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RootsTech 2023 Family Discovery Day will feature keynote by Elder and Sister Gong

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Susan Gong, will be the featured keynote speakers at RootsTech 2023 Family Discovery Day

Elder Gerrit W. Gong Apostles and Sister Susan L. Gong speak at RootsTech’s Family Discovery Day from the islands of Hawaii.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Susan L. Gong speak at RootsTech’s Family Discovery Day from the islands of Hawaii.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


RootsTech 2023 Family Discovery Day will feature keynote by Elder and Sister Gong

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Susan Gong, will be the featured keynote speakers at RootsTech 2023 Family Discovery Day

Elder Gerrit W. Gong Apostles and Sister Susan L. Gong speak at RootsTech’s Family Discovery Day from the islands of Hawaii.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Susan L. Gong speak at RootsTech’s Family Discovery Day from the islands of Hawaii.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Susan Gong, will be the featured keynote speakers at RootsTech 2023 Family Discovery Day.

Elder and Sister Gong will speak Saturday, March 4, at 1:30 p.m. MST, according to ChurchofJesusChrist.org. Their message will be broadcast on RootsTech.org, RootsTech YouTube, Broadcasts.ChurchofJesusChrist.org and the Gospel Library app.

“I love the fact that family discovery adventures do not have a beginning or an end,” Elder Gong said. “These adventures continue in both directions uniting family past and family future.”

What is Family Discovery Day?

Family Discovery Day is a one-day event during the three-day family history conference designed to help Latter-day Saints discover and celebrate their family heritage.

The entire global family history event runs March 2-4 and offers both an online and in-person experience. Registration is available at RootsTech.org.

Elder and Sister Gong

  • Elder Gong was the first Asian-American to be sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, on March 31, 2018.
  • His ancestors left southern China in the late 19th century for work in the United States. His mother met the missionaries as a teenager in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father joined the Church after attending Stanford University, where his parents met and dated.
  • Elder Gong was born in Redwood City, California, in 1953.
Elder Gerrit W. Gong and Sister Susan L. Gong visit the remains of the Kohala Sugar Plantation where Elder Gong’s grandfather was born in Kohala, Hawaii.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Susan L. Gong visit the remains of the Kohala Sugar Plantation where Elder Gong’s grandfather was born in Kohala, Hawaii.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Both of his parents were professional teachers and collectively spent more than 70 years in the classroom.
  • Elder Gong was a Rhodes Scholar who worked for the U.S. State Department and for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. His travels have taken him to all seven continents, including living in Asia for more than a decade.
  • Both Elder and Sister Gong served as full-time missionaries in Taiwan. The couple married in January 1980 in the Salt Lake Temple. They are the parents of four sons.

Thoughts on ‘Uniting families’

Elder Gong shared the following thoughts on the importance of “Uniting Families: Past, President and Future.”

  • “Sometimes we think our decisions affect only ourselves. Discovering our family reminds us otherwise. We are more connected in our generations than we usually think.”
  • “Collectively, FamilySearch International’s shared family tree currently includes about 1.4 billion names, with some duplication — a good start, but still much to do. That’s where everyone can be part of one of the most exciting puzzles of all time — to assemble the living family tree of mankind.”

  • “Family history and efforts to unite families aren’t only about the past. They also look forward.”
  • “Faith, identity, place, grace — our stories may be our own, as we connect and belong, shared stories can unite us all.”

Sister Gong said “the stories we preserve and share through generations can have a lasting impact on our hearts and minds.”

“I hope that we will each make an effort to discover our own family stories, to record them and to share them with our children and grandchildren,” she said. “I hope that we will all gain greater appreciation for the struggles, courage, faith and sacrifice of those who have gone before. … And I pray that we will live lives of goodness to honor their memories and to show thanks for the gift of life they have given to us.”

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Susan L. Gong will speak at RootsTech’s Family Discovery Day.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Susan L. Gong will be featured keynote speakers at RootsTech’s Family Discovery Day on March 4, 2023.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Past Family Discovery Day speakers

In 2022,  Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Rosana Soares, took audiences on a video tour, visiting several places around Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in their native Brazil, including the Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple. Elder Soares also bore his testimony with a view of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. 

In 2021,  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Sister Patricia Holland, provided a similar video presentation about their lives in St. George, Utah, featuring family stories with their children and grandchildren.

What is the theme for RootsTech 2023?

The theme for RootsTech 2023 is “Uniting,”

“Families are the foundation of society,” said FamilySearch CEO Steve Rockwood in an Oct. 6, 2022, news release. “Connecting and uniting families across generations strengthens individuals and nations alike. We are amazed and gratified to see the role RootsTech has been able to play in helping literally millions of individuals connect with their family, past, present and future.”

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