The generations on either side of me link me to my past and my future. My view of family history involves revealing the roots and the branches.

Throughout this blog you will find perspectives related to the doctrines of temple and family history work from revealed revelation given to living prophets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS - Mormon).

Sunday, October 30, 2016

They Have A Right To Expect It

Houston Texas Temple - Photo from LDS Media Library
“Some person or persons dwelling in the flesh must attend to this part of the work for them; for it takes just as much to save a dead man who never received the Gospel as a living man. And all those who have passed away without the Gospel have the right to expect somebody in the flesh to perform this work for them.” 

– President Wilford Woodruff, Deseret News: Semi-Weekly, May 14, 1878, 1.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Cake Boss Buddy Valastro Will Keynote and Judge Cake Competition at RootsTech 2017


Salt Lake City, Utah, October 27, 2016 - RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the world, is pleased to welcome the popular Italian-American celebrity chef, Buddy Valastro, also known as the hit TLC series, Cake Boss™ as a keynote speaker on Saturday, February 11, 2017, in Salt Lake City. Valastro will also judge a local cake decorating contest hosted by RootsTech.

The amicable Valastro is a Hoboken, New Jersey, resident and owner of Carlo’s Bakery. He has endeared himself to millions of people as the animated, passionate chef on the TLC series, The Cake Boss. His staff’s creative expertise in designing over-the-top cakes for locals and celebrities is only half the allure. The show’s long-running success can also be attributed to the fun, dynamic interactions and involvement of 3–4 generations of Valastro’s Italian-American family who help run the thriving family business.

“Family is the most important part of my life,” says Valastro. “You have to embrace and be proud of where you come from. I can't wait to share my story of how my past, present, and future have shaped who I am with the audience.”

During his RootsTech 2017 keynote address, the Cake Boss will share the story of how his strong family ties, roots, and traditions have shaped his life and business success, which include 12 bakeries, additional TLC series (The Next Great Baker and Buddy’s Bakery Rescue), and several books, to name a few.

Running bakeries is almost genetic in Buddy’s family. His grandfather and great-grandfather were both bakers in Sicily, Italy. His father, Buddy Valastro Sr., ran his own bakery for many years in New Jersey. When Buddy Valastro Jr. was 11 years old, he began working side by side with his father at Carlo’s Bakery.

Buddy Sr. died when his son was 17, leaving a very large hole in the teenager’s life. However, his tutelage had provided Buddy with “cast-iron business sense” and imbued in him a work ethic and a wealth of knowledge. He stepped up and took over his father’s role as proprietor and baker in Carlo’s bakery.

Buddy learned much without his father’s presence in the business but struggled making sfogliatelle dough, which is used in making Italian shell-shaped filled pastries called lobster tails, one of the bakery’s specialties. Buddy recalls the night his father came to him in a dream and told him, “I am here for one reason, to show you how to make lobster tails.” The next day, for the first time, Buddy successfully created the seemingly impossible dough and the very popular lobster tails were back. From then on, he says, he knew he could do anything he put his mind to and found comfort knowing that his father was looking after him.

After a few years, Buddy Jr. decided to take cake decorating to a new level with designer cakes. He created, among other spectacular cakes, a NASCAR racecar cake weighing over 10,000 pounds. In 2004, he was invited to participate in the Food Network Challenge where he took top prize in the fourth battle. He was urged to try a show for himself so he pitched a show featuring himself with his family. TLC executives were impressed enough to shoot a pilot episode in the shop which was a hit with audiences, and Cake Boss was born. The show is now in its eighth season.

Buddy’s extended family is indispensable both to the show and in running what has now become a chain of bakeries in New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, and some Norwegian Cruise Line ships. The business has diversified and expanded, but the legacy that began three generations ago in Sicily lives on. Buddy willingly holds to the traditions of his father’s bakery.

“Life lessons my parents have taught me define who I am today. I never forget where I've come from and try to pass that down to my children today,” says Valastro.

In addition to keynoting at RootsTech 2017, Valastro will help judge the first-ever RootsTech cake decorating competition.

