Wow--it's been a while since I've posted. I wanted to blog about the Church History Symposium that I went to for Doctrine and Covenants, even though it's been a little while since it happened. The symposium was on Feb. 27, and although it was all very interesting and informative, my favorite talk was the final one, given by Elder Marlin K. Jensen, of the Seventy. (Most of the other talks I attended were about the various forms of record-keeping throughout Church history and about trends and patterns in different periods of the Church's history.) Elder Jensen is the current Church Historian for my church, and he oversees all the records for the ordinances and major events that happen within it, and he makes sure that accurate and up-to-date histories on the Church throughout the world are kept.

Elder Jensen's talk was so good. He basically addressed the topic, "Why the Study and Enjoyment of Church History is an Important Part of a Full Life in the Gospel." It was really interesting for me to hear, because I guess I had never really thought of a knowledge of Church history as absolutely essential for one's participation and experiences in the gospel. I'd not really given the matter much thought, and I think if I had, I would have said something along the lines of "it's a nice-to-know" thing, but not as important and understanding something like the scriptures or something.

One of the reasons that he gave for Church history being so essential to our lives in the gospel was because over and over again in the scriptures, the prophets have asked us to keep a record of our doings, and to "[retain] in remembrance the captivity of our fathers" (Alma 5:6). It's not like I didn't know this either, because I've been hearing about the importance of keeping a journal since I was old enough to scratch out letters in my very first Precious Moments journal at age four. However, Elder Jensen points out that remembering the past cannot be passively done. He said, "Continuing our love affair with the past enables us to more fully appreciate the present and to take better advantage of the future." As I thought about this quote and the talk as a whole, I realized how essential remembrance is to our individual relationships with Heavenly Father. Remembering is not a passive act--it does not mean that I can just think of these important things, (whether history, my covenants with God, or the words of the prophets) every now and again and have it bring powerful meaning to my soul. Remembering requires effort. After all, each week when we take the sacrament, we promise Heavenly Father "to always remember Him," which is much more than just a fleeting thought now and again (D&C 20:77). Studying Church history, and any history, really, should draw us closer to Christ. The purpose of learning this history is to help us learn from the events of the past so that we can understand how to become closer to Jesus Christ ourselves.

In that light, I guess I feel like I understand so much more why it's so important to study history and record it while it's happening. It reminds me of the talk by President Henry B. Eyring a few General Conferences ago, when he discussed how in the act of recording the events of our own daily histories that we can see the hand of the Lord in our personal lives. The talk is called, "O Remember, Remember," interestingly enough. :) The same is true of Church and general history. As we prayerfully and diligently seek to study and learn the things of the past, we will become more able to identify the hand of the Lord in the lives of His children, thus improving our personal relationships with Him and helping to give direction and purpose to our actions in the future.

Cool. :)
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