Every genealogist has his or her own, personal, reasons for beginning to research their family tree. Maybe they were inspired to get started on genealogy after watching a TV show that focused on this popular hobby. For those who happen to be Mormon, genealogy is more than just a hobby. Genealogy connects to the Mormon religion.
FamilySearch is one of the most popular genealogy websites. One reason is because it can be used, for free, by absolutely anyone. The other reason is that FamilySearch has a lot of good information for genealogists and a search engine that can help them learn more about specific ancestors. FamilySearch’s main benefactor is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mormons are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Genealogy and family history are seen as more than a hobby. A concise way to explain it is to say that genealogy research helps Mormons get to know their ancestors.
The Verge has an article titled “Who am I? Data and DNA answer one of life’s big questions”. It was written by Laura June in May of 2013. A section of this very informative article discusses how genealogy fits with Mormon religious beliefs.
A paragraph from that article provides some insight. Part of that paragraph says: “One of the Church’s fundamental tenets is doing genealogical research because its members believe that Mormons can baptize ancestors in their absence. The act of baptizing family by proxy – i.e., without their knowledge or permission of the ancestor, usually because they’re deceased – has been fairly controversial, but it’s not a focus for most genealogists.”
Further information about genealogy and the Mormon faith is found on Mormon.org. It explains that Mormons are encouraged to research their family roots. “Rather, we are driven by our doctrine that teaches that marriage and families can continue beyond this life. But this can only happen when families are sealed together in one of the Lord’s holy temples around the world and united for all eternity.”
The same article notes: “Genealogical or family history research is the essential forerunner of temple work for our deceased ancestors. We do it to obtain names and other genealogical information so these temple ordinances can be performed for our kindred dead.”
In other words, Mormons practice genealogy for religious reasons. Their family history research allows them to get to know their deceased ancestors whom they believe they will encounter someday. Mormons who discover that an ancestor had not been baptized can arrange for that ancestor to be baptized posthumously.
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