I can’t get no, genealogical excitement
And I try
And I try
And I try, try-try-try-try, tryyy
I can’t get no! (Guitar riff)
Feel free to sing along. I had the Stones version in my head but you can substitute a cover like the one Devo did in your head if you’d like.
My last post about how our ancestors might be sending us messages through the Holy Ghost reminded me of a problem I have: I don’t feel any connection to my distant ancestors at all. I have nearly no desire to search them out or learn about them. I have only a passing interest in their stories and histories. In the church we call the invisible pull many people feel to learn about their roots “The Spirit of Elijah”. Well I ain’t got none. And to be honest it makes me a little nervous.
When I was a teenager I figured the Spirit of Elijah would hit me when I was an adult. But my twenties came and went and nothing. I have 4 children now – still nothing. Am I the only faithful Latter Day Saint that feels this way?
I have my reasons of course. First is my firm belief in free agency. I don’t really much care what my genes say because I believe I can choose what I’ll think and do regardless of genetic tendencies. I don’t need to know about my ancestors to know who I am. I am me and they just happen to be my physical ancestors. This leads to the Second point which is about pre-existence. It is perhaps ironic that my firm belief in the eternal nature of souls has deadened my interest in seeking out my earthly ancestors. As I said, I have this assumption (right or wrong) that they just happen to genetically precede me here – but I was me before this earth so… who cares? Third, my parents are converts to the church. They are proof that tracting works. After their baptisms they had me and I have been a devout believer my whole life. Because of that I sort of feel like many early saints are my spiritual forebears and find myself more interested in some of their lives than my own non-member ancestors. Of course this is cheating in some ways because I can focus my energy on the lives of great men and women and perhaps ignore losers in my line (I don’t know if they are there, but they could be.) Last, my dad has done a bang-up job of searchng out both lines for us already anyway.
I love serving as proxy in the temple, and I’d be even happier if the person I stood in place for happened to be in my family line. But honestly, I am mostly interested in the “Lord’s University” part of the temple rather than the proxy aspect. The proxy thing feels like a pleasant side benefit to me.
So there you have my confession. I am a genealogy chump. I don’t carry my own weight when it comes to seeking out our dead. Someone please help me out! Why don’t I care? What can I do to get some of that Spirit of Elijah in my own life? Or should I just stop worrying about it and leave it to those who have this spiritual gift already?