Friday, November 1, 2019

Missionary Update, All Saints Day, The Grail Quest Fulfilled



Yes, I couldn't be happier with my senior service missionary experience. The Church History Library is amazing! I was trained on document delivery which I won't go into as we're all behind security barriers. I can assure you that everything is very well protected to the max. I agree there should be more and easier access to all, but I'm not in charge and I will attempt my long-suffering persuasion to the extent that I can.

It is the greatest joy that two themes in my life have merged and I find myself viewing the Grail after traversing the wasteland of my legal career. I'm finishing up Joseph Campbell's Romance of the Grail and all things become interrelated in his mythic synergy. Outside of his book, I still make connections as I near the Nirvana of the Ten Steps of the Bull. Here, I am at step 7. The Bull Transcended (Bull Forgotten, Self Alone).

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Check out the Early Missionary Database!

This is a great resource I have previously consulted and offered up a couple of corrections or sources. At present, I may or may not be more involved (I'm still not sure what I am allowed to talk about in sharing my wonderful mission experiences on social media as Elder Uchtdorf has encouraged). See link HERE!
This is just a screen-shot of the publicly available site. Check out the link above! (or here)
So, let me say this. The project is now up to 1939, those missionaries having been born from 1914-1919 are up to their hundred-year mark so privacy concerns have diminished and the pictures we use to link up to the other missionaries in photos are already at least in the Church public domain as we get them from FamilySearch Memories pages.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Sort of a Mission Report

Finally made it into the Joseph Smith Papers!

No, that's not my assignment. And training on Monday put the fear of Something into me so I don't know what I can talk about. My assignment is not official and hasn't started yet but I think I will be able to use my Welsh. Yes, the Lord and a few other folk seem to know what they are doing. I've been sort of hyperventilating the past couple of days. I've got to calm down and get to work hopefully to meet my supervisor and work tomorrow. It seems it will not be appropriate to blog about much of it unless I can refer you to public sources of which I'm hopeful we will be producing more.

So, the Joseph Smith Papers. My direct ancestor finally made it! My wife's people and, therefore, my children's have been in since nearly the beginning with piles of stuff. Mine had to wait until Volume 9 of Documents and it's not all good news:

See image at JSPP here.
Yeah, good ol' Daniel!

The good news part is that he did appeal to the Nauvoo High Council and with enough affidavits of his friends to clarify the animosity against him, he cleared his name and was restored in the Church.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Mission Training Days 4 & 5: Go Forth!

Our Group of Senior Service Missionaries with the Mission Presidency front, seated.
Yesterday went well. I was just to tired to blog after a day of training then an evening at the local Family History Library.

It's funny (or not) how they tell you only parts of what is happening when you come to it. They did say there would be a week of training to start. And now we hear that we will need a week of training in our assigned areas. Basic retirement was a lot easier. But this is good. And I'm still done by 4:00 so I can come home and take a nap.

The trainers did really well on "Merging," of all things. No crying or general break-downs. It went a bit slow and steady so I found one of my own to merge thanking the Heavens for good Dutch records. Someone had put in an individual as a female reading "Cornilus" as "Cornilia." I could easily check Dutch sources wonderfully laid out on-line recently by the Dutch government to confirm it was a male. We learned some good search techniques too (surprising me a bit with FamilySearch as I usually search with Ancestry).

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Mission Journal, Training Day 3

This ain't Paradise yet, Baby!

OK. I had church sexual-harassment training, so I'm not supposed to use the word, "Baby."

It had to be done twice, or maybe not. Remember that bureaucracy thing? I was doing just fine with the training on FamilySearch "Sources" and "Memories" picking up a few good tips as I tried showing off my prowess next to the guy who apparently wasn't just in advertising but was a software engineer and a certified genealogist. Sigh. Then the full-time "tech" Elders taught us how to get on to our new church email accounts for the Mission. Only it wouldn't work for the four of us sitting in a row right in front. We went from my buddy on the right to the nice Sister with a Welsh surname on the left and next to her another Sister with a Welsh surname whom I'm afraid to ask how she got it as she otherwise appears to be African-American. And we're all in this tech mess together.

The young Tech Elders took phone photos of our error messages and presumably sent them off to Church IT. When I got home, I had two emails from Church IT. One told me that I had to take annual sexual-harassment training. The other was to get my email fixed. As a former fed attorney that practiced personnel law, I couldn't resist the training. The online course was a little better than the fed courses. And the rules are pretty much the same. The main differences are that the Church can require a temple recommend as a condition of employment and church employees can date but have to report it to HR first. I don't think I'll try it because whatever HR were to say, my wife would likely object. Oh, and the temple recommend thing.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Mission Journal, Training Day 2

No notes today because it was all FamilySearch intensive with hands-on work. They have a very good teaching system of group lecture with an active screen showing what the instructor is doing while a couple of roving trainers watch and swoop in to assist those having trouble. Then at the end of a segment, a trainer comes for each of us for a one-on-one check through the concepts just learned. They are mostly friendly, too. Some are a bit harsh as former Jr. High School teachers or something. (Oops!)

In truth it seems so odd to serve a mission from 7:30 to 4:00 and be on pretty much the same commute I was on for work just a few weeks ago. I park on Main Street above the Conference Center where there is some free, all-day parking and I walk down the hill. So I don't cross that dreaded South Temple line into the "Great and Abominable" City. I had joked with one friend that I was joining the GAA CHL, but I think I was too harsh unless they're just being nice at training to suck me in. This just isn't a bad place to serve a mission!

The walk in from parking is pretty nice!

We are only on the Third Floor and looking out the window, I see this:

Monday, September 30, 2019

Mission Journal,1st Day Training

Discrete selfie before devotional.
It still seems so odd to be on a mission without a companion. There was a brief moment where I felt close to my first companion whose funeral I attended last Saturday. I also felt like Grandma Elinor was at my right shoulder. Someone told a story that I can't verify in anyway that a figure from church history was standing over her left shoulder offering spiritual guidance. As I said, Grandma Elinor is on my right.

The setting is much nicer than walking into old Knight Magnum Hall on the edge of  the BYU Campus. The Joseph Smith Building is the Hotel Utah and was quite something in the old days. We opened with the Monday Mission devotional in an old ballroom on the mezzanine level that is now a chapel. The "Elijah" Choir was very good. I could join if I want to hang around Wednesday evenings for practice - and show up for every Monday devotional, I guess.

The message was a presentation on the special projects of the Church History Library that has missionaries assigned. Interestingly, I know three people currently working on three different projects. A woman married to a guy who still works in my old office is on the Emmeline B. Wells project. A guy in my ward is on the Missionary Database, and his wife is on some secret project. I hope I don't get a secret project or these postings will be very short-lived.

Before the devotional, we were handed our missionary name plates and our ID cards. After, we went to the main lobby for pictures with the mission president and then over to the COB ("Church Office Building") for Security to take our pictures and connect them to our cards. Then it was up to the Mission Offices on the 3rd Floor to the training room, a few rows of computers with our name tags on them. I am right up front and center. There's a nice guy on my right, a former advertising man--and a nice sister on my left who apparently has never married because I asked about her Welsh surname. I said I could help her track them down in Wales.

Here are the notes from Sister Sara M. Fenn and then President Jerry D. Fenn of the Mission: