There are times when we all feel worn out, helpless, or even useless. There are times when our spirits are tired, and we lack the inspiration or guidance that we need in order to move forward.
Even our ancestors felt this way at times. Many of them pushed through, increasing their faith and obedience to God’s commandments in order to overcome the influence of the devil in their lives. Learning about them will give you the upper hand and embrace that you need. It’ll be even more potent for you when you learn about faithful people in your family history, because you’ll know their blood runs through your veins.
Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time, there lived a man named Alexander. Alexander had a wife, children, and a reliable income. For the time he lived in, that was all a man could want. But, he felt that something was missing. He discovered what it was when 2 Christian missionaries crossed his path and taught him the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. He knew what they were teaching was true and asked to be baptized. On their way to the nearest river, they were stopped by a mob of men who hated the missionaries and what they taught and threatened both Alexander and the missionaries with bodily harm should they enter the river for the baptism. The missionaries tried to convince Alexander to try again another day when the mob was dispersed, but he refused.
“Am I worthy to be baptized?” he asked. They said “yes.” “Then I demand baptism,” he answered. “I am not afraid of those cowardly men, or of all the powers in hell.”
Sure enough, he was baptized that day, and the mob didn’t harm him, his family, or the missionaries. He remained faithful for the rest of his life and taught his children and grandchildren from his example.
Isn’t this a lovely story? It gives me chills whenever I think of Alexander’s answer and his determination to obey God’s commandment to be baptized. This story gives me even more courage and propulsion when I remember that this Alexander is my great-great-great grandfather.
And guess what? You have incredible ancestors with faith stories, too!
The first step to finding them is to talk to your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. about any stories that they remember about past generations. Write them down.
If you don’t have access to these people’s memories, fear not.
Another excellent resource is a website called familysearch.org. Go to familysearch.org and make an account. It’s all free! Once your account is made, it’ll guide you to be able to add the family members you currently have, and then connect you to the registry of ancestors that have already been entered into the website. You’ll be surprised by how many ancestors of yours have already been found, read their stories, and you’ll be able to add the new stories you collected into the registry so your long-lost cousins can read them, too.
“You’ll find not only protection from the temptation and ills of this world, but you’ll also find personal power: power to change, power to repent, power to learn, power to be sanctified, and power to turn the hearts of your family together and heal that which needs healing.” (Elder Dale G. Renlund, “Family History and Temple Blessings”)
Searching for and reading stories about your ancestors will help you to face your own challenges with a renewed vigor, and it’s fun! Take the first step to find your ancestor’s stories today!
“It is good to look to the past to gain appreciation for the present and perspective for the future. It is good to look upon the virtues of those who have gone before, to gain strength for whatever lies ahead.” (President Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Faith of the Pioneers”)
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