Genealogy and temple practice, ca. 1942

A couple months ago, I wrote up a brief post describing and contextualizing modern Mormon temple sealing practice. I recently came across a letter from 1942 describing new policies for temple work, which by today’s standards are still quite restrictive (1). I thought it was interesting as I hadn’t realized the practice of naming family heirs, who were responsible for all temple work for a given convert or convert couple was maintained this late (I still have a lot of work to do on the 20th century).

OFFICIAL LETTER OF INSTRUCTIONS
Submit Names for Temple Work on Family Group Record

December 11, 1941.

Dear Stake Chairman:

As foreshadowed in our letter of November 3, 1941, it can now be officially announced that the new plan of submitting names for temple work will go into effect January 1, 1942.

After that date all names to be submitted for baptism and endowment are to be copied (preferably typed) on the revised form of family group record. . . . This group record should be brought or mailed to The Index Office, 80 North Main, Salt Lake City, Utah. There it will be censored to see if correctly made out with adequate identification, exact source of information, name of heir, name and address of patron, and other facts called for on the sheet.

If approved by the censor department, this record sheet will be checked at the temple index bureau to determine if any ordinance of baptism or endowment has been previously administered for any person named on the record. If it is discovered, for example, that the husband and two of the children—those named on lines 2 and 5—are already baptized and endowed, the dates of these ordinances with the name of the heir and the relationship of this heir to the dead will be copied in the spaces provided opposite these names. This is so the patron may record these dates in his own family record.

The names of those found to be not endowed will be approved for ordinance work. The Genealogical Society will then make a typewritten copy in duplicate of this group sheet you have sent, one to serve as a temple copy, the other as the archives copy; and the sheet sent in by the patron, with the addition of the ordinance dates and names of heirs inserted, as mentioned above, will be returned to him.

From the typewritten copy we have made, index cards will then be typed in duplicate. The carbon copies will be filed in the index bureau to prevent any other person receiving approval to do ordinance work for these same individuals. The originals will be placed in envelopes bearing the name of the heir, and the name and address of the patron or person who submitted the names. These envelopes will be sent to whichever temple the patron may designate, and held in readiness for baptism and endowment, Both ordinances will be done from the card.

These cards will be photographed at the temple for their temple record after the baptism ordinance, and again after the endowment; then they will be returned to the Genealogical Society of Utah. There dates of baptism and endowment will be entered on the two copies of the group sheet which has been typed. Then these original index cards will be filed in the Index Bureau, replacing the duplicates there, which have now served their purpose of preventing duplication.

When a sufficient number of family group records for one patron are ready for sealing, he will be notified by the Genealogical Society and requested to inform them when and at what temple he will do the sealings, and whether he will provide his own proxies for the sealings. The society will then send the temple copies of these group records, which are ruled so as to be suitable for sealing, directly to the temple so designated. There the names of proxies will be inserted. Following the sealing each group record, bearing now the date of sealing, names of officiator, witnesses and proxies, will be photographed; and then returned to the Genealogical Society. There the sealing date will be recorded on the archives copy. The temple copy will finally be returned to the patron, and he may preserve this complete record, giving dates of baptism, endowment and sealing, as part of his own family record.

Since under the new plan patrons will have to make out only one record form—the revised family group record—emphasis must be placed on how to prepare it correctly. Kindly call together your stake and ward committeemen as soon as possible, and acquaint them with these facts. We enclose enough copies of this letter so there may be one for each ward chairman in your stake. Urge them to make due announcement of the change in their wards.

In the discussion with your workers points may be raised which require these instructions:

1. The complete family should be entered on the group record. If the names of a husband and wife only can be found, submit their names on the sheet; for it is anticipated that later research will reveal the names of all the children, at which time they can be added to the record. Submit the names of all children in a family, including those who died under eight years, and also those who have been previously baptized and endowed and even sealed.

2. Names of isolated individuals un- connected by record as yet with either a father, mother, wife or husband, or child, should be retained by the patron as a subject for further research, until at least one such relative can be given. Exceptional cases will be considered on their merits.

