Gathered From the Four Corners of the World

I love learning about my family members who have gone before. On this site, I'm attempting to log things that I find (and things I haven't in case you run across them!). It's a great adventure.

Right now I'm focusing on lines of my family in southeast Minnesota and southwest Wisconsin- Snyder, Forbes, Thomas, Atkinson, Parkins.

Stories of Testimony

Our Convert Forefathers

All family notes and stories are precious to me, but in particular I'm gathering the stories of how the various lines in our family tree joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For many, this was how they ended up emigrating to America.

Back in April 2014, I was struck by the words of Elder William W. Walker:

The more connected we feel to our righteous forefathers, the more likely we are to make wise and righteous choices. And so it is. Each of us will be greatly blessed if we know the stories of faith and sacrifice that led our forefathers to join the Lords's Church.

When I heard those words, I wanted those stories. I wanted them for me and I wanted them for my children. Some I've found, but I don't have them all yet. It's my intention to print them in book format when complete.

All information here is as accurate as possible. Please share updates and information with Dave Lyon to keep the information up-to-date.

There are generations before us and after us depending on us to follow Christ so that we can be an eternal family of God.

Elder Yoon Hwan Choi, April 2017

Through our efforts in their behalf their chains of bondage will fall from them, and the darkness surrounding them will clear away, that light may shine upon them and they shall hear in the spirit world of the work that has been done for them by their children here, and will rejoice with you in your performance of these duties.

Joseph F. Smith

"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."

Elder Melvin J. Ballard (1873−1939)
Bryant S. Hinckley, Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin Joseph Ballard [1949], p. 230

"...or I once dreamed of this, your future breath
in prayer for me, lost long, forever found;
or sensed you from the backstage of my death,
as kings glimpse shadows on a battleground."

Richard by Carol Ann Duffy

"Is it good to seek the past? Does it not rob the present? If a man dwells on the past, then he robs the present. But if a man ignores the past, he may rob the future. The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past."

Kung Fu (1972)

The Japanese never live their lives as individuals. We European missionaries were not aware of that fact. Suppose we have a single Japanese here. We try to convert him. But there was never a single individual we could call “him” in Japan. He has a village behind him. A family. And more. There are also his dead parents and ancestors. That village, that family, those parents and ancestors are bound to him tightly, as though they were living beings. That is why he is not an isolated human being. He is an aggregate who must shoulder the burden of village, family, parents, ancestors.… When the first missionary to Japan, Francisco Xavier, began his labours in the southern provinces, this was the most formidable obstacle he encountered. The Japanese said, “I believe the Christian teachings are good. But I would be betraying my ancestors if I went to a Paradise where they cannot dwell.

Shusaku Endo, The Samurai, trans. Van C. Gessel (New York: New Directions Books, 1982), pp. 164–165.

"The green shoot has grown up to the sky, and her ancestors celebrate her in the vault of the heavens."

Hua Zhou, Mulan, 2020

"We tell the stories of our elders in a never-ending chain."

"We Know the Way" from Moana, 2016

"What a miracle we all are, that these small and big decisions that people made before we got here, made us possible."

Leslie Odom, Jr. on Finding Your Roots

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