Telling family stories in a family setting, such as over the kitchen table, "where everyone's story matters," helps clarify our true identity and will make a tremendous difference in turning the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, said Elder O. Brent Black, Area Authority Seventy, at the opening devotional of the BYU Genealogy and Family History Conference Aug. 1.
"My sincere hope is that the writings and stories told from my own kitchen table will be sources of strength for my children, grandchildren and more for the years ahead," he said. "Perhaps when they are faced with similar trials and challenges they will call on past experiences to help them in overcoming and succeeding."
Elder Black recounted stories of faith from his own forefathers, grandparents and parents, recalling great personal challenges.
"Often it is so easy to focus on the trials and challenges of the present that we lose our focus on the future and what lies ahead. It is then that we begin to doubt and question and fail to understand the purposes of God in these matters. How blessed we are if, at these times, we can sit down at our kitchen table and there review stories of the past from those we have loved, and learn anew the lessons and messages that they have left for us. We must realize that at the very moment we are writing our own stories to be recorded as part of a history which will sometime in the future be reviewed again and again."
He quoted a line from a song by a country and western singer, Michael Martin Murphy: "I come from a long line of love."
"Can you understand what a great blessing it is to come from a long line of love?" asked Elder Black. "I envision a long line of love extending from father Adam through the generations of times past even to our present day and beyond into the future.
"I see families bound together through sacred covenants and ordinances leading us back to Heavenly Father and our Heavenly Home. That is what this conference is all about. I guess what I am hoping for as much as anything else is that as we become even more efficient in the collecting of names, dates and places, that we will take the time to share at our own kitchen tables the experiences of the Spirit that we have had along the way.
"This is a work of the Spirit. It permeates all that we are about. The recording of these experiences will ultimately make a tremendous difference for us and our posterity just as the experiences recorded in the past have done for us. If that can occur, then truly shall the heart of the fathers be turned to the children and the heart of the children will be turned to the fathers."
See these articles from the Aug. 12 issue of Church News, for additional Family History Conference coverage: