I discovered that his story was not just history.
I thought family history was ancient history that was completely irrelevant to me until I had an experience that helped me gain a new appreciation for it.
During a family home evening lesson on the life of one of my ancestors, I discovered that even though he lived more than 150 years ago, he learned lessons in his lifetime that can help me in my life today.
Even though he lived more than 150 years ago, he learned lessons in his lifetime that can help me in my life today.
My great-grandfather Christian Frederick Nelson Twede was converted to the gospel and was baptized around 1850 by Elder Erastus Snow (1818–88), one of the Twelve Apostles who was serving a mission in Copenhagen, Denmark. Christian had some amazing spiritual experiences that confirmed the truth of the gospel to him. His decision to be baptized came at a high personal cost. His family disowned him, and his fiancée broke off their engagement. Despite these setbacks, he continued to believe in the gospel and emigrated to the United States to join the pioneers on their trek to Utah.
He kept a detailed journal, which included “11 Rules for Living.” In our family home evening lesson we discussed his rules and looked up scriptures that supported them. They are:
- Say secret prayers (Matthew 6:6).
- Keep your tongue in check (Proverbs 21:23).
- Suppress anger (Proverbs 16:32).
- Consider the effect of every action before doing it (Luke 14:28–29).
- Cultivate humility and charity (1 Corinthians 16:14).
- Let love be the mainstream of all your actions (John 3:16).
- Think of Christ upon the cross (1 Corinthians 15:22).
- Stop work when tired (Mosiah 4:27).
- Do not eat, sleep, or drink more than needed (D&C 88:124).
- Consider that others do not look on things as you do, and sometimes they are right (D&C 88:122).
- Remember that you are never alone. Therefore, do nothing you wouldn’t do in the presence of angels (D&C 121:9).
My aunt embroidered these rules on a wall-hanging that we keep near our door to remind us to try to live by them. My Great-Grandfather Twede also taught me the importance of keeping a journal. I love writing in my journal and then reading back through what I’ve written. It’s interesting to see how I’ve changed and how much I’ve learned.
I have also learned that the rules my Great-Grandfather Twede lived by in the 1800s still work today. My favorite rule to live by is “Remember you are never alone. Therefore, do nothing you wouldn’t do in the presence of angels.” This has helped me realize that I should always strive to choose the right and live up to my standards. Studying Great-Grandfather Twede’s 11 rules for living has helped me appreciate his example and understand that family history is important to my life today.
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This article originally appeared in the December 2014 New Era.