Revelation is Scattered Among Us

May 14, 2013  - by 

I am so grateful for all your comments and suggestions last month on how we can make our centers an extension of the home and the temple.  I invite you to continue to think about what you and your staff can do to make your center a place where families feel welcome.

I am reminded of Elder Russell M. Nelsons inspiring words from his April 2008 General Conference address, he said, “In God’s eternal plan, salvation is an individual matter; exaltation is a family matter.”

One of the major concerns of many family history center directors is their relationship with their priesthood leaders. Some feel that they do not have their support or that family history is not emphasized enough. It is vital that center directors have a good healthy relationship with their priesthood leaders who hold the priesthood keys over this wonderful work. Family history is a magnificent resource to the priesthood in the work of salvation.

I invite you to consider the example of Nephi and the story of his broken bow as you think about your relationship with your priesthood leader. One day while hunting beasts in the wilderness, Nephi’s steel bow broke.  This left their families wanting for food and nourishment as Laman and Lamuel had also lost the use of their bows. Nephi, instead of murmuring like everyone else, decided to act and not be acted upon. Nephi made a new wooden bow, and also new arrows since those that went to his steel bow would not work with his newly crafted wooden one. Nephi adapted to his situation and did what he could do to help remedy their condition.

But what Nephi did next, to me, is the most important part of this story. Nephi went to his father Lehi and said, “Whither shall I go to obtain food?” (1 Ne 16:23). Nephi very easily could have taken his new bow and arrow and gone hunting, but that is not what he did. He sought the guidance and counsel of his patriarch father and priesthood leader for direction.  Nephi acted and fulfilled his role, and allowed others to fulfill theirs. Again I invite you to prayerfully ponder this story and the example of Nephi with regards to your relationship with your priesthood leader.

Last year I had the blessing to sit in a Leadership Training session with Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. In relation to counseling together and aligning with the Brethren he said the following, “President Packer introduced a phrase to me that I’ve never forgotten: ‘Revelation is scattered among us.’ It’s a beautiful phrase. We all receive revelation and inspiration.”

As ‘revelation is scattered among us’ let us counsel together and follow the example of Nephi as we do our part in God’s plan to assist in bringing about the exaltation and eternal life of man.

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  1. Over the past five years we have had an awesome opportunity to have full support from all three stake presidencies in our area. It is paramount that every effort be made to meet with them often.along with every bishop and high priest group leader.

    Our new program also includes ward mission leaders as we have been focusing on the less actives in our tri stake area and have had many doors open to us that before were closed. We have started a training program for ward consultants, including the youth consultants. This goes hand in hand with the pre-missionary training that is also offered…we are ever so grateful for the insight that Bro. Norm Albiston gave us a few months ago that has helped us launch our cemetery program as well

    Thanks for all that you do…

  2. Merrill,

    Thanks for your focus on the gospel. I have often been discouraged by others, but what you say has been slowly reaching me in recent months. I am realizing that leaders are not trying to mess up the family history program. They are not out to get me. 🙂 Both patience and faith is important. I look back and realize I could have been more of a go-getter on my own with meeting with individuals. People really do want help. After a few months, our ward instituted a Sunday School class and teaching that gives me courage to reach out to more individuals too. I just taught a recent convert at a n FHE about family history. And I have another appointment coming up this week.


  3. I am currently trying to build the importance of family history to members by citing the tremendous emphasis the church is putting into FH. Will you comment on, and give additional information about these facts:
    FamilySearch websiteis the third or fourth most popular genealogy site on the Internet. The Church has 200 teams around the world digitizing civic, church and oother reords that are to be available free ont he internet; More thant a half million volunteer indexers have completed over a billion records in six years, all available for free on the internet; Thelargest mission in the churhc is the Family History Mission with more than 300 missionaries and a like number of employees and expert consultants ; Family Search has a worldwide consultant service for genealogists who can call by phone, or get email responses to questions; The church has 4,500 family history centers through out the world all free to church members and the public; The world’s largest genealogy library in SLC has more than 750,000 visitors annually;
    The church developed the GEDCOM system which is the standard for common transfer of genealogical data; etc.

