“The youth of the rising generation have a key role to play in this great endeavor,” said David A. Bednar. Bednar, an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, made the comment during his address in the Saturday afternoon session of the Church’s semi-annual General Conference.
“Many of you may think family history work is to be performed primary by older people,” he said. “But I know of no age limit…restricting this important service to mature adults.”
“I encourage you to study, to search out your ancestors,” he said. “And I urge you to help other people identify their family histories.”
Bednar recommended parents and leaders not attempt to force young people. The Church has provided a website that lets teenage members explore, experiment, and learn for themselves. The website, lds.org/familyhistoryyouth, reflects the Church’s belief that members have a religious mandate to “seal” ancestral families together through temple ceremonies. The Church believes that ancestors may accept these ordinances so as to preserve their earthly families into the eternities.
Bednar encouraged teenage members of the Church to apply their computer skills and aptitudes. “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.”
“Parents and leaders, you will ‘stand all amazed’ at how rapidly your children and the youth of the Church become highly skilled with these tools,” he said. “In fact, you will learn valuable lessons from these young people about effectively using these resources.”
Bednar suggested several benefits that result when young people spend more time doing family history. It leaves less time for young people to spend doing less productive activities such as video games and web surfing. And it opens up avenues for helping others.
“The youth can offer much to older individuals who are uncomfortable with or intimidated by technology or are unfamiliar with FamilySearch,” he said.
Doctrinal aspects of Elder Bednar's talk have been excluded from this article out of respect for readers with differing religious views. To read excerpts or view a video that includes doctrinal references click here. To read a full transcript of Bednar’s talk, visit http://gc.lds.org later this week. If you choose to leave a comment about this article, please be respectful. I have a zero tolerance for comments critical of anyone's religious beliefs.