“Turning Our Hearts,” Ensign, October 2020
Imagine that Jesus visited your ward and gave a talk. Wouldn’t that be an amazing experience? I imagine we’d write down everything He said and read and ponder those words over and over again.
This month’s Come, Follow Me chapters from the Book of Mormon contain some of what Jesus Christ said to the people in the Americas after His Resurrection. We are so blessed to have a record of what He taught there. His words to them apply to us today, just as if He were speaking to us.
One of the many important topics Jesus taught about was family history. These teachings were so important that He made sure the people wrote them down. (See 3 Nephi 24:1.) Then He shared with them words that should sound familiar from our Bible studies:
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord;
“And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (3 Nephi 25:5–6).
Next year we’ll learn about how this promise has been fulfilled—how the prophet Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple in 1836. But the work of “turning hearts” continues today through our family history work. What can we do as a family to turn our hearts to our ancestors? How can we help our children care about and learn from the examples of those who lived before us?
Here are some fun ideas that can help even the youngest members of your family learn about your heritage—all from the comfort of your home. Start by logging in to FamilySearch.org with your Church account. Then look for a menu running across the top of the screen that includes the word “Activities.” (If you are using the Family Tree app on your phone, you may need to tap a menu button—three horizontal bars—and then select “Family History Activities.”) Here are brief descriptions of what the site has to offer:
Where Am I From? Explore the cultures and traditions of places your ancestors lived. Includes fun facts, customs, and even recipes! Find out where your ancestors were during historic events and ponder how these events affected their lives.
All about Me. Do you know what your name means? Learn this as well as how many other people share your name. You can also explore interesting facts about what the world was like the year you were born—such as how much a tank of gasoline or a movie ticket cost. You might be surprised by what you learn.
Compare-a-Face. This is a chance to learn where you got your good looks! Upload a picture of yourself and see which ancestor you most resemble.
Record My Story. Use these questions to spark memories about family stories, and then type them up or find another way to record them. This would be a great activity to do with grandparents!
Picture My Heritage. Want to imagine yourself in another time and place? Use the camera on your computer or mobile device to insert your face into a historical photo.
In-Home Activities. Explore even more ideas to try together.
Let’s follow the example of our Savior and treat family history as a priority. As we encourage our children to learn more about their ancestors, we help strengthen family connections that cross generations. We can all learn from the precious people who came before us, once their stories come alive in our hearts.