3. Be specific in citing the source of information for facts shown on the group sheet sent in for temple work. If it is a printed volume, give the title of the book and page where this particular record will be found. If from a family record, name the person who compiled it, as “Family Record of George Mason, Jr.” If the data were obtained from a living person, give his name and address. If from a vital record or a parish register, name the town or parish and the record, as “Mansfield Vital Records” or “Norton Parish Register.”

4. The new family group record form may be obtained from the Deseret Book Company, 44 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, at the price of seventy-five cents a hundred, if bought over the counter, or eighty-five cents a hundred if sent by mail postpaid. But the old price of 10c per dozen will continue.

5. The old form of family group record can still be used for private family records or for sending copies of completed records to the Church Record Archives.

Sincerely your brother,
Joseph Fielding Smith,
Church Historian and Recorder.

_______________________

  1. Joseph Fielding Smith, “Official Letter of Instructions,” Improvement Era 45 (January 1942): 45.

Comments

  1. That’s amazing. Very labor intensive. I recently read Hearts Turned to the Fathers: A History of the Genealogical Society of Utah, and it was very eye-opening to read about why things are done the way they are.

    I guess things are complicated in their own way right now, and the lack of a family heir both simplifies and complicates the work. Word on the street is that NewFamilySearch is going to be phased out by the end of the year, so it’ll be interesting to see how things move forward.

  2. Word on the street is that NewFamilySearch is going to be phased out by the end of the year

    That was quick!

  3. Last Lemming says:

    The replacement for NewFamilySearch is available for tryout if you are interested. Among other things, it allows you to attach links to sources, and eventually is supposed to allow you to delete erroneous information. (I’ll believe that when I see it.)

    You can get to it by going to the Help Center in NFS, scrolling to the bottom, and clicking on “Gaining Access to the FamilySearch Family Tree.”

  4. Mark B. says:

    All else aside, I’m interested in Elder Smith’s use of the word “censor”–I’ve never seen it used in that sense, and I’d be surprised, frankly, if that’s a standard usage.

    Second, the date is interesting–four days after the attack on Pearl Harbor brought the U.S. into the Second World War. Despite what you might have read elsewhere, there were some who continued on with their normal work, who didn’t run down to the recruiting office to enlist or to the armaments factory to start operating a riveter.

  5. Mark, I saw that and wondered the same thing. Though I haven’t gone through to check for comparable usages.

    Ardis just emailed me a wonderful picture of the Temple Index Bureau staff in the 1930s and I’ve encouraged her to post it at Keepa. Let’s just say it doesn’t look very scalable.

  6. Kevin Barney says:

    When I was young, I remember that there were ward genealogy cops you had to get through in order to file your records. And they were very, uh, particular. If you didn’t meet their exacting standards, your sheets didn’t get filed. On the one hand it was intimidating and I’m sure kept a lot of people out of the game, but on the other hand it resulted in high standards that have slipped in the age of New Family Search.

  7. When I was in grad school, I got interested in family history. At that point (early 80s), you mailed FGSs to SLC. They checked them (I don’t think they called it the censoring office but that is major coolness) and were pretty careful about it. Moreover, they had very up to date info on what had been done and what had not.

  8. J. Stapley says:

    I hadn’t realized the strict controls lasted that late.

  9. Here’s the picture J. refers to.

    I remember the same things WVS reports in 7, still in effect in the later ’80s, and waiting and waiting for the sheets to be sent back so that the work could actually be done.

    When my parents wanted to get into genealogy in the ’60s and ’70s, they were greatly discouraged by the system. They enrolled for Sunday School genealogical classes time and time again, but the classes were all about how to fill out the forms to meet the requirements (picky picky picky stuff about what was underlined and what was all caps and what abbreviations to use). Mom would come home so frustrated — “All they do is teach us how to fill out the forms. Why won’t they teach us how to find the information to put ON the forms?!”

  10. J. Stapley says:

    Thanks Ardis, that image is gold.

