Church explains ‘It’s all about families"
Anticipating today’s expected announcement for an Easter dedication of the new Reno temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, members of Carson City’s First Ward invited the community into their hall on McKay Drive to learn more about the church.
“All about Family” was the theme of Saturday’s event and First Ward Bishop Derek Rowley explained that the concept is so important to Mormons that the church leadership made a proclamation to the world to that effect in 1995.
One side of the church hall was filled with members’ family photographs stretching back for generations. Another was devoted to genealogical research and how the church and its members have harnessed the power of computers and the Internet to help people trace their family histories.
Elder Wright was showing off the plans for the nearly completed Reno temple. He has been in Reno on a mission from his Provo, Utah home to supervise the simultaneous construction of temples in Reno, Fresno, Calif., and Medford, Ore.
“When I grew up, there were only seven Mormon temples in the whole world,” Wright said. “We now have 75 in operation and, by the end of the year, we’ll have over 100.
“It will make it so much easier for members to get to the temples for ordinances,” he said.
Members have had to travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, Los Angeles, Oakland, Calif., or Portland, Ore., he said. The Newest temples are much smaller but provide all the same functions as the earlier temples, Wright said.
Rowley said the Reno temple would be open for public tours April 8-15. Such tours before formal dedications are the only opportunities for non-members to see the temples.
“The new temple heightens awareness of our church, so it was the catalyst to give the public the chance to learn about our genealogy resources or if they had other curiosity about the church,” Rowley said.
The LDS Church’s practices include the “sealing” of family members. This is a ceremony that confirms or secures the family for eternity. This includes past generations, so the church has been gathering genealogical information for years and making it available, not only to its members, but the general public.
Many stakes provide Family History Centers, such as the one in the LDS hall at 411 North Saliman Road, where computers are available to research records on CD-Rom. Rowley said the church is constantly making more of that information available on its Internet site (http://www.familysearch.org).
That site even has a free genealogy program that can be downloaded, Personal Ancestry File.
The First Ward is offering a free family history class at the McKay Drive hall, starting March 28 and running Tuesdays at 8 p.m., he said. For more information, call 883-5383.