I have one line of my family history all the way back to Adam. Now, obviously, I was a little suspect when I connected these ancestors, so I traced them all the way back to be certain they were indeed . . . my ancestors.
In doing so, I’ve run across some really interesting characters, one of which is the Patron Saint of Beer, St. Arnold. I kid you not! There really is a Patron Saint of Beer and I’m related to the guy.
This is one of the really fun aspects of doing your genealogy. On top of the eternal aspect, which is pretty huge, you get to learn a little more than a name, birth date and death about the people from whom you are descended.
First, let’s talk about Arnold and then I’ll explain the eternal benefits of doing your genealogy.
St. Arnold — According to Wikipedia,
Arnold of Soissons or Arnold of Oudenaarde (also Arnulf) is a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. He is often cited as the patron saint of hop-pickers and Belgian brewers.
Arnold lived from 1040 to 1087. Born in Oudenaarde, Flanders, he was first a career soldier (Arnulph the Strong of Oudenaarde), before settling at the Benedictine monastery of Soissons, France. He spent his first three years as a hermit, but later rose to be abbot of the monastery. His hagiography states that he tried to refuse this honor and flee—a standard trope (compare Jiménez de Cisneros)— but was forced by a wolf to return. He then became a priest and finally a bishop, another honor that he sought to avoid. When his see was occupied by another bishop, rather than fighting, he took the opportunity to retire from public life, founding the Abbey of St. Peter in Oudenburg.
At the abbey, he began to brew beer, as essential in medieval life as water. He encouraged local peasants to drink beer, instead of water, due to its “gift of health.” During the process of brewing, the water was boiled and thus, unknown to all, freed of pathogens. This same story is also told of Arnulf or Arnold of Metz, another patron of brewers. There are many depictions of St. Arnold with a mashing rake in his hand, to identify him. He is honored in July with a parade in Brussels on the “Day of Beer.”
St. Arnold’s feast day is on 8 July.
Is that just an interesting ancestor of note or what?
Now down to the reasons genealogy is so important. The Lord wants one solid line, from Adam down to you. Genealogical records are so important to the Lord that one of the twelve tribes of Israel was condemned because they didn’t keep those records.
When Lehi and his family were commanded to flee Jerusalem, the Lord sent his sons back to retrieve the plates which contained their genealogy all the way back to Adam.
“What is our obligation then? Each one of us—if we pretend to obey the gospel at all—must search out our dead and have these saving ordinances performed for them.
“Many suppose that they are discharging their responsibilities by simply ‘going to the temple.’ But that is not wholly true. We must go to the temple, of course, and often. If we do not as yet have the records of our own dead kindred, then while we search for them, by all means let us help others with theirs.
“But be it understood that if we go to the temple, and not for our own dead, relatives and bind the various generations together by the power of the holy priesthood.
“We must disabuse our minds of the idea that merely ‘going to the temple’ discharges our full responsibility, because it does not. That is not enough. …
“God holds each of us responsible for saving our own kindred — specifically our own.” (Ensign, May 1976, pp. 15–16.) George D. Durrant, “Genealogy and Temple Work: ‘You Can’t Have One without the Other’,” Ensign, Aug 1983, 18)
We literally participate in the redeeming of our ancestors when we find them and then take that ancestor’s name to the temple and complete all the saving ordinances awaiting them. The joy which bursts from the other side of veil is tangible. An ancestor, waiting, for hundreds of years, for someone here to remember them and to go to the temple and act as proxy for them will forever aid you in your mortal existence. We have become, in essence, saviors on Mount Zion. In completing an ancestor’s temple work, you have forged one more link in that eternal chain back to Adam.
If you don’t know where to start, drop by our Genealogy section and take the advice of our expert, Summer Owens. You’ll be forever glad you did.