Where do you come from? l Worship

By Gordon Nishimoto | Mar 27, 2019

Recently, I was visiting with one of my children. We were talking about their great-grandparents and some of the trials that they had faced. As we visited, I thought of the saying, "How do you know where you're going unless you know where you come from?”

Many cultures honor their ancestors. They take care of the elderly and record the stories of their progenitors. Beautiful traditions and customs are preserved through the memories, of those still living. Hearing the stories of our ancestors can provide inspiration, elevate hopes, and raise our aspirations. Isn’t it true that most people are hoping for a better life for their own children?

Perhaps, remembering our ancestor’s sacrifices can help us be more fulfilled and thankful people. Examples of hard work and determination can be forgotten if they are not written down or considered.

The Bible foretells of our day: “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.” (Malachi 4: 5,6)

To explain this scripture, President Russell M. Nelson, the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, tells a story:

“Family love is wonderful. Nothing is as specific as the love of a baby for its mother. Nothing is as predictable as the love of children for their parents or the love of parents for their children. Recently I was tenderly hugging one of our precious little five-year-old granddaughters and said to her, ‘I love you, sweetheart.’ She responded rather blandly: ‘I know.’ I asked, ‘How do you know that I love you?’ ‘Because! You’re my grandfather!’”

President Nelson then went on to explain that the Spirit of Elijah is “a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family.”

God, our Heavenly Father, wants His children to identify, document, and cherish their ancestors and family members - both past and present. (“A New Harvest Time,” Ensign, May 1998)

If you are interested, there are many resources to help you. A great way to start is to begin with a family tree. Write down your parents and grandparent’s names and see if you can find out where they are from. For example, if you know that your family is from England, you may be able to find the “Ellis Island Immigration Records” of which there are 5 million records: www.nps.gov/elis/learn/education/finding-arrival-records-online.htm.

There are 32 million grave records that you can view very easily on https://www.findagrave.com.  I recently looked for my mother’s family and found not only pictures, but also their obituaries and stories about their lives. I learned that three of my Japanese uncles fought for the United States in Italy during WWII. It was amazing and I felt so proud of them!

There are several other free services and you do not need to be a member of our church to use them. One of my favorite web sites is www.familysearch.org and the associated FamilySearch Tree App (Apple Store and Google Apps). I was able to find hundreds of my ancestors with pictures and stories extending about ten generations back!


Learning about your family can be a great blessing!  If you have any questions you can always talk to our local church representatives or drop by the Everett Family History Center to get some help! 9509 19th Ave SW, Everett, WA 98208 (425-337-0457).

Have fun and may Heavenly Father bless you in your efforts!

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