Wednesday, August 8, 2007

LDS Church in New Zealand makes appeal on proposed legislation

According to an article on Scoop Independent News, "LDS Champion access to Ancestry," the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Zealand warns the proposed public records legislation, BDM amendment, could deliver unplanned negative consequences.

In a submission to the Select Committee, on the proposed Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Amendments Bill, Elder Spencer J Condie, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the New Zealand Area warned politicians that the amendment could place a barrier to efforts to strengthen family bonds.

According to Elder Condie tracing family ancestry is an important cultural and spiritual experience for many New Zealanders. “The concept of forming links between the generations – what the Maori call ‘whakapapa’ is fundamental in Christian theology (Hebrews 11.40),” he said. “That’s why we have invested to support genealogical research.”

The Church has established over 50 Family History Centres across New Zealand as well as joint operations with the Auckland Library, the National Library and the Panmure Genealogical Society. These centres are staffed by both LDS and non LDS volunteer consultants who assist patrons to access the millions of names available through microfilm, CD Roms and Internet sources. Access to these resources is provided free of charge.

In its submission to the select committee the Church, acknowledges the intentions of the sponsors of the bill, but warns that unintentional negative consequences could result from its passing. The submission argues that the bill could create a barrier to strengthening family bonds or even make bonafide genealogical organisations at risk of criminal prosecution.

The article continues with the complete text of Elder Condie's statement to the Select Committee.

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