President, Sister Oaks speak to thousands on the blessings of family history

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Thousands exit after watching President and Sister Oaks speak on family history. (Jenna Alton)

SALT LAKE CITY — President Dallin H. Oaks and his wife, Sister Kristen M. Oaks, spoke of the blessings of connecting with ancestors in a live broadcast as part of the annual RootsTech family history conference.

Thousands gathered in Salt Lake City to see the address and an estimated 300,000 people from all over the world watched the broadcast online.

The Oaks said their purpose was to help members discover their family members, gather their stories and connect with them as an eternal family.

“They are real people to whom we owe our existence in this world and whom we will meet again in the hereafter,” President Oaks said.

President Oaks began his address speaking about the power of telling family stories.

“Family stories count,” President Oaks said. “Children should know that they belong to something bigger than themselves.”

The Oakses shared several short videos and stories of their experiences in involving their children and grandchildren in family history.

President Oaks said he has spent much of his life compiling histories of his ancestors.

“An ancestor’s words and actions can help guide our lives,” President Oaks said.

Much of the address focused on the potential of children and teens in family history work.

One video showed 12-year-old young men and young women who have been called as family history consultants in their wards.

In a pre-recorded video, Joy Jones, primary general president, said children have the power to instigate family history work in their families.

“This work will lead our children to our Savior,” Jones said. “It will lead them to the temple.”

Sister Oaks said children have an incredible ability to use technology.

“Our logging on to FamilySearch is far more rewarding than logging on to Facebook,” Sister Oaks said.

Kaitlyn Ward, one of the couple’s great-grandchildren, spoke alongside them. She became a RootsTech ambassador this year after having positive experiences with family history.

“Family history has given me a role model, and a guardian angel, and courage, and strength, and the strongest testimony I have ever had,” Ward said.

President Oaks said the rising generation is using technology that was previously unthinkable.

“We must teach that generation to use it for holy purposes like FamilySearch, not for the evil or even for the trivial,” President Oaks said.

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