There will be four different categories to compete in—wedding, birthday, holiday, and graduation—and there will be three finalists and one grand prize winner selected in each category. Cakes will be on display Saturday during RootsTech and Family Discovery Day where thousands of people will view and have a chance to vote for “People’s Choice” winners in each category. Official rules and entry information for the contest will be available soon at RootsTech.org.

See also Five Ingredients That Make Up the Cake Boss

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I am 2017 RootsTech Ambassador and will be sharing these press releases on my blog in preparation for RootsTech in February 2017. I have received a free conference registration from RootsTech.
#RootsTech

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To learn more about Buddy Valastro and The Cake Boss, check out the following:
Facebook - Buddy Valastro
Facebook: Cake Boss
Twitter: Cake Boss - Buddy Valastro
Twitter: Cake Boss Baking
Website: Carlos Bakery
Website: The Cake Boss TV Show
Website: Cake Boss Baking

Monday, October 24, 2016

Family Discovery Day to Feature Vai Sikahema, BYU's Kalani Sitake and Hank Smith

Vai Sikhema, Kalani Sitake, Hank Smith
Salt Lake City, Utah, 24 October 2016 - RootsTech 2017 announces that BYU football head coach Kalani Sitake, popular LDS youth speaker Hank Smith, and former NFL football player, now Philadelphia TV news anchor, Vai Sikahema, will join the lineup of speakers for its popular Family Discovery Day. This exciting, free, one-day celebration of families is designed for families and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Family Discovery Day will take place on Saturday, February 11, 2017, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is part of the annual RootsTech conference. Individuals and families can register online at RootsTech.org.

There’s something for everyone at Family Discovery Day. Attendees are invited to come and hear inspiring speakers, entertaining performers, engage in interactive activities for all ages, and discover the latest technology, products, and services in the family history industry in an expansive expo hall. It’s the perfect place to discover fun new ideas, hear helpful solutions, watch new concept demonstrations, get personal research help, experience innovative family history technology, and mingle with hundreds of exhibitors from around the globe.

Young single adults and other interested youth are invited to attend a special session with Kalani Sitake, BYU’s head football coach. Sitake played collegiately at BYU as a fullback, and he served as an assistant coach for the Oregon State Beavers and Utah Utes before taking the head coaching position at BYU in December 2015.

Hank Smith is a BYU professor of religion and popular public youth speaker. Hank’s life has been touched by family history work, and he plans on sharing some of that experience at Family Discovery Day. Joining the speaker lineup is Vai Sikahema, a former NFL football player and current television personality. He is well-known for his diverse skills as both an anchor and sports reporter and can be seen co-anchoring NBC10 News Today weekday mornings in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Family Discovery Day will engage and inspire families, youth, and single adults to discover connections and share family stories together. Family Discovery Day is also a popular venue for Latter-day Saints to hear gospel messages from Church leaders. These speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Families with children and youth are invited to discover the fun of family history together by playing games such as Family Feud and Twisted Family History. Young single adults are invited to bring friends and participate in fun sessions and activities like #Myfabfamily Photography Contest, Family History in Emoji, Record Your Story, and Replace a Face.

Family Discovery Day also offers relevant sessions with the latest information for those with Church callings and responsibilities related to family history and the temple. Individuals will be able to get answers to questions, discover new tools, and learn best practices.

Family Discovery Day is free, but registration is required. Visit RootsTech.org to learn more and to register.

RootsTech is a genealogy conference of epic proportions. As the largest family history conference in the world, it provides extensive networking opportunities to a broad and diverse group of attendees. The conference showcases a vast array of modern resources and technology that aims to inspire and enable individuals to discover, preserve, and share their family stories.

See also Five Interesting Facts about Kalani Sitake

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I am 2017 RootsTech Ambassador and will be sharing these press releases on my blog in preparation for RootsTech in February 2017. I have received a free conference registration from RootsTech.
#RootsTech

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To learn more about Vai Sikahema, check out the following:
Facebook - Vai Sikahema
Twitter - Vai Sikahema
Website - Vai Sikahema

To learn more about Kalani Sitake, check out the following:
Facebook - Kalani Sitake
Twitter - Kalani Sitake
Website - Kalani Sitake

To learn more about Hank Smith, check out the following:
Facebook - Hank Smith
Twitter - Hank Smith
Website - Hank Smith

Sunday, October 23, 2016

They Are Waiting On You


“There are thousands of them, hundreds of thousands and millions of them in the spirit world who long to receive this gospel and have been waiting hundreds of years for their deliverance. They are waiting on you. They are praying that the Lord will awaken your hearts in their interest. They know where their records are, and I testify to you that the spirit and influence of your dead will guide those who are interested in finding those records. If there is anywhere on the earth anything concerning them, you will find it. That is my promise to you. But you must begin to work. You must begin to inquire after your dead. And the spirit of your heart turning towards them will come upon you, and the way will be opened in a marvelous manner, and if there is a scrap of evidence concerning them upon the earth, you will find it. When we have done all that we can do ourselves, the Lord will come to our rescue. … If we have done our best and have searched and have discovered all that is available, then the day will come when God will open and part the veil, and the records … will be revealed.” 

- Elder Melvin J. Ballard, in Bryant S. Hinckley, 
Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin Joseph Ballard [1949], 230.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Reading Rainbow’s LeVar Burton Will Keynote RootsTech 2017


FamilySearch International is pleased to announce that LeVar Burton will be the Friday keynote speaker at RootsTech 2017 on February 10, 2017. Burton is known by millions for his legendary starring role as Kunta Kinte in 1977 in the globally acclaimed and award-winning ABC mini series, Roots, as chief engineer Geordi La Forge in the iconic Star Trek: The Next Generation television series, and as host and executive producer of the beloved PBS children’s series, Reading Rainbow. Burton was also the co-executive producer of the re-envisioned production of Roots that aired in June of this year on the A&E Networks.

Reading Rainbow was one of the longest running children’s television shows in TV history (1983-2009) and one of the most acclaimed, earning more than 200 awards including 26 Emmys and a Peabody. "There's a whole new generation of kids that need to develop a relationship with the written word, especially, I believe, in this ultra-technological age. I'm in this for the mission. This is what I do," said Burton.

He is excited about the opportunity to keynote at RootsTech where he plans to share personal stories about Roots, Star Trek, his Reading Rainbow foundation, and also stories of his mom and her commanding influence on him.

"The story of Roots traces a family's journey from Africa to America and back. At RootsTech, I'll share some of my own journey of family, storytelling and the influence of African culture on my American Experience."

Burton’s acting career began as a college student at the University of Southern California with his first-ever audition—winning the role of Kunta Kinte in ABC’s wildly popular 1977 TV mini-series, Roots. Thus, at age 19, he found his picture on the cover of Time magazine. Soaring to stardom was only the beginning for Burton. He followed it with many roles—most notably in Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

An advocate for children’s literacy, Burton’s Reading Rainbow provides an outlet for innovative uses of storytelling. Reading Rainbow uses technology and media to inspire today’s children to love reading, and is currently the number one educational app on iTunes. The digital service includes more than 500 children’s fiction and non-fiction books, and 200 newly-produced video field trips with new content added weekly.

See also 5 Interesting Facts About LeVar Burton

RootsTech is held at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City and will be simulcasted around the world with many sessions recorded for later viewing. RootsTech offers a line-up of world-class speakers, thrilling entertainment and engaging classes and activities with a bigger-than-ever expo hall. There will be something for everyone regardless of age or experience. Registration for RootsTech is currently open at reduced rates at RootsTech.org. Rootstech 2017 is sponsored by FamilySearch, Ancestry.com, FindMyPast.com and MyHeritage.com.

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I am 2017 RootsTech Ambassador and will be sharing these press releases on my blog in preparation for RootsTech in February 2017. I have received a free conference registration from RootsTech.
#RootsTech

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To learn more about LeVar, check out the following:
Facebook - LeVar Burton
Twitter - LeVar Burton
Website - LeVar Burton

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Family History Library Begins Construction of New Discovery Center


Salt Lake City, Utah, October 10, 2016 - The popular Family History Library in downtown Salt Lake City has begun construction on its new Family History Discovery Center. When complete, the main floor attraction will create family history experiences for patrons of all ages. The project is on a fast track to be completed in February 2017. Admission will be free to the public.

