Interest in library increases after TV interview

The Family History Department, its library and other offices have been inundated with mail and phone calls following a live television interview on Monday, May 23, on the "NBC Today" show.

Tom Daniels, manager of television relations for the Church's Public Affairs Department and spokesman for the Family History Department, said show host Bryant Gumbel was "very polite, accommodating and seemed quite impressed" with information provided about the family history library.The Church spokesman was interviewed via a satellite feed to New York City from KUTV (Channel 2) studios in Salt Lake City. He was contacted in April by an NBC-TV official after the network decided to do a series on genealogy that was aired the week of May 24.

The interview with Brother Daniels and film taken by an NBC-TV camera crew was featured in the first program of the series.

"As far as I know the program is beamed throughout the United States and probably Canada. The program was pre-empted in the Mountain Time zone because of the funeral for Jackie Kennedy Onassis, but it was seen in other time zones," he said.

In mid-May, producer Sy Pearlman and a camera crew visited Salt Lake City and shot a lot of video at the Family History Library, the largest of its kind in the world.

"At that time Mr. Pearlman asked if we would be willing to do a live interview on the program. I was assigned to do the interview," Brother Daniels said.

During about a five-minute interview, questions ranged from the size and scope of the library to the kinds of records stored, how they can be used and how much it costs the public to use them.

"I explained that the library is open to the general public free of charge. I was also asked how people who can't come to Salt Lake City access the library. I explained that there are over 2,000 family history centers around the world in 62 countries," Brother Daniels said.

He was also asked why the Church is so interested and involved in genealogy.

"I explained our belief about the eternal nature of the family, that we believe that there is a greater dimension to life than just mortality, that we lived before mortality as spirit children of God and that our goal is to live as families with God in the eternities. In order to do that it is necessary to join our families eternally by participating in sacred ordinances in temples of the Church," Brother Daniels said.

During the Deseret News interview, Brother Daniels said he didn't have figures on the amount of mail or telephone inquiries. "But quite an impact has been made on the library as a result of these inquiries," he said.

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