Genealogy Quote of the Week ~ John A. Widtsoe

Our genealogy quote today is by John A. Widtsoe, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1921 until his death in November 1952.

John A. Widtsoe

John A. WidtsoeJohn Andreas Widtsoe was a general authority in the LDS Church. He was also an educator who served as the director of the Department of Agriculture at Brigham Young University, president of the Utah Agricultural College (Utah State University), and became president of the University of Utah in 1916. He was also a noted author, scientist, and academician. His wife was Leah Dunford, a granddaughter of Brigham Young.

To quote from Wikipedia: “John A.Widtsoe was born on the island of Frøya in Sør-Trøndelag, Norway. At birth his hand was attached to the side of his head but he survived the operation to fix this problem. When Widtsoe was two his family moved to the Norwegian mainland city of Namsos. His father, also named John, died in February 1878. This left his mother Anna as a widow with two young sons to take care of: Widtsoe, who was then five, and his little brother Osborne Widtsoe. After this, the family moved to Trondheim. Here his mother was introduced to the LDS Church by a shoemaker.  In 1883, Widtsoe immigrated to the United States with his mother and brother. They made it to Utah Territory in mid-November.”

After graduating from Brigham Young College in Logan, Utah, John A. Widtsoe later also graduated from Harvard University with honors in 1894. He then became head of the Agricultural Experiment Station at Utah State Agricultural College where he taught farmers better farming skills. In 1898, Widtsoe was ordained to the office of a Seventy and set apart to do missionary work in connection with his studies in Europe. He attended the University of Göttingen, Germany, where he graduated with A. M. Ph.D. degrees in 1899. For two years in the 1920s John A. Widtsoe lived in Washington, D. C. where he supervised the reorganization of the Federal Bureau of Reclamation.

Genealogy quote from John A. Widtsoe

These are trying days, in which Satan rages, at home and abroad, hard days, evil and ugly days. We stand helpless as it seems before them. We need help. We need strength. We need guidance. Perhaps if we would do our work in behalf of those of the unseen world who hunger and pray for the work we can do for them, the unseen world would in return give us help in this day of our urgent need. There are more in the other world than there are here. There is more power and strength there than we have here upon this earth. We have but a trifle, and that trifle is taken from the immeasurable power of God. We shall make no mistake in becoming collaborators in the Lord’s mighty work for human redemption. (From Conference Report, Apr. 1943, 39).

3 comments on “Genealogy Quote of the Week ~ John A. Widtsoe

  1. Denise Damm on said:

    This is great background on Elder Widtsoe and I love this quote. I hadn’t thought about our families doing so much for us from the other side. Thank you.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Denise. He certainly had a great insight into the importance of genealogy.

  3. Thank you for sharing this quote. I’ve heard that the LDS church is very encouraging about people doing genealogy. As I have been doing some internet genealogy recently, I understand why. Thanks again!

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