Thursday, October 13, 2016

Casting my genealogical pearls before swine


I don't have any problems sharing genealogical information about my family with others. I love that familysearch family tree is collaborative. It is "our tree" and not "my tree."

However, I've been really struggling recently with the idea of sharing.

I have been spending almost all of my free time working on one project: transcribing Czech land records. My knowledge and capacity has grown incredibly, though I groan (and often shed real tears) thinking about how little I know, and how much there is left to know.

The fact is, I am still in the infancy of my genealogical education. I know so little. I long for more collaborators to walk with me in my "secret, hidden world" of challenging intellectual genealogical puzzles.

As an extrovert, I definitely work better with real people than by myself. I am so incredibly fortunate and grateful to have one kind mentor to help me. I worry that I am a pain, draining, awkward, or clingy; I long to find others.

I continue to do everything in my power to find another collaborator, including blogging more, contacting more people, engaging in the niche Czech genealogy community more, reading more, and especially fervently praying to find more like-minded souls with whom I can share my very niche genealogical education journey/world.

So why then, if my soul earnestly craves collaboration, have I not posted our transcriptions on my blog? Why do I hesitate to share my priceless genealogical treasures with the great dark void of the internet?

I wonder if it is a form of "my-tree-itis" or if it is something else?

If I truly cared about other people interested in Czech genealogy, of course I would share the truth and knowledge that I have gained! What I would give for my grandparents to have taught my father Czech, so that I would be able to speak Czech fluently! What I would give for somebody else to have shared this with me sooner.

In Matthew 7:6, the Savior says:
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
The fact is, I cannot bear the thought of casting my genealogical pearls before swine. What if what I consider great masterpieces, things of inestimable value, are mocked, criticized, derided, or rejected? What is even worse: what if nobody even cares? What if they are just completely ignored? I can hardly bear the thought of asking one more person to collaborate with me, because I know the inevitable response will either be, "no," or just silence, which is more painful.

As I was thinking about this, I wondered, "Isn't this the same exact issue as sharing your testimony of Jesus Christ with others?"

I do not want to pressure people. I do not want to judge people. But isn't it actually more judgmental for me to think, "I cannot share my [transcriptions/testimony] with that person, he would NEVER listen"? Do I sometimes avoid talking about my beliefs with my friends out of fear of rejection?

Honestly, the only way I can actually understand what that verse means is through the Joseph Smith Translation, which is:
 Go ye into the world, saying unto all, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come nigh unto you. 
And the mysteries of the kingdom ye shall keep within yourselves; for it is not meet to give that which is holy unto the dogs; neither cast ye your pearls unto swine, lest they trample them under their feet.
For the world cannot receive that which ye, yourselves, are not able to bear; wherefore ye shall not give your pearls unto them, lest they turn again and rend you.
I think this version of the scriptures differentiates between basic knowledge and mysteries.

Our land record transcriptions would certainly qualify as basic knowledge and not some kind of deep, shrouded mystery.

I am, frankly, sick of people singing my praises when I am fully aware of how little I know; don't try to convince me that having transcribed about a dozen land records makes me an expert. Saying that just betrays ignorance and deepens my loneliness.

If I am willing to share these priceless gems with the genealogical world, then why would I not also share the priceless gem of my testimony with the world - and especially with the people I admire and care about? Why would I hesitate? What is the source of my pride? What do I need to do next?

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