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Branches, getting back to our roots!

We can be inspired all day long about temple and family history experiences others have had. But we must do something to actually experience the joy ourselves.

Last week was LDS General Conference.  If you don’t know what that is, it is a Semi-Annual Broadcast of our Church’s (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) Leaders.  Each Leader gives messages for the members of the Church to help them in their daily life.

I particularly enjoyed the talk “Family History and Temple Work: Sealing and Healing” given by Elder Dale G. Renlund.  At first, I mainly just enjoyed it, because of my love for Genealogy and Family History work.  But later in the week, I re-listened to a talk given by David A. Bednar, “Meek and Lowly of Heart“, and it gave me a new perspective… I had ENJOYED the talk given by Elder Renlund, but I wasn’t really applying it to myself, because I felt like I was already “good” in that area of my life.  I regularly participate in Family History work, so I didn’t really consider applying it in my life more than I have been.  In Elder Bednar’s talk, he relates this story from President Nelson and President Eyring:

In general conference six months ago, President Russell M. Nelson described his response to President Thomas S. Monson’s invitation to study, ponder, and apply the truths contained in the Book of Mormon. He said: “I have tried to follow his counsel. Among other things, I’ve made lists of what the Book of Mormon is, what it affirms, what it refutes, what it fulfills, what it clarifies, and what it reveals. Looking at the Book of Mormon through these lenses has been an insightful and inspiring exercise! I recommend it to each of you.”10

President Henry B. Eyring likewise emphasized the importance in his life of President Monson’s request. He observed:

“I have read the Book of Mormon every day for more than 50 years. So perhaps I could have reasonably thought that President Monson’s words were for someone else. Yet, like many of you, I felt the prophet’s encouragement and his promise invite me to make a greater effort. …

“The happy result for me, and for many of you, has been what the prophet promised.”11

What do you think explains the immediate and heartfelt responses to President Monson’s invitation by these two leaders of the Lord’s Church?

I am not suggesting that the spiritually strong responses of Amulek, Pahoran, President Nelson, and President Eyring are explained by only one Christlike quality. Certainly, many interrelated attributes and experiences led to the spiritual maturity reflected in the lives of these four noble servants. But the Savior and His prophets have highlighted an essential quality that all of us need to more fully understand and strive to incorporate into our lives.

I have since resolved to try my best to better take advantage of the blessings of Family History by striving to better follow the council given by Elder Renlund in his message.  These are my favorite highlights from his message:

…as we participate in family history and temple work today, we also lay claim to “healing” blessings promised by prophets and apostles.6 These blessings are also breathtakingly amazing because of their scope, specificity, and consequence in mortality. This long list includes these blessings:

  • Increased understanding of the Savior and His atoning sacrifice;

  • Increased influence of the Holy Ghost7 to feel strength and direction for our own lives;

  • Increased faith, so that conversion to the Savior becomes deep and abiding;

  • Increased ability and motivation to learn and repent8 because of an understanding of who we are, where we come from, and a clearer vision of where we are going;

  • Increased refining, sanctifying, and moderating influences in our hearts;

  • Increased joy through an increased ability to feel the love of the Lord;

  • Increased family blessings, no matter our current, past, or future family situation or how imperfect our family tree may be;

  • Increased love and appreciation for ancestors and living relatives, so we no longer feel alone;

  • Increased power to discern that which needs healing and thus, with the Lord’s help, serve others;

  • Increased protection from temptations and the intensifying influence of the adversary; and

  • Increased assistance to mend troubled, broken, or anxious hearts and make the wounded whole.9

If you have prayed for any of these blessings, participate in family history and temple work. As you do so, your prayers will be answered. When ordinances are performed on behalf of the deceased, God’s children on earth are healed. No wonder President Russell M. Nelson, in his first message as President of the Church, declared, “Your worship in the temple and your service there for your ancestors will bless you with increased personal revelation and peace and will fortify your commitment to stay on the covenant path.” …

… President Russell M. Nelson, however, cautioned: “We can be inspired all day long about temple and family history experiences others have had. But we must do something to actually experience the joy ourselves.” He continued, “I invite you to prayerfully consider what kind of sacrifice—preferably a sacrifice of time—you can make [to] do more temple and family history work.”17 As you accept President Nelson’s invitation, you will discover, gather, and connect your family. Additionally, blessings will flow to you and your family like the river spoken of by Ezekiel.

We can be inspired all day long about temple and family history experiences others have had. But we must do something to actually experience the joy ourselves.

So, what does this mean for Branches???

Branches will move on, just as it has and we will continue to make family trees and other products (we’ve gotta make a living!), but the change is that I will be going a little bit back to the roots of how I started this business in the first place.

Did you know that I started this as a blog??  I started this business with the intent to blog about my love and passion for family history and share that with others!  You can even see the old blog here if you like (I wish I was still a “twenty-something mom, lol!).  Honestly, my original family tree started out as a simple way to display my ancestors in my own home.  After creating the tree, I decided to put it on Etsy.  The response was beyond anything I had ever imagined, and because of the demand of filling orders and turning this into a full-time job for me and Matt, I completely stopped blogging and talking about WHY I love family history so much.

So you guessed it… I am going to start blogging about Family History again!!!  I am not going to claim to be any sort of expert, because I’m NOT, but I want to just share more of why I love it and share what I do personally to work on my own family history.  I also want to share OTHER bloggers and articles, because in these past 5 years of working in this industry, I have met some of the most amazing people that are already making great content and sharing their stories about family history.

Lastly, I hope you’ll JOIN me!

More than anything, this little thing I am doing is for my personal growth and HOPEFULLY to help inspire others that may be interested, but I would love your help!  If I am on social media, Instagram is where I spend most of my time, so what I would like to do is start a hashtag #familyhistoryonthesabbath

This hashtag is inspired by one of my original posts on my original blog.  The title of the blog post is, “Why the heck does a twenty-something year old mother to 3 young kids spend 6+ hours a week on Family History Research?!?!” and I don’t even remember if I even mentioned it in the article, but the reason that I was able to cram in 6 hours a week, is that at least during that time, I dedicated my entire free time on Sunday to Family History Work.  I actually had to make it a RULE for myself that I was only allowed to work on Family History on Sundays, because if I started to research on other days of the week… I wasn’t getting anything else done!  The struggle is REAL.

So, what I am going to try to do is refocus my Sundays back to Family History and Blog/Instagram about what I am doing and why I love Family History so much!  If you want to join me, I would love it!  Anything family history related that you do on Sunday, use the hashtag #familyhistoryonthesabbath  That way I can see your posts and maybe even begin to share your stories and insights on my blog and my Instagram page!

Let me know what you think and feel free to share and images/content, just link back to our Instagram page.  I am so excited to be getting back to my roots with this business!

-Carolynn Reynolds