Friday, December 9, 2011

A Book of Remembrance

I'm sharing a handout I found and followed faithfully.  I found it in March 2004 from a web address that's no longer available.  Please note, only copies of official records such as blessings and patriarchal blessing should be included in your Book of Remembrance.  The originals should be placed in a fire-safe place.

You are encouraged to work on your individual Book of Remembrance at least once a month such as on the Sabbath and during Family Home Evening.  A Book of Remembrance should not be a scrapbook.  Rather, it should be something that would be spiritually uplifting and faith promoting for future generations.  It should rate second only to the written scriptures.  It is your own "personal scriptures" of your life and the Lord's dealings with you.  The Lord distinguishes between the righteous and the wicked, in part at least, by their diligence in recording His dealings with them (Doctrine and Covenants 85: 9-10).  Your Book of Remembrance is a physical witness to the Lord that you are keeping His commandments.  It should be used along with the scriptures in teaching the gospel to the family.

What we record in our Book of Remembrance may be recorded in heaven.  Let us therefore, offer unto the Lord, when it is finished, a book containing the records of our families which shall be worthy of acceptance.  (Doctrine and Covenants 128)  In 1 Nephi, chapter 3, Lehi commands his sons to go back to Jerusalem and obtain their Book of Remembrance (the plates of brass in the house of Laban) and they did murmur, saying it is a hard thing which he required of them.  Lehi replied saying, I have not required it of them but it is a commandment of the Lord.

The following steps are nothing more than a suggested outline for those who are not sure where to start.  Write down the month you begin and each month you work on your Book of Remembrance.

  • Write your personal testimony.  (I LOVE this article from the Ensign!  It's an easy way to get started on a personal history and if that's all you do, it's better than nothing!  Carol Huber, "One-Hour Life History," Ensign, June 1994, 54)
  • List positions held in the church.
  • Start on your pedigree chart.
  • Write some spiritual experiences of a sacred nature from your own life.
  • Begin to compile addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of family members who may have information you will need regarding your family history.
  • Complete a Family Group Record (FGR) for your family.
  • Work on FGR's where husband and wife appear as children (2 sheets).
  • Make contacts or write letters that will give you missing information on your pedigree chart and/or FGR's.
  • Write down the spiritual goals you would like to achieve as a family.
  • Start FGR's for grandparents of both husband and wife,  (4 sheets--this makes a total of 7 sheets you've worked on and is known as your Third Generation set of FGR's).
  • Continue on previous sheets where information was missing.  Write letters NOW to get missing names and dates.
  • Start your personal history.  Start with the first 20 years of your life.  (Do not attempt to make it so lengthy that it becomes a chore.  Cover only the highlights of your life.  In some instances a paragraph may cover several years).
  • Continue on first seven FGRs.  Verify if temple work has been done for deceased persons.
  • Put Patriarchal Blessing in your book.  If you don't have one, make an appointment to talk to your bishop about getting one.  (For all you need to know about Patriarchal Blessings, read:  Robert K. Wagstaff, "When Should I Get My Patriarchal Blessing?," New Era, Aug. 2009, 10-12).
  • Continue on personal history.
  • If you attend a family reunion, plan ahead to take your sheets with a list of missing information you need to complete them.
  • Work more on your personal history--finish as soon as possible.
  • Start on FGR for grandparents of both husband's and wife's mother.  The husband and wife should now have a total of 15 sheets.  When completed, you will have completed your Fourth Generation family history.
  • Gather pictures for a Picture Pedigree Chart.
  • Include special certificates in your Book of Remembrance such as birth certificates, ordinances, etc.).
  • Gather any known spiritual experiences of your ancestors.
  • Write a few paragraphs about each of your children.  Mention some of their virtues and capabilities.  You may want to have a page for each child and add to it from time to time.
  • If not covered already, write down sacred experiences in the lives of your children.  It need not be meaningful or even impressive to everyone, just to your family.  Examples are:  prayers answered, miraculous recovery from illness, etc.
  • Continue on to complete FGR's and other items not done yet.
  • Brethern include your Priesthood line of authority.  You need only to give your line of authority for the highest office you hold within the Priesthood.  Sisters might want to include line of authority of person who baptized and confirmed her.
  • If not done already, organize your Book of Remembrance in a logical way.  For example:  Title Page, Introduction, Table of Contents, Personal Records, Life Story/ Biography, Genealogy (FGR's, pedigree charts, ancestor stories), Spiritual Record (blessings, answered prayers, testimony, spiritual experiences, church activities/callings), Family Life and Traditions, etc.
  • Check FGR's to see that temple work has been done for all deceased persons.
  • Look at your Book of Remembrance--how do you feel about it?  Do you have a personal feeling that it is your very own?  Has it begun to represent the spiritual tone of your individual family?
  • Should death take the father or mother, the pages of the Book of Remembrance should remain to reveal to the bereaved the spirit of that individual.
Congratulations!  Now keep your Book of Remembrance up-to-date as special events occur in the life of you and your family.  Make any necessary copies of things for your children.  Why not do some research on your fifth generations?  Or keep a blank book to record important experiences of all the family members in their own handwriting.

Here are some more scriptures regarding a Book of Remembrance:
Doctrine and Covenants 85: 9-10
Malachi 3:16-17
Rev. 20:12
Abraham 1:31
Rev. 1:11
Doctrine and Covenants 128

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