The Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, better known as the Mormons, has given genealogical information to the public for years and years. The library in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been visited by genealogists from all over the world, although not everybody has the time and money to go there.
A genealogist from Sydney, Australia, traveled nearly 13,000 kilometers only to find that the information he was looking for, was not in the library. That’s one way of learning that getting to a paradise of information is not necessarily turning out results.
Learning of these kinds of dilemmas, the Mormons set up 3,400 Family History Centers in 64 countries, all connected to the larger library in Salt Lake City. You’ll find the centers in most major cities and in a number of small communities all over the world. Every month the centers exchange thousands of microfilmed records, books and other information, so each center is pretty up to date and genealogists have a lot less expenses.
Together the centers keep enormous amounts of data with high value for those who are doing research. These collections are free to consult and trained volunteers of the community and the church are eager to help finding answers. Since the centers are mostly paid for by the Mormons, you will find them in church buildings. They are also known as ‘satellite libraries’.
Very often the Family History Centers can’t release records that are requested, because they may be valuable to other researchers and the library itself. But you can borrow records for a tiny fee, from $3 to $5 per microfilm. It may last two till five weeks before you can lay your hands on them, because the materials circulate in the worldwide network of centers and your request might have to be send from the other end of the world. After arrival the center keeps it for three weeks for you to consult, and then the info goes back into circulation.
Here are a few tips on how specific record requests are handled:
• You can ask to renew the loan if you need more time to research.
• You can have specific records permanently located at a Family History Center nearest to you if you renew the microfilm rolls twice or pay within three rental periods.
• If you want to arrange for a permanent loan, you should inform your center and pay the three rental periods up front for the Mormon genealogy research information.
• Books can’t be borrowed from the centers, but you can ask one of the volunteers to microfilm them for you
Don’t be afraid the Mormons will try to convert you while you’re in their Family History Center. The library and centers and all the services are there for the general public because the Mormons believe that your family history and your ancestors are essential to families of the present. Their goal is honest and everybody’s privacy and beliefs are respected by them. The Mormons want to encourage and support genealogy since they think that it is important to one’s identity and the unity of the family. They just put their money where their mouth is!
The History of Mormons
Religion has always played an important role in man’s life. It is your moral guide and gives you a feeling of purpose. A very famous religion which also belongs to the Christian religions is the movement of the Latter Day Saints, better known as Mormons. Common people however are not very thrilled by the genealogy of the Mormon’s Church. Mormons are also thought to be disciples of the Latter Day Saints’ Church of Jesus Christ.
The word ‘Mormon’ comes from the religious Book of Mormon, that has been translated by a man called Joseph Smith Jr. In it you find information on the early Americans’ history that has been written by the prophet Mormon.
The Mormons don’t belong to the sect mentioned above, nor are they protestant. They say they don’t belong to Christianity, nor do they believe in Jesus Christ and what he stands for.
Thus the history of the Mormons is not that pleasant. They had many struggles and have undergone prosecutions by various sects and religions belonging to Christianity. The Mormon book tells about the prophet Mormon who in the fourth century heard a message from God to gather all the information about his people and write it down in one single book.
After Mormon died his son Moroni was an eyewitness of the persecution and complete destruction of the people he belonged to. He hid the Mormon Book in upstate New York on a hill called Comorah. It is said that Moroni was God’s messenger to a man named Joseph Smith Jr. to send him to get the book back and translate it into English.
Although Smith did not understand the script of the book, he made an accurate and complete translation of it. That’s how Smith made it to a prophet sent by God.
This was not the end of the Mormons’ struggle. In 1844 Smith was killed in a mob in Illinois jail. Soon after that many members of the Latter Day Saints followed Brigham Young who was chosen as the president of his people. Young went to Utah and more precise to Salt Lake City. This city now has the largest Mormon population worldwide.
The word Mormon is now used to refer to the followers of Brigham Young. But small groups have adopted the Saints of the Latter Day too and are trying to get the term Mormon to describe their group, rejected, claiming it does not refer to the central role of their Church.
The Mormons have a complete different point of view when it comes to theology, culture and practices amongst religious sects like the Mennonites, Jehovah’s witnesses, the Amish and the Society of Religious Friends.
You can read more about the Latter Day Saint movement in Ireland here.
This is the Church of Mormon’s genealogy. Evidently, Mormons are very different when you compare them to other sects or the Christian religion.