The opening session of the St. George began with Glen Rawson. He is the producer of the program "History of the Saints" that airs on KSL. He said that when he first started on this project he made the mistake of saying "that he couldn't make a show interesting from dusty old documents!" WRONG! One of the things that changed his mind was that he was visiting with Ron Esplin from the Church Archives (?). Brother Esplin handed him a book to look at. It was old and dusty! Brother Esplin asked Brother Rawson if he knew what the book was. Brother Rawson replied that he didn't. This dusty old book was Joseph Smith's first journal. What a treasure!
Brother Rawson said that "old records give you a sense of purpose, belonging, culture, and heritage." When he started the program about the Joseph Smith papers, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS/Mormons) gave him the charge to instill faith! These dusty old books belonged to real people who felt joy, pain, and suffering just like we do! We need to take the time to tell those stories. Brother Rawson says to "not miss the history by ignoring the original documents."
Brother Rawson went on to tell some individual stories of Mormon pioneers' lives that can be broadly applied to our day. He mentioned that researching individual records ties you to the people, you get the whole, complete story that is unfiltered, and you meet people on their terms.
Another quote from Brother Rawson..."The past is a foreign country...they do things differently there." He couldn't remember who this quote was from, but the meaning is clear. Our ancestors did things differently, just as just as we do things differently. Laws were different in their day. Laws are different in our day. Don't be so quick to judge and wonder why they did what they did. Our descendants will also do things differently from the way we do! Appreciate and learn life's lessons from your ancestors!
As a closing, Brother Rawson encourages us to tell the stories of the past, so that we may inspire and change our lives in the present.