"We have been excited for quite some time to start construction on the new discovery center," said Tamra Stansfield, manager of the Family History Library. "Our guests, particularly those who are completely new to family history, will be able to enjoy fun, personal discoveries through interactive technological experiences with their family's history."

Stansfield said the new center will make the library another unique and exciting destination for locals, families, and youth groups, as well as for tourists of all ages visiting Utah or Temple Square from around the world.

The Family History Library is the flagship facility in a network of over 4,900 family history centers worldwide managed by FamilySearch International, a nonprofit subsidiary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The fun, engaging activities designed for the discovery center are part of an organizational effort to introduce more people to the many fun facets of personal and family discovery.

FamilySearch is learning that if individuals and families have fun, personalized, quick successes and experiences with their family’s history, they will continue to be more involved at different levels throughout their lives. It also deepens appreciation for family connections across multiple generations.

The new discovery center will create a fun environment for families to discuss their family history together in inviting, unexpected ways. Youth particularly will enjoy the life-size touch-screen computer monitors for some of the interactive stations. In addition, there will be an enclosed space for parents with smaller children that will allow them to explore their family history while also being able to observe their children play.

A fun green-screen feature will let guests choose from a variety of themed backgrounds to create a lasting photo memory of their visit to the discovery center.

The new transformations are designed to offer unique interactive and immersive discovery experiences for visitors of all ages while still offering the vast collections and expertise the library is known for among family history enthusiasts and researchers.

When the new discovery center opens, "We expect to find the next generation of dedicated family historians at play in our library," said Stansfield.

Many of the interactive features in the new discovery center will use a patron's family history in the FamilySearch.org Family Tree to create custom learning experiences at a variety of stations. Stansfield suggests individuals and families take the time now during construction to create a free account at FamilySearch.org from home and begin building their family tree, adding favorite family stories and photos together. A developed family tree will enhance their experience when the discovery center opens in 2017.

The Family History Library's staff and other typical services and historic record collections will continue to be accessible during the construction of the discovery center.

The prototype discovery center currently located in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City will be closed to the public once the new center is opened in 2017 but will continue to operate as a FamilySearch development lab, where future experiences can be created and tested. A smaller discovery center was opened earlier this year in Seattle, Washington.

If you would like to follow the new center's construction progress, a time-lapse camera link is available online here.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

We Would Lose All Interest In the Riches Of the World

Hong Kong China Temple - Photo From LDS Media Library
“I wish many times that the veil were lifted off the face of the Latter-day Saints. I wish we could see and know the things of God as they do who are laboring for the salvation of the human family who are in the spirit world; for if this were so, this whole people, with very few, if any, exceptions, would lose all interest in the riches of the world, and instead thereof their whole desires and labors would be directed to redeem their dead, to perform faithfully the work and mission given us on earth; so that when we ourselves should pass behind the veil and meet with Joseph and the ancient apostles, and others who are watching over us and who are deeply interested in our labors, we might feel satisfied in having done our duty.”

- President Wilford Woodruff (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, ed. G. Homer Durham [1946], 152)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

They Are Fully Dependent Upon Us

Rexburg Idaho Temple - Photo From LDS Media Library
"Shortly before his death, President Joseph F. Smith received the vision of the redemption of the dead. He taught that those who are in the spirit world are fully dependent upon the ordinances that we receive on their behalf. The scripture reads, 
“The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God.” (D&C 138:58) 
"We receive the ordinances in their behalf, but they make and are held accountable for each covenant associated with each ordinance. Surely, the veil is thin for us and parts completely for them in the temple.” 


– Elder Kent F. Richards, “The Power of Godliness,” LDS General Conference, April 2016.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Unlock The Knowledge Of Who You Really Are


“… I encourage you … to begin to unlock the knowledge of who you really are by learning more about your forebears. Alex Haley, the author of the book Roots, said: 
‘In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage—to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness.’ (“What Roots Means to Me,” Reader’s Digest, May 1977, 73–74.)
"We can have exciting experiences as we learn about our vibrant, dynamic ancestors. They were very real, living people with problems, hopes, and dreams like we have today.” 

- President James E. Faust, “The Phenomenon That Is You,” LDS General Conference, October 2003.