  11. Jacob H. says:

    Minor aside: Footnote 1 should read, “1942” instead of “1842”.

    [J: Fixed. Thanks for the catch]

  12. Awesomeness abounds.

  13. anne (uk) says:

    Am on my hols at the English seaside so just a brief comment- I still had to post forms to SLC in the early 90’s- but really, is nfs nearly done and dusted?

  14. Mark B. says:

    Just checked my OED–there’s no definition there that’s close to what Elder Smith seems to have been trying to say.

    I’ll take some comfort in the fact that he didn’t capitalize “Censor Department.” So it appears that his error wasn’t institutional.

    Maybe wartime censorship had brought the word to mind. Even though the U.S. had been in the war for just a few days, the experience with Europe for the previous two years may have been enough to get him thinking, however wrongly, about the word.

  15. Mark B. says:

    Is that “dusted” as in “tossed in the dustbin”? We don’t speak English in America. : )

  16. Is NFS really going away? Probably, eventually. I only follow one genealogy tech blog, but the blogger has good sources for these kinds of rumors. (Now that I look at the post again, it looks like Family Tree was announced at RootsTech 2012, which means it may have left the realm of pure rumor and entered the realm of hearsay.)

    Here’s a link to the recent post about NFS and Family Tree.

    As Last Lemming mentions in comment 3, the replacement for NFS is available in beta. (In other words, it’s currently being tested.)

    One wrinkle in this story of progress: Genealogy’s Star mentions that Family Tree currently allows GEDCOM import. So is it any improvement??

  17. #9 Ardis, I had similar submission experience in 1986 for work for my grandfather’s siblings and parents. And, Ardis, even today the family history classes seem to be all about getting online and using the system instead of doing actual research. That said, I did take a FH class in the late 80’s (when I submitted the aforementioned sheet for my grandfather’s family) and the teacher deviated from the course materials enough to give us some good research nuggets, too.

  18. New Family Search isn’t really going away – it’s just shifting to ver 2.0 (or whatever they call it). Same data, new look and feel, better usability, ability to attach sources a super plus. (Lucky to be on the beta tester list)

  19. I seriously dislike doing genealogy. I can only get back to my great grandparents and even that is spotty. I don’t even know where they were born except for country. The census is no help because my GG’s didn’t really speak English so the Census taker just wrote whatever they felt like. Aside from that, they are trying to tell me what my mother’s name is. I absolutely 100% know my mother’s name, yet it will not let me change it. It says I can add an opinion on it–(caps) It isn’t my opinion, it is a fact (caps off) It frustrates me too much and I have very little tolerance for frustration. I try to work on it every week, but have no way of searching things. Someone suggested Google, I was like great, thanks.

  20. NotRachel says:

    Last Lemming (#3), if what you say is true I’m doing a little happy dance! I keep thinking a way to upload documents to source your info would be my ideal. And to correct errors! Gasp! Be still my heart!

  21. Meldrum the Less says:

    Rant Warning

    Consider truely contemporary geneology: If you deal with vital statistics very much you will understand how frought with errors they can be. Even today you would think we could tell who belongs to whom and we could get a few basic dates right. Dream on. Information on birth certificates in the 21st century is gathered from stressed parents by the least reliable nurse around and that on death certificates by money-grubbing funeral directors. I know of people with criminal records documenting so many aliases that it becomes hard for their own relatives to tell who they are. Fingerprints are the gold standard in law enforcement and even then problems abound. Adding to the confusion in these modern times; legal name changes are popular and modern serial monogamy results in mixed families. It is hard to tell who is parent and who is child or sibling or whatever. Mormon pioneers dodging federal marshalls over illegal family relations might have been motivated to alter the details a bit. The social chaos of modern life makes their possible chicanery pale in comparison.

