President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Wendy Watson Nelson, delighted an enthusiastic RootsTech audience with a game of Scrabble along with stories of their family heritage at the annual family history event in Salt Lake City. This special Saturday session, called Family Discovery Day, is specifically for Church members with a goal to help them “discover and celebrate their family heritage—past, present, and future.”
The pre-planned Scrabble game included words like family, hearts, Elijah, sealing and joy. The Nelsons spoke about each one of these topics, and more, sharing the blessings of family along with the joy of family history and temple work.
President Nelson shared a poignant journal entry written by his grandfather, A. C. Nelson. It recounted the experience of being visited by his deceased father on April 6, 1891, with a message of hope that his children would be sealed to him. Other specific counsel was given to A.C., such as, “always cling to the Gospel” and “be faithful to the covenants you have made with God.”
“It is so precious to me that my grandfather would leave that record for us,” said President Nelson. “We learned that his children were subsequently sealed to him. So the reason for the visit was accomplished.” Recently he shared copies of the journal entry with his children and grandchildren.
Sister Nelson took the conversion story of Sarah Elizabeth Daggett Rosenberg from her family history and compiled it into a storybook to share with her great-nieces and nephews. Each of them was invited to help provide illustrations for the story.
“It’s wonderful to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers by telling important family history stories in ways that are accessible and memorable,” her husband added.
President Nelson reminded us of the importance of temple work for our kindred dead. “If our collections of stories and photos should ever become an end point in themselves — if we know who our ancestors are and know marvelous things about them, but we leave them stranded on the other side without their ordinances, such diversion will not be of any help to our ancestors who remain confined in their spirit prison.”
As in past years, President Nelson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, extended a challenge to Church members during the Family Discovery Day: “I invite you to prayerfully consider what kind of sacrifice — and preferably a sacrifice of time — you can make to do more family history and temple work this year.”
Sister Nelson bore her testimony of the joy that comes from actively participating in this great work: “However fabulous your life is right now, or however discouraging and heartbreaking it may be, your involvement in family history and temple work will make it better.”
President and Sister Nelson’s presentation can be viewed at rootstech.org, as well as keynote addresses by LeVar Burton, Buddy Valastro (the Cake Boss), the Scott Brothers (of Property Brothers), and presentations by Sheri Dew & Vai Sikahema, Hank Smith, and more. Several class sessions are also available.