Priesthood and Relief Society met together yesterday for a fairly exciting family history discussion/call to arms/how-to. We quoted Malachi, of course: Elijah the prophet . . . shall turn the heart of fathers to their children, and the heart of the children to their fathers . . . .
We affirmed that this means more than templework. We agreed that temple work is key but that the spirit of Elijah includes learning to love ancestors by learning about their lives. Someone mentioned the widening in genealogical interest post-1836 as evidence of the spirit of Elijah. A brother mentioned the spirit of Elijah as the initial cause of his own conversion; he wanted to find his relatives and have his own family and the Church made sense of that.
I got to thinking. People claim that the Victorians ‘invented’ the nuclear family. I’m a believer in human nature, the same today, yesterday, and forever, but there may be something to it. Apart from the blind drift of culture and events, a believer in dispensations like myself has to think that God’s intermediate purposes and modes change from time to time, and even that different angels with different experiences and personalities take over leadership. Perhaps the Victorians really did invest more sentiment and belief and structure in the family than heretofore. Could this also be the outpouring of Elijah, post-1836? Certainly the Victorian idea of the family and ours have much in common.