by Kathryn Grant
Since that visit, President Eyring observed, “interest in exploring one’s family history has grown exponentially. At ever-increasing rates, people seem drawn to their ancestry with more than just casual curiosity.”
In addition, President Eyring noted that “technologies have emerged around the world to support this interest” (“Gathering the Family of God,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 21).
Some of the more recent technology advances include the following:
- 1999: The Church launched the FamilySearch.org website.1
- 2006: The indexing program began, engaging hundreds of thousands of volunteers to transcribe information from historical records to make them searchable.2
- 2012: FamilySearch released Family Tree, a shared tree with features to enable collaboration and reduce duplication.3
- 2014: FamilySearch began partner relationships with other family history organizations, making access to records and discovery experiences easier than ever.3
It’s easy to see that technology has advanced family history in ways that would otherwise be impossible. However, President Eyring taught, “I have learned . . . that even the best technology can never be a substitute for revelation from heaven. . . . This is a spiritual work, and the Lord directs it through His Holy Spirit” (“Gathering the Family of God,” 22). We use technology most effectively when we are guided by the Spirit.
As we keep this principle in mind and teach it to those we help, we will be in the strongest position to take advantage of the technological miracles of our day—miracles to help us in the great work of gathering our families on both sides of the veil.
President Eyring emphasized this truth with a personal experience:
“I was working on my family history with a consultant by my side and another helper on the phone. On the computer screen before me was a problem beyond my mortal power to solve. I saw two names, sent to me by the wonders of technology, of people who might be waiting for a temple ordinance. But the trouble was that the names were different, but there was a reason to believe they might be the same person. My task was to determine what was true.
“I asked my consultants to tell me. They said, ‘No, you must choose.’ And they were completely sure I would discover the truth. The computer, with all its power and information, had left me the blessing of staring at those names on a screen, evaluating the available information, seeking other research, praying silently, and discovering what was true. As I prayed, I knew with surety what to do—just as I have in other situations when I needed to rely on heaven’s help to solve a problem” (“Gathering the Family of God,” 22).
President Eyring concluded, “We do not know what marvels God will inspire people to create to help in His work of gathering His family. But whatever marvelous inventions may come, their use will require the Spirit working in people like you and me” (“Gathering the Family of God,” 22).
As you prepare to help other people gather their families, consider how you can use the Spirit in your preparation and how you can help them to recognize the Spirit in the time you spend together.
 “FamilySearch.org,” FamilySearch.org/wiki/en/FamilySearch.org.
 “FamilySearch Indexing,” FamilySearch.org/wiki/en/FamilySearch_Indexing.
 “FamilySearch,” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FamilySearch.