This past week Salt Lake City found itself nearly overrun with thousands of genealogists from all over the world for the highly anticipated event, Roots Tech. Roots Tech is a convention of sorts for all things relating to Family History. Companies such as Family Search, Ancestry, and 23 and Me arrive to showcase new software, products, and innovations in the world of genealogy. Additionally, many of the events are attended by General Authorities of the Church, and attendees are given a very personal way to hear the words of the Lord’s chosen leaders. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the event, and with it came a variety of powerful talks and events hosted by General Authorities that showcased the importance of family history to the Church. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from Roots Tech 2020.
Family History is Rallying the Youth
In a special presentation with President Joy D. Jones, attendees gathered to hear of stories all throughout the world about youth taking charge in family history efforts in their own families and wards. Sister Jones stated that “Children resonate to meaningful family stories and love discovery experiences,” and have found a pivotal space in the world of family history work. In the Roseville California Stake, Family History and Youth coordinator Deborah Justesen has created a program that involves youth teaching youth how to access their family history online. She stated that she has witnessed “youth placing other youth under their wings, and forming friendships that are filled with the Spirit.”
Family History Technology is Advancing Quickly, and Becoming Fun
At a separate event, a variety of incredible new advances were shown at Roots Tech, including facial recognition software, and a new and improved way to begin recording your own family history now. Family Search showcased an app that will soon be released that allows the user to create their own profile, add photos, and play games to “test their knowledge” about how well they know their family members. Questions in this fun game include their family member’s favorite food, band, movie, and a variety of other fun questions to help get to know their families better. This app will feature social media type elements so that connecting with family members can be even easier, and more fun.
Family History Has A Healing Effect
Many other events highlighted the ability family history has to heal families and broken spirits. One such event featured the story of a young family that had lost their father in a tragic accident, but had grown closer to him and the rest of their family by preparing their names for the Temple. In the event, the quote from Elder Quentin L. Cook was shared.
“Love is also at the center of our temple and family history effort to gather Israel on the other side of the veil. When we learn of the trials and hardships our ancestors faced, our love and appreciation for them is magnified.”
Family History is Bringing Families Together
Another key takeaway and theme of this years’ Roots Tech was the power family history has to bring families closer together, on both sides of the Veil. Many stories featured at Roots Tech highlighted blessings and inspiring influences that entered the lives of those performing this vital work. One such story was shared in the same event at which Sister Jones spoke, and a young woman was invited to bear her testimony on how family history had blessed her life. She explained how so often in her day to day life, she is met with adversity. The world around her is more than eager to tell her the things she is lacking, or what she needs to do better. But she expressed that by participating in family history work, she learned of the strength of her ancestors. She felt confident that if they could remain faithful and strong in the face of their adversities, she felt she could continue forward as well. She then shared this quote from Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf.
“Sometimes your stories make people laugh. Sometimes they bring them to tears. Sometimes they will help people to continue in patience, resilience, and courage to face another hour, another day and come a little closer to God. Share your experiences in person, on social media, in groups, everywhere.”
Family History Will Bring Us Closer to God
Lastly, leaders and speakers from all of the events at Roots Tech reiterated that Family History will ultimately bring us closer to our loving Father in Heaven. On the closing day of Roots Tech, speakers gathered to offer encouragement and bear testimony of the blessings of performing the work of family history. At the event, a graphic was shown the listed each Apostolic promised blessing from performing family work. The list went as follows:
- Power to bless the living.
- Joy and satisfaction.
- More closeness and joy in your family.
- Divine protection.
- The promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be implemented in your life.
- Your love and gratitude for your ancestors will increase.
- Your testimony of conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding.
- Personal power.
- Power to change.
- Power to repent.
- Power to learn.
- Power to be sanctified.
- Power to turn the hearts of your family together and heal that which needs healing.
- Knowledge and love of the Savior will increase.
- You’ll receive a deeper witness of life beyond the veil.
- You will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your life.
- A sure-fire way to eliminate the influences of the Adversary in your life.
- It will make you feel wonderful.
This and so many more blessings await those that perform the work for those that have passed on and will help us to see our wonderful lineage throughout history. What are some ways you seen family history in your life?
Devin is a graduate of Brigham Young University where he studied English and Business Management. He is a writer, photographer, movie-fanatic, and a lover of street tacos. He served his mission in Tokyo, Japan.