    I had a friend who worked in a DNA lab in Salt Lake where they did testing to see which family members were good matches as organ or bone marrow donors. One of the dirty little secrets in the lab was that up to 10% of the samples submitted showed the parent was not even related to the child. Although women are generally more chaste than men, an unbelievable amount of sneaking around outside of marriage covenants is being hidden from gullible husbands, and it probably isn’t all done by the “gentiles” in Utah. So is the point of geneology, to try and hide this?

    What level of credibility of information is required? It is an impossible question. But the general direction the LDS church has taken is towards letting anything into the official file for temple work regardless of how dubious. Methods to find and eliminate errors are not robust. As a result our geneology records if not already, are getting totally screwed up.

    All 8 of my great-grandparents were avid geneologists and made heroic efforts to get the information right. In some ways they had advantages; they were closer in time and collective memory and generally more persistent and reliable. But they also lacked the advantages of modern digital technology. Since their seminal work, certain polishers and flushers of family history in each generation have gone back over and “corrected” details, making additions and probably subtractions. (Missing young plural wives seem to be rather easily “lost.”) Faith-promoting biographies of a couple of pages length forcing modern preachy expectations of righteous onto the events of these ancestors’ lives further nauseates disinterested youth.

    A few years back I stumbled upon an immediately recognizable geneology on a defunct website that seemed to match about 5 generations of one of my lines. The collector of this information, lost in cyberspace, seemed to be unaware of the LDS ancestral file or anything connected to the LDS church and his sources were entirely independent from mine. About 80% of this line was similar to the point it seemed impossible that it was not the same family line. But the other 20% was extremely disturbing. Extra wives, extra kids, scandalous wedding and birth dates, mixed up spouses names between generations and between the spouses of siblings, etc. It was impossible to unravel or come up with an inclusive hybrid history that included everyone mentioned even if they didn’t exactly exist. Piecemeal geneology dominoed into irrationality. It seems several ancestors, perhaps 10-20% were left out of having their temple ordinances done and a similar number contrived and I can’t put the pieces back together in a way that comes close to making sense. Of course, anything this drastic would ruffle feathers of my family matrons of geneology.

    I can’t see how the introduction of a better computer program will change the fundamental problem of credibility of information being added to the massive, corrupted files. For me researching a few generations (maybe 3 or 4) is reasonable and attainable. But further work rapidly becomes a fool’s errand and an obsessive hobby enjoyed most enthusiastically by those not particularly inclined to documenting the cold hard truth due to their age or disposition or intelligence or moralistic agenda.

    It is upon this shoddy foundation we build our highest and most sacred worship. (Blech)

  22. an obsessive hobby enjoyed most enthusiastically by those not particularly inclined to documenting the cold hard truth due to their age or disposition or intelligence or moralistic agenda.

    Thank you, Meldrum, for this flattering description of myself. Blech back atcha.

  23. Sharee Hughes says:

    While it is true that there are a lot of people doing Family History who don’t know what they’re doing and who copy other people’s work without regard for proper sourcing or even looking at the dates they are copying (having children born before their parents were is something that really galls me), there are many of us who try to do actual research and use census records, parish records, vital records, etc., to verify information. Please don’t ‘blech’ us. But you can ‘blech’ people who go into New Family Search and combine records that shouldn’t be combined. A man on my family tree was married twice. Both of his wives were named Elizabeth. Although they were born on different dates, in different years, and different places,and he married them at different times, some idiot decided they were the same person and combined the records. And it is not easy to uncombine records that someone has wrongly combined. So, although I will continue with my family history research (I have nearly 19,000 people on my family tree), and highly recommend that others also do it, I would suggest that those who do so use a few brains and a little common sense. Don’t just unthinkingly copy someone else’s work.

  24. Meldrum the Less says:

    Artis and Sharee Hughes::

    Was that a friendly blech or a hostile one? I take it as friendly.

    If the geneology work of Artis et al. is as accurate as it can be (or even if it isn’t and you don’t care) then why the personalization? Unless you want it. When the youth in your extended family see you coming with an arm load of family history items to look at, do they run away, politely look for a place to hide, or jump with joy? If they jump then sorry, the description doesn’t fit you. Too bad.

