by R. Clayton Brough, 19
more than three decades I've been involved in genealogy and family history,
and for many years I've served as an officer of the
Brough Family Organization (BFO)--one of the largest and oldest
ancestral family organizations in the world. During this time, my wife
and sweetheart, Ethel, has constantly helped and sustained me in my
genealogical endeavors, and my four children have always encouraged
and supported me in my family history activities.
As a BFO officer, I've often been asked
by family members and friends why I spend so much of my free-time--as
an unpaid volunteer--doing genealogy research and family history work
for family members and potential relatives around the world. Here is
First, I am a practicing Christian and
a member of The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints (LDS). As such, I'm not really worried
about what others think of me, since I'm mainly concerned about what
the Lord Jesus Christ thinks of me. If my words and works are considerate
of others and inspired by the Holy Ghost and approved by the Lord, then
I'm headed in the right direction--both in this life and into the next.
As a Christian and a member of the LDS Church, I have a strong testimony
of the divinity of God our Eternal Father in Heaven, his Son the Lord
Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost, and I also believe in the eternal
nature of the family and the significance of genealogy and family history
work, and feel it is very important that LDS members facilitate and
perform sacred temple ordinances for those who never had the chance
in this life to enjoy the full blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Also, I strongly believe that people of all religious faiths and walks
of life can enjoy the friendship and love that comes through learning
about their ancestors and family heritage.
Second, I am a professional teacher and
atmospheric scientist, and I feel very strongly that many of today's
youth--with so many available distractions and irreverent voices clamoring
for their attention--have lost a sense of "connectedness"
towards their extended families, and that many young people--along with
too many adults--know little about their ancestors who sacrificed and
toiled to make their modern lives possible and enjoyable. Simply put,
I feel that as people gain a better understanding of the lives and trials
of their ancestors they more fully appreciate who they are and what
they have, become less critical and more forgiving of others, and strive
to conduct themselves in a more honorable manner--because they soon
realize that "no man is an island" and that "how I live
today may impact my posterity for generations to come".* In fact,
I often use the following quote (author unknown) when talking to people
about the relevance of knowing and understanding one's family history:
How Will You Be Remembered?
If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row,
There might be some of them
You wouldn't want to know.
But here's another question
Which requires another view,
When your posterity looks backwards
Will they be proud of you?
to say, it is my hope that everyone will learn of their family heritage,
and so live their lives that their families and posterity will be "proud"
In closing, I testify to you that I know
that God our Eternal Father lives, that Jesus is the Christ and our
Savior, that the Holy Ghost bears witness of the Father and of the Son,
and that all mankind will someday be resurrected and stand before God
to be judged "according to their works" (Revelations, 20:13).
I pray that when we--as family members and friends--pass from mortality
to immortality, that the Lord will also be able to say of us, "Well
done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a
few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into
the joy of thy lord." (Matthew 25:21).
February 17, 2013, the Parade magazine (www.parade.com) that
appeared as a suppliment in the Deseret News newspaper of Salt
Lake City, Utah, published an article entitled "One Big Happy Family",
which stated the following: "When a team of psychologists measured
children's resilience, they found that the kids who knew the most about
their family's history were best able to handle stress [over those who
played team sports or attended regular religious services]. The more
children know about their family's history, the stronger their sense
of control over their lives and the higher their self-esteem. The reason:
These children have a strong sense of 'intergenerational self'--they
understand that they belong to something bigger than themselves, and
that families naturally experience both highs and lows."
December 4, 2013, the Deseret
News newspaper published an article by Jenet Jacob Erickson
their family history helps children cope with life", which
stated the following: "Insightful research out of Emory University
explores why this pattern of remembering history together is so important
in family life. An analysis of typical dinner conversations among middle-class
families found predictably that families were likely to talk about their
day, such as what happened at school and work. But families also shared
stories from their past including stories about parents
childhood. Knowing these family history stories was associated with
better outcomes for children including lower anxiety and depression,
and less anger, aggression, and acting out. Additional
research revealed that the more children knew about their familys
history, the higher their self-concept and the stronger their sense
of ability to make decisions and achieve desired goals. And these effects
were found after taking into account the positive effects associated
with general patterns of healthy family communication and interaction.
from family history itself seemed to instill a strong sense of identity,
grounding children in the recognition that they belong to something
bigger than themselves something from which they draw meaning,
strength and wisdom. No wonder, then, great sacrifices have been made
throughout history to continue the rituals that enable individuals to
remember who they are and what they belong to...."
information about Clayton Brough and his views on Family History,
visit this website: http://mormon.org/me/2BRG/ClaytonBrough