures, and entertainment, all about telling your stories, tracing and creating your family history, and all the wonderful technologies available to make it easy and fun.  And the December discount package is still available!  Some people I know and admire will be presenting there, so I know it will be worthwhile. Check out the website, and make yourself a date to get out of the house and learn more about telling your own story.

Facebook link
Conference link
Conference registration link

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?