    I was actually thinking of my notorious sister known as little hurricane in her younger days (now old windy?), along with assorted cousins and aunts. Perhaps you should met them and they could show you a thing or two on how to nauseate youth.. And as a member of the church I can respond to whatever I feel about temple work or any other activity as a I choose. If the comedy of errors called family history research makes me laugh or l blech then I do it with authenticity. I don’t pretend that something is wonderful when it seems to me that it is not. I do try to give reasons.

    Just dreaming up information or dragging out old memories is bad enough, which is what too many people do and the church encourages it. Variations on the Elizabeth problem you describe has happened a dozen times in my ancestory. It is happening faster than it can be resolved. Error is more easily introduced than accuracy. My point is that even sources like census records, parish records, vital records, etc. are inaccurate. More often than you think. So the credibility question is real. Most of the information is not verifiable. If we are going to have partially imaginary information for our pinnacle worship experience and pretend that it is meaningful I want it to at least be more entertaining.

    The thing that irritates me the most is how geneology is now becoming almost exclusively the servant of moralistic pedagogry and preaching to the youth, damn the facts if they don’t support it.This is done on the family history level and it is done on the church history level. Hand-in-hand. I might be over-sensitive since my wife and children are descendants of several of the major orchestrators of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. You ought to see the shine they have put on that history.

  25. Sharee Hughes says:

    Meldrum, while it is true that even sources like the census records, etc. can be inaccurate (people lie about their ages to the census taker so with every census their age drops a little), it is not that accuracy that counts. It is getting the families together. Joe Blow might be 10 in the 1840 census and 18 in the 1850 census, and vital records might say he was born in 1828, but if his parents are John Blow and Jane Doe Blow in each of these records, then it likely is the same person. The Lord cares more about getting Joe’s work done than in having us know the exact year Joe was born. We verify as closely as we can. That is as much as we can do.

  26. Meldrum the Less says:

    I agree with you that a few minor errors can be ignored. I agree that genealogy is about getting families together. The problem is that doing family history as it is currently constituted has a tendency to the opposite- drive families apart!

    Some family is more devoted to the church, others more devoted to the gospel and still others less devoted. The family moralists can’t resist using family history with necessary adjustments under the acceptable minor errors clause to preach to family members of a different persuasion.

    I see a parallel effort with the church and its faith-in-every-footsteps tenor in stark contrast to the many less actives or resigned members who trumpet problems with church history. Who is hijacking history? Both? I need a good quote here-about you never get away from the past it is still here with us.

  27. I saw some good strides in General Conference in April to try and get people to stop judging others–whether it be family members, other members of The Church, or that scary scary world out there. Unfortunately on more than one occasion I have seen people twist these words into something unrecognizable and it somehow further justifies them judging others. In every group of people you have jerks; said people are “our” jerks.

  28. NewlyHousewife says:

    I was never interested in family history. Yes it would be cool to say “Hey I’m related to ____ and ____ famous person”, but it does nothing in terms of helping me relate to people outside of my immediate network. Call me selfish, but I just don’t care about great-great-great-great-great ancestors I can’t verify. I’m a believer that temple ordinances should have names removed all together unless the person is doing the ordinances themselves.

  29. This thread has gotten far off track, and I’d like to return it to the themes of the OP.

    Family history work leading to temple ordinances is one of those doctrines that fits what the Lord said in John 7:17: “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” When people do family history work in the right way and for the right reasons, it doesn’t take long at all to gain a witness of the reality of life after death, of the truth that our ancestors want and need these ordinances to be done in their behalf, of the assistance from beyond the veil that plays a role, of the necessity of careful work, and of the joy that playing any role as a “savior on Mount Zion” brings.

    I’m a witness of all that, and I have borne witness here and here and here and here and here and here, among other posts, and have posted the witnesses of readers like Anne (U.K.) and The Other Clark and kevinf and Grant and Researcher and others through their guest posts. We’re all among the cloud of witnesses that these things are true.

