Yesterday I sat down with my large family pedigree chart and I studied it. I took out a pad of paper and made a list of the ancestors in each line who were the first to come to America. It was fascinating. Here is what I found:
Rudolf Laemmlen, b. 1899, Germany to California in 1929, Grandpa
Elsa Schaefer Laemmlen, b. 1895, Germany to California in 1929, Grandma
John M. Smuin, b. 1852 England to Idaho as a boy aft. 1861, Great Grandpa
Emanuel Richard Lundquist, b. 1867, Sweden to Utah 1881, Great Grandpa
Karin Ersson Lundquist, b. 1832, Sweden to Utah 1881, GG Grandma
John Smuin, b. 1820 England to Utah aft. 1861, GG Grandpa
Jane Pursey Honey Smuin, b. 1822 England to Utah after 1861, GG Grandma
Theodore Turley, b. 1801 England to Canada to Missouri 1838, GGG Grandpa
Frances A. Kimberley Turley, b. 1800 England to Canada to MO 1838, GGG Grandma
Frederick Barker, b. 1800 England to Utah 1830, GGG Grandpa
Ann Blygh Barker, b. 1802 England to Utah 1830, GGG Grandma
Esther Hanna Pearce Smuin, b. 1797 England to Utah aft. 1873, GGG Grandma
Elizabeth Degen, b. 1802 Switzerland to Pennsylvania 1816, GGG Grandma
John Casper Degen, b. 1770 Switzerland to Pennsylvania 1816, 4th GGrandpa
John Henry Bushman, b. 1734 Germany to Pennsylvania bef 1766, 5th GGrandpa
Johann Wendel Georg Traut, b. 1689 Germany to Pennsylvania bef. 1739, 6th GGrandpa
Robert Jarrett, b. abt 1630 England to Virginia bef. 1694, 8th GGrandpa
Mary m. Jarrett, b. abt 1630 Ireland to Virginia bef. 1694, 8th GGrandma
Randolph Holt, b. abt 1607 England to Virginia abt. 1630s, 10th GGrandpa
What fascinates me the most is not just that they came, but that the hand of God is apparent in the movings and crossings of my people. These beloved ancestors came to a land of religious freedom where they could find and recognize truth. That truth was restored to this earth in 1830 by a prophet of God. With His divine help, that prophet translated an ancient text called The Book of Mormon. The people in this record were led out of Jerusalem by a prophet of God. They crossed the great sea and came to the Americas around 600 B.C. Their story is fascinating. Their teachings contain the words of Jesus Christ to the early inhabitants of the American continent.
With the exception of my grandparents, every single person on this list who lived after that restoration, soon found that truth and listened to it and chose to live in accordance with its teachings. Those who lived before that restoration, had descendants who found and joined during the early 1830s. And my father recognized it when he heard it when I was just a young girl.
My dear German grandparents lived on the farm next-door to ours. I visited them almost every day of my growing up years. My grandpa read and re-read his German copy of The Book of Mormon. He told me, “Everybody in the world should read this book and live by its teachings. If they did, this world would be a much better place.” He was right. He also recognized the truth found in its pages.
Now, many generations later, I look at this list of my ancestors and marvel that they all had one thing in common: they lived according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it was restored in our day. Part of me is absolutely amazed by that, but a greater part of me says, “Of course they did. Who wouldn’t, if they knew?”
I was thinking of my ancestors also and of the many things they suffered and gave up so I could have the gospel of Jesus Christ. What a great blessing it is to me in my life.