Saturday, August 25, 2012

Heavens Protecting Hand

Image result for lds missionaries during WWII

Who was called on to serve full-time missions during World War II?

A)                 Nineteen-year old elders

B)                 Relief Society sisters with no obligations at home

C)                 Teachers and Priests

D)                 High Priests and Seventies

Yesterday’s answer:

(A)   $40,000 worth of pioneer genealogy

I remember the story that President George Albert Smith used to tell us. Now, as you remember Brother Smith, he was one of the friendliest men that I think we ever had in the Church. No one was a stranger to him. He’d get on a plane and within five minutes the man in the seat next to him was like an old friend. When he arrived in Chicago during the Chicago World’s Fair he learned that the president of the fair was a man by the name of Dawes. He had been to Harvard University with a man named Dawes. He wondered if this could be his old class mate. So, prompted by this spirit of friendliness, he called up the office and asked the secretary if he could have an appointment to see Mr. Dawes.

   There were three brothers-Charles Dawes who was the vice-president of the United States, you will recall; Henry Dawes; and Rufus Dawes. Now, he wasn’t sure of the first name of his friend, and this smart young secretary said,

“Well, there are 125 people lined up outside to see him, but I guess if you want to come and stand in line you can see him.” “Well,” said President Smith, “I didn’t want anything; I’m just an old schoolmate and just wanted to pass the time of day.” “Well,” she said, “wait a minute. I think he’d want to meet somebody who doesn’t want anything. All the rest of these people want something. You come around to the side door and I’ll let you in to see him.” So, President Smith caught a taxi and went out there.

   Just as he got to the side door, as indicated, this man was ushering out a couple who had been in conference with him. One look told him this wasn’t the man he knew. Now, here he was ushered into the busy man’s office without a thing to say to him. He rubbed his hands a little bit and finally said, “Mr. Dawes, where do your people come from?” President Smith said, “Wasn’t that an asinine thing to ask him.” Mr. Dawes looked at him for a minute and asked, “Are you interested in genealogy?”

   Well, here was President Smith’s cue. He told him about the genealogical library, our great interest in genealogical research. Mr. Dawes said, “Let me show you something.” He went into the back room and came out with a volume, a beautifully bound volume, and said, “This is the genealogy of my mother.  I loved my mother and I was curious about her ancestors. So I had researchers go over to the old country and search out her genealogy. It cost me somewhere between $30,000 to $40,000 to make this research. And now that I have it done and have satisfied my curiosity I have no further use for it. How would you like it if I gave it to you to take back and put in your wonderful library?”

   “My,” President Smith said, “I think that would be a treasure.”

   This was the genealogy of the Gates family-one of our pioneer families. And that genealogy linked with many of the pioneer families. Within 15 minutes President Smith walked out of this man’s office, within his arms $40,000 worth of research from a man he had never seen before. You tell me the Lord isn’t opening the doors to genealogy work? It means merely that when you do all that you can, then you can expect the Lord to open the doors beyond our own efforts.

Genealogical Devotion Addresses--1970, Fifth Annual Priesthood Genealogical Research Seminar, Brigham Young University, 1970, pg. 31-32.

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