    Some people haven’t caught the vision; that’s also true. Some people don’t have the interest or capability for painstakingly accurate work, and New Family Search shows that. Others are in a hurry and take shortcuts. Some don’t really understand what the program is. Others don’t have a strong enough witness as to the need of ordinances in their own lives to understand the need and desire of the deceased to have those ordinances performed in their behalf. Et cetera. But the failure of some or many to understand doesn’t negate the value and necessity and joy of doing what needs to be done, in the right way.

    The very first words spoken by Moroni to Joseph, and repeated and repeated and repeated, concern the charge we have to do this work, and do it right. The processes outlined in the document posted here by J. was the ca. 1942 iteration of an ongoing effort to fulfill that assignment made by God to members of the Church: It sounds like – and no doubt was – a lot of bother, but its purpose was to be sure that unnecessary duplicate work was not done, and to provide an accurate enough identification of every person to be sure that work was done for everyone, and not skipped because someone else of the same name had once lived in the same vicinity. Our minds boggle at the pickiness and sheer labor involved … pickiness and labor that has now been moved from human hands to the level of electrons, which have taken over much of the clearance and record-keeping functions of the 1942 program.

    I’m sorry that some people don’t grasp the importance and the exalting rewards of this work, and that they’re so comfortable in their unawareness that they can make some of the comments left here – and please believe that I’m sorry not in a sense of condemnation, but in a sense of compassion that they haven’t felt what I’ve felt and known what I’ve known while doing family history work with the goal of temple ordinances. It’s like pitying people who can’t eat ice cream – the pity isn’t superiority, it is real sorrow that something so wonderful is beyond the present grasp of everyone. Only the joy of family history work – done right, and with the right goal – is so much better than ice cream that I deserve your pity for even making the analogy.

  30. Ardis –

    Would it be possible for me to contact you offline? I have a fascinating search of my own and could use some advice. I’ve come up against a wall and am not sure how to proceed. Thanks in advance for your help.

  31. Ardis E. Parshall says:

    Jeff, clicking on my name at the top of my comment takes you to my blog, with a contact link in the upper lefthand corner of that page.

  32. Weird that it didn’t show a link that time! If this one doesn’t link, go to the top of an earlier comment in this thread.

  33. #28: Great comment, Ardis. Amen.

  34. Thanks, Ardis. (!!)

  35. J. Stapley says:

    Realizing kinship is I think the great revealation of the restoration.

  36. Meldrum the Less says:

    As a general matter of following wisdom I want to agree with Ardis. Since I might be front and center in her sincere pity shooting range I want to try to respond, although the task is onerous against her formitable articulation skills.

    Sometimes in the middle of the night I wake up and wonder if God even exists. Or worse the quote, as wanton boys kill flies, so the gods toy with our lives. God might be evil and hate us. Most of the time I have to hold the shield of faith up to these doubts but the shield is heavy for me and my arm is weak and shaky.

    To consider that my own dear mother who passed on a few years ago might not even exist is unthinkable. Whether she does or doesn’t is a matter of fact that no amount of wishful thinking on my part can change. The same feelings I have to a lesser extend of my grandparents other relatives and friends who have gone into rest. When I study their lives it makes them more real and more unthinkable that they might not exist. So it seems to me that comforting though it might be, gaining a conviction of the reality of life after death through studying the death is logically circular. A possibly irreverent parallel is the process of studying about Sasquatch until you start to actually want to believe. (i. e. my cousin Jeff Meldrum the Wise.)

    Now that is bad enough when we are all on the same page; everyone wants to believe their mother isn’t gone for good. The emotional edge is there which makes arguments closer to the surface. But then when some members of the family say: your mother never swore why are you swearing? When in fact she was the one who swore first and the most at you. And they say you should not go to the temple if you cussed your kids out, or take the sacrament. And it gets worse than swearing, but that is a good safe example.

    Do we let history be the servant of faith? Do we then rob those weakest among us of the reality of watching their very own relatives struggle and sometimes not overcome?

    Ordinances: For me it is like a lunch line. Everyone is going to get fed. we are going to do the work of everyone. It is just a matter of who gets to be at the front of the line. Letting a few close relatives and friends into the front of the line is different that trying to get millions of strangers to the front. It doesn’t make sense to me. Since everyone in my family back 12 generations has had the ordinances, they have little meaning to me personally and I can see how they can be offensive to others.I agree withthe churches policy to not do temple work fro Holocaust Jews, it is offensive. bit for me it is equally offensive to do anyone else.

    I need to answer the door and I might get back to finishing this

  37. it's a series of tubes says:

    Just pushed the virtual like button for #28.

  38. Meldrum the Less says:

    I guess this thread died. I had two other points I wanted to make. But when the door bell rings and there are flashing blue lights out front, one must either answer or run. And that leads to being up all night and…, you know the routine. Days pass before an opportunity to finish making a comment that nobody will read. But still I feel driven by some spirit in me to make it

    First is that doing family history is seldom Christ centered. It seldom brings a person towards Christ. Watching others in the deep past repentance of sins, yes often. But Christ in the very center? Most of my family pioneer conversion stories were in a Christian contest. Faith in Christ was a presumption and the story is about adopting distinctive Mormon beliefs. But that means either the story was fundamentally incomplete, or their Mormon faith was not Christ-centered.

    Even when the conversion is Christ centered, it is easily rewritten to make some other point. We need look no further for an example than the first convert to the modern LDS church, Joseph Smith. The first published account of his First Vision by Orson Pratt is quite evangelical. Joseph goes into the woods to pray about his own salvation. The answer via a divine visitation is forgiveness of sins through the atonement. This is dead-on centered in Christ. But somehow the version that gets into the cannon of scripture is different. The question changes into which church and the answer none of them, they are all an abomination. Which church is not even a serious question for most outside of Mormonism. Which church is a Mormon question.

    Second is the observation already alluded to; Those who excel in Family history seem to invariably have plenty of room for improvement in the cultivation of basic Christian virtues. My 86 year old father lives at ground zero in the Mormon Kingdom; east side of Salt Lake and his wide circle of acquaintances live in the Millcreek, Holliday, Cottonwood, Sandy areas and to a lesser extent the affluent Olympus Cove and Cottonwood Heights areas. (I will leave it to more capable minds to enumerate the long list of general authorities who have lived for decades in this area but for starters it includes the last two prophets and the likely next two.) The older people in this area are socially divided.

    Those with temple recommends who spend many hours at the temple and after home/visiting teaching have little time to do other community service. Those without recommends, from inactivity or non-conversion or other reasons. About half of them are old renegades, degenerates and heretics of every sort. But the other half are wonderful decent people who genuinely look for ways to help others. They are the ones who work for hospice and visit the recluses and the dying. They are the ones who help elderly neighbors with home repairs or snow removal or yard care. My father says the definition of a good church is a group of people who agree to watch and help each other grow old and die. The LDS community at ground zero is failing by this definition. It is really quite astonishing to see this.

    Retired people who spend 20 hours or more doing family history or ordinances in the temple should consider a reorientation of priorities and see if they might not be able to do a little more to serve others beyond the LDS checklist, short version for those in the fast lane to the celestial kingdom.

    There I made the comment I feel driven to make whether anyone reads it or not.

  39. it's a series of tubes says:

    Did something change? I meant I liked Ardis’s comment, which used to be 28 – now it’s 29. Gives a very different meaning to my earlier post!

  40. Ardis E. Parshall says:

    Thanks, tubes (and Cynthia and Thomas), whatever number it is.

  41. Meldrum the Less says:

    Good News:

    A business has offered to pay me $80 an hour to analyse material on a secure computer site at my leisure and comment on it. (Seems pretty similar to what I do on this website.) I apologize for not piping up to sprinkle a little cayenne pepper under your tails quite as often in the future, unless Ardis and her pals want to take up a collection?

    Can I do it while sitting in church? Temple? Just wondering….

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