In Brother C.K.’s country of origin, Zimbabwe, genealogical work is very difficult — in many cases impossible. It was this fact that made the experience that he shared in his testimony yesterday in Sacrament Meeting that much more miraculous.
Brother C.K. explained that as a result of the colonialization of Zimbabwe by the British Empire, tribes and families were arbitrarily scattered, thus disrupting centuries-long traditions of oral history/story-telling, particularly relating to family history. Where the only means of passing along family history was through oral stories, songs, and legends, the results were devastating to the people’s awareness of their genealogies. Thus it was that Brother C.K. only knew his genealogy on his father’s side back to his grandfather, as remarkable as that sounds. Despite this, Brother C.K. was eager to do temple work for his ancestors.
After emigrating to England and joining the Church in this country, Brother C.K. came into possession of a package of items that had previously been owned by his father in Zimbabwe before his divorce from his mother. Because of bad feelings for his father, his mother had not opened the box and did not know its contents. Brother C.K. opened the box and was astounded to find a book in it that contained a long list of names from his father’s ancestry and family to many degrees of consanguinity together with an explanation of why he had put the record to writing despite the culture of spreading family history through oral transmission. In short, his father had wanted to prevent anyone in his family from accidentally marrying cousins or distant cousins that were far flung because of the dispersion of the colonization.
Based on information in the book, Brother C.K. was able to initiate and perform temple work for some of his ancestors and family, including one uncle who had converted to be a Jehova’s Witness back in Zimbabwe. Because of his conversion to that faith, he refused a blood transfusion that was desperately needed and died as a result. This led the rest of his family to shun his memory as having been possessed by a demon and not to mention his name ever. Immediately after doing the temple work for this uncle, Brother C.K. had a dream in which this uncle appeared to him and expressed his gratitude to him for doing the temple work.
I believe him.