Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » The Records of Our Dead

The Records of Our Dead

By: Ardis E. Parshall - November 20, 2012

The Records of Our Dead

By Lula Greene Richards

They sleep! And peaceful is their rest,
And sacred every spot of ground
Upon our common mother’s breast
Wherein their thousand graves are found.
And sacred, too, the resting place
Of some beneath the ocean’s storms, –
For not alone in earth’s embrace
Are pillowed all their precious forms.

What treasured wealth their records show –
Important every name and date.
As thus their lives we learn to know,
What reverence these lives create!
As carefully the leaves we turn,
Search references with eager eyes,
Our sympathies awakened yearn
O’er far removed yet kindred ties.

As back we follow family names,
Still in our generation known,
For former heroes, fancy claims,
Traits which are present heroes own;
Thus all the way we seem to find,
As link by link the chain we trace,
Man’s noble bearing, generous mind,
Or woman’s purity and grace.

For here as at the funeral pall,
The failings mortal weakness brings,
We would not, where we might, recall,
But pass them by for better things.
How bright and clean, how free from sin,
Would we our chronicles have spread,
When other hands shall write them in
The sacred records of the dead.

All this – and this is but a part, –
As Malachi of old discerned,
Elijah came, and heart to heart
Fathers and children have been turned.
And now, in temples of the Lord
Vicarious work the Saints pursue,
And still in other books record
The saving covenant anew.




  1. For here as at the funeral pall,
    The failings mortal weakness brings,
    We would not, where we might, recall,
    But pass them by for better things.

    Good genealogy advice, but bad history! Nice sentiment, though, as my wife and I plan to go do sealings with our ward tonight.

    Comment by kevinf — November 20, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  2. Our being historians gets sticky in so many ways! Just at the funeral pall, though. After that we go home and write everything we can remember.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 20, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  3. We always got worried when we found my great-grandmother–in her 90s–going back and “revising” the personal history she had written decades earlier.

    Comment by Matt — November 20, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

  4. Yeah, that’s always frustrating. I wouldn’t mind – I would love it, in fact – if people wrote new histories or addenda or whatever, but leave the earlier versions intact!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 20, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  5. I had a YW leader who wrote a history of the last five years on every year ending with a 2 or 7. (I don’t remember which one her birth year ended with.) She wrote the review of the years based on her diaries. Then after she was done with that, she wrote what she called, “History Extra-The Things That Really Mattered” which covered things from the past that she didn’t write about at the time because they didn’t seem important, but as life went on she realized they were.

    She shared several years of “History Extra” at a YW slumber party. We YW didn’t know it at the time, but she had been diagnosed with cancer a few months before that slumber party. She didn’t live to the next 2 or 7 year, but I still take comfort in the fact that there were things she did as a Beehive that were suddenly important in her 50s.

    I am not nearly as good at journaling, partly because I spent most of my years growing up trying to pretend the past and present weren’t really happening. I find that many times when I am writing personal essays that I often use some of the same styles of storytelling that she did.

    Comment by Julia — November 21, 2012 @ 4:21 am

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