    You can see that I would like to begin a campaign to advise members that the church is a world leader in genealogical work, and as such we do not take a casual interest in the work. Thus members need to realize immensity and seriousness of the work.

    I hope to gather correct facts about these and I surely other other facts and figures that exemplify how vast it is for members and leaders who just don’t get it.

    We served for two years in the Family History Mission and have been involved locally without much success for 10 years or more. We want to change that with a blockbuster.

  4. Neither my High Priests’ Group Leader (who is also a Consultant) nor I have been able to determine if a High Council Member has been assigned to work with Temple and Family History.

    1. I see no problem having the Bishop or High Priest Group Leader checking with the Stake President to verify who has been assigned in the High Council.

  5. Hi Merrill,
    I am not a Family History Center Director but I get the general familysearch emails and was happy to see your smiling face! Your smile always brightened up the Library. I miss being there but time was up end of April and I am now back in Edmonton, Alberta. Thanks for making the Library a pleasant place to serve. I will do my best to help members here with family history.
    Georgina Smith

  6. Thank you for this counsel. I am one of those who had been murmuring that our priesthood leaders were not at all interested in family history. My husband who is my stake president asked me to repent, instead, pray for direction on what to do, and work with my priesthood leaders. I did what he said, and we now have success in the stake – families working on their family history and getting sealed to their families, youth helping in indexing and also in researching their ancestors, priesthood leaders now working in their own wards. Thank you!!!!!

  7. In my area, Santa Clara, Utah, we have gone backwards as we no longer have any FHCenter/Library. They were closed and we are instructed to travel to downtown St. George to the recently opened new Center. So, our elderly patrons who enjoyed a local FHCenter have none, As a FHCons. for many years in little Ojai, CA – FHC find it hard to believe the closing of needed libraries?? I am now a FHC in my new Ward at SC8th. I have no Classroom and need to trade the class with Family Relations. I am currently on a 2-month recess. There is just me and my little laptop. In Cedar City, my Bishop son-in-law has a very nice FH classroom with desks, and several nice new computers!! I don’t get it!!

  8. I am grateful in the Chandler Stakes in Arizona we have the full support of both of our stake Presidencies

    Our only focus is “Turn the Hearts”. It is the Lords plan and it is our plan

  9. Are we no longer filling out a monthly report online? If so, I haven’t received one for April. If that is the case, that’s fine, I will continue to send mine to the Stake Director, Jane Orne, who then sends mine along with hers to SL.

  10. I appreciated the application of Nephi and his father to our priesthood leaders and my calling. May the Lord bless you and all of us.

    1. I too appreciate the work and words given. All Priesthood Leaders that I work with, desires to go and do what they have been called to do. Involving the youth with the older seasoned researcher is a beautiful part of the work of salvation and I feel privileged to be more involved with the youth and their training. The work is hastening on.

  11. Thank you for this contact. I appreciate the story of Nephi going to his priesthood leader for direction. We have a great relationship with the three High councillors and Stake Presidencies in our Center. We can and will make better connections with them. Thanks, Merrill.

  12. It truly amazes me at how often we can read the same scriptures day in and day out and suddenly someone enhances our understanding with comments like yours and Nephi’s bow experience. We have undergone enourmously wonderful changes in FH Library over the past year and our relationship with 11 stakes has improved mightily for many reasons including the assignment of a Library “Liaison” assigned from each stake. We meet with them on line twice a month where we get reports of the improved relationships with Stake leaders. For the few who still have challenges in this area… we plan to share your B of M perspective. Thank you soooo much,. We love this work.

  13. We are having a terrible time accessing the FHC Portal AND the FH Tree with the same browser. We have kind of solved this by going to the Tree thru’ one browser site and the Portal thru’ a different one. We are waiting for (SLC) Family History IT’s Specialists to fix this problem

  14. Thank you for reminding me of the story of Nephi. I hadn’t thought about Nephi asking his father first before he went hunting.
    I think I will share this with our priesthood.