My interest in genealogy was initiated by assignments in grade school and primary. One assignment in grade school was to develop a map that demonstrated the emigrations of people from around the world.  We were asked to bring a list of countries of origin of our ancestors.  Well after the due date the teacher asked if any people came from countries other that Europe. When the teacher brought in the map and we were to put a pin in the country of origin and connect that with string to a pin in Utah on the map. Dick Spencer asked where Africa was on the map. The Spencers were from Dutch colonies in South Africa.  I am not sure how the teacher rectified the problem only that it was rectified. 

In primary we were required to have a book of remembrances (Moses 6:5, D&C 85:89). This assignment was basically a four generation tree.  Mom helped me with this assignment and we were able to identify all of the people in this tree. Since I was one of the few to finish my four generation chart, I memorized it and it served me well.  The story that stuck with me was that Great-Grandmother Wilson walked across the plaines when she was nine.  From this story I gleaned the idea that I had at least one pioneer relative and that she had walked a long way when she was my age.  

As a graduate student I began studying my ancestors. This was precipitated by my recognition that I would have to seek employment outside Utah.  The Genealogical Library was on Broadway (3rd South) near the Strike building where I had worked for Hercules. I may have started going to the library during my time working on Broadway.  Later on I would take time on Friday afternoons to find my ancestors. I found them 10 cents at a time. The cost of a Xerox copy  was a dime.  This new technology made it possible to collect valuable data with out having to write it in a note book or genealogy book.  This expenditure of time really got me interested in my ancestors.  I would find out things such as seven of my great grandparents were true pioneers.  Emily Ralphs Tanner, my great grandmother, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. All were really pioneers. I guess everyone had assumed that I knew this. All that I had been told was that my great grandmother Priscilla Loveless Wilson had walked across the Prairies at the age of nine,  which I verified during this period of study.

Did any of my ancestors know Joseph Smith? The John Tanner Family book had stories of John Tanner meeting Joseph.  In fact, John Tanner was prompted by the Holy Spirit to travel 500 miles in the dead of winter to meet Joseph in Kirtland, Ohio. Upon arrival he was able to lend Joseph enough money to save the land where the first temple of this dispensation would be built. The loan of $2500 was never collected, but a blessing was given to John Tanner that his family would never beg for bread.  I assumed that this would include my mother.  My analysis was that my mother would never beg, she would work things out.  As I became active this blessing seemed to include me and my family. After I finally started paying tithing, I seemed to be blessed financially. 

John Tanner gave much more, even all that he had.  He left Kirtland in a borrowed wagon, heading to Missouri and then to Nauvoo and on to Utah. He never wavered in his trust and aid to the prophet Joseph.  This was an important part of building my testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and therefore the Book of Mormon was true.  Later I did take the Moroni 10:4 challenge and prayed, allowing me to say that I know The Book of Mormon is true.  Joseph Smith is truly a prophet of God. My second stage of activity is now